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Weekend 2 at Bard: Debates, Relays, and Field Day

Instructor Tanya gathers the attention of members of the Orange Team as everybody prepares for Field Day activities.

Instructor Tanya gathers the attention of members of the Orange Team as everybody prepares for Field Day activities.

It has been a jam-packed weekend at Bard BEAM 7, with Saturday marking the end of week 2 courses, an impromptu student-vs.-staff debate, round 2 of relays, and an all-day Field Day concluding with a student-vs.-staff game of capture the flag.


Saturday Highlights:

Saturday was marked by a sudden decision which will likely leave a lasting legacy at BEAM 7: a program wide debate. After some quick logistical considerations, the plan became to have four rounds of student vs. staff debates, with the groups of student and staff debaters changing with each round. The groups of students who debated against staff were determined earlier in the day by having various groups of students practice debating against each other, with the staff choosing the groups which they believed would pose the biggest challenge.

So about what exactly did we debate? After careful consideration, the debate moderators--consisting of counselor Dave as well as students Jade, Camila, and Anthony--decided on four pressing, relevant, and emotional topics. At the beginning of each round, each side was randomly assigned to either argue FOR the issue at hand, or AGAINST it. The topics were as follows:

  1. Should high school students be guaranteed a daily recess?
  2. Should BEAM allow cell phones at all meals with out any rules?
  3. Should Modules be abolished from the BEAM program?
  4. Does pineapple belong on pizza?

After each round, all individuals who did not participate in that round got to vote on which side they thought argued their stance better. Staff won rounds 1 and 4 arguing for required recess and pineapple on pizza. Students won rounds 2 and 3 arguing against allowing cell phones but arguing to keep Modules in BEAM.

Immediately following these intense debates were another round of relays. Relays are a team-style competition where students complete problems in order to gain points. The teams with the most points get to choose from a selection of neat prizes! Check out some pictures of the event below.


Sunday: FIELD DAY!

First of all, what constitutes a "Field Day"? Field Days can take many forms, and the exact schedule of one can vary across different summer programs. The general idea, however, is a day full of fun activities in which teams compete against each other to earn points--the team with the most points at the end of the day wins! For BEAM's field day, the winning team was rewarded with an extra helping of dessert at dinner.

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Field Day!

After starting the morning with a late breakfast, students and staff divided up into the four field day teams: Red, Green, Purple, and Orange. With two staff members leading each team of 10, Field Day began with a 30 minute team meeting where strategy for the first event was discussed and face paint was distributed to get into the spirit of each team's color. Once everybody was decorated and ready, field day began! Here was the schedule of events:

  1. 11-12 Photo Scavenger Hunt
  2. 12-1 Break for Lunch and Opening Ceremonies
  3. 1-1:30 Team Relay - Ping Pong Ball Balancing, Hula Hooping, and Jump Roping
  4. 1:30-2 Human Knots
  5. 2-2:45 Dance Off Competition
  6. 2:45-3:15 Frisbee Throwing for Accuracy and Sponge Relay
  7. 3:15-4:15 Tug of War and Break
  8. 4:15-5 Water Balloon Fight and Water Balloon Cleanup Competition

After all the activities were finished, students got some down time before heading to dinner, with a game of Capture the Flag--again, students vs. staff--following dinner. Check out field day photos below!

I really enjoyed field day because I got to do things that I’ve never been able to do in the city before. Playing tug-of-war, having a dance off, and participating in a water balloon fight were all incredible.
— Sebastian

What's happened in the first week at Bard?

First things first. Where exactly is Bard? Located about about a 2 hour drive north of New York City, our site for BEAM 7 rests right along the Hudson River nestled among the trees. While at Bard, BEAM7 operates most heavily in three buildings: Keene, our home base and dormitory for students and staff; Kline, the cafeteria where we eat all three meals each day; and Hegeman, where most activities and classes take place!

 

Activities!

Pictured above: Counselor Kaylynn (middle) and instructor Javier (left of Kaylynn) play Set, a matching game which requires players to recognize patterns in a set of cards, with students Jack, Storm, and Seb. 

Pictured above: Counselor Kaylynn (middle) and instructor Javier (left of Kaylynn) play Set, a matching game which requires players to recognize patterns in a set of cards, with students Jack, Storm, and Seb. 

At BEAM, students get to choose between a variety of activities offered by counselors and faculty, ranging from high-energy sports and games to more relaxing crafts. So far this week, counselors have run:

  • Soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, Capture the Flag, Basketball
  • Mandala Coloring, Hexaflexagon Making, Paper Airplanes
  • THE Egg Drop Contest
  • Cloud Watching, Exploring Bard's Campus, Settles of Catan

And this is just throughout the first week! Over the next two weeks, the counselors and staff will have many more activities to come...


But what about the math?

A number of students work diligently on problem sets in their Math Team Strategies class, which reviews techniques for quick in easy problem solving in the face of seemingly difficult questions. Mathematicians can be a lazy bunch, so learning the techniques to making challenging problems easier is an important skill set!

A number of students work diligently on problem sets in their Math Team Strategies class, which reviews techniques for quick in easy problem solving in the face of seemingly difficult questions. Mathematicians can be a lazy bunch, so learning the techniques to making challenging problems easier is an important skill set!

So what math are the kids actually doing? This week, we have the following options:

  • Number Theory
  • Combinatorics
  • Turing Machines
  • Graph Theory
  • Math Team Strategies
  • Solving Big Problems

The best thing about our courses--besides the amazing instructors who design and teach them--students choose what interests them! Each student is in one of the first four options (called the core topics courses) and one of the last two options (called the problem solving courses). Stay tuned for more updates on what's happening at Bard for BEAM 7 2017!

BEAM Goes to the Opera- Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A concoction of perfumes filled the halls of the dorm, lip gloss was generously applied, shirts were tucked in, and hair was transformed into artful masterpieces as the students primped up for their night out. Everyone was finally ready, and the group walked towards the architecturally sublime Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. The BEAMers, gawking at the sight of the place, entered the building. The dress rehearsal for the opera Iris was spectacular. The students were amazed with the wonderful scenery, impressive special effects, and beautiful music. What a night. 

Beginning of Week 2!- Tuesday, July 19, 2016

After two days of amazing field trips, the second academic week began. The courses being offered this week are: Solving Big Problems; Math Team Strategies; Voting Theory; Number Theory; Symmetries, Mosaics, and ¿Dancing?; and Programming.

Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College, gave the students a beginning-of-the-week commencement speech, during which he talked about the importance of academics and of programs like BEAM. Additionally, he invited the BEAMers to attend the dress rehearsal for the opera "Iris", which he will be conducting, on Wednesday evening. 

The good news just keeps rolling in: the fourth challenge problem has been solved by one of our BEAMers: Kenneth. The prize is yet to be announced. 

What a BEAMing start to the second week!