Students have the chance to visualize math concepts in unique ways, as the See Math camp shows kids the design of numbers and mathematical concepts this summer.
While placing her drawing of a green and blue object with four multicolored legs on top of three mirrors, Claire McAdams was deep in thought.
She was trying to show how her drawing could reflect differently, depending on where it was placed.
“If you put it at the centerpoint and you turn it, it makes cool pictures,” she said while she demonstrated how her drawing created different reflections. “Mine’s very simple, because I like it that way. You have to do four corners and they can’t be symmetrical.”
Claire and 36 other students from schools in her area have been learing about kaleidoscopes, designing computer animations, and learning to write and decipher code at a two week camp at Texas A&M University. The camp is called the See Math Camp, and it is organized and taught by Texas A&M associate professor Philip Yasskin and instructional assistant professor David Manuel.
The students spend four hours a day learning cryptology and playing with shapes, working with mirrors and studying extended problem solving. The camp is a summer educational enrichment program geared for students who are gifted in mathematics and science, and it allows them to build upon activities that they may have learned in school. Between 75 and 200 applicants usually apply each year, but only 45 to 60 are selected.
The children moved between three classrooms in the Blocker building on the Texas A&M campus on Friday afternoon, playing with mirrors, working on their animations in the computer lab and listening to Manuel teach abstract algebra that will give them the tools to solve Rubik’s Cubes.
“I tell the kids they’re not necessarily going to become 35-second expert solvers, but they’ll have the mathematical tools to be able to come up with solutions themselves,” Manuel said.