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Summer Math Camp at PCMI Reflections

PCMI is an outreach program of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey

At the end of the 2014 Math Camp, the students and their parents were asked to respond to these topics:

Morning problem sets: view responses
Opportunity to interact with mathematicians/professors/students at PCMI: view responses
Lunch in the tent: view responses
Speakers: view responses
Overall experience: view responses
Math Camp exit survey comment: view responses
Math camp was one of the best experiences I have ever had. It was so much fun for me to spend time with people my own age who love math. The whole week I was there we were given a set of math problems every day, and then went to lectures by various people who taught math or developed new or creative ideas to do things with it. Math camp gave me such an appreciation for a subject that was not always my favorite. I loved seeing all of the creative ways that math could be used, not only for problem solving, but to have fun and make art too.
From July 7th to July 11th, Troy brought up 16 high school students to participate in a math summer camp. It taught us that not only could we learn math, but we could teach it to ourselves and others. We worked on problem sets and found patterns and insights to other topics. We developed not only the ability, but even more essential, the confidence to challenge the extent of our knowledge and ask questions--then answer them. We were given the opportunity not only to learn by doing, but also to learn from lectures on mathematical concepts and applications in the artistic, creative, and graphical scope. The week culminated with a mathematical performance by Arthur Benjamin. This performance encouraged me to teach myself to find the square root of the sum of squares in real time.
At math camp I was also able to meet math enthusiasts from across the States and world. One person I talked to came all the way from Israel! On the last day, we joined some of the math teachers to work on our problem-solving packet. This camp left many great impressions on me and I’m incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to attend.
Parent of Cora
As a parent, I observed that my daughter enjoyed the math camp assembled in 2014 immensely. Not only was she exposed to math outside of the normal school curriculum, but she met peers and other college students and professionals who were interested in math. This exposure to people who enjoy math helped excite her more about math than a regular high school class. I would send her again if given another chance.
Parent of Amelia
My daughter attended the summer math camp last year. Mr. Jones facilitated a stimulating and inspiring curriculum for the camp. I believe those fun activities and positive experiences played a part in Amelia's decision to choose a math major for college. After that camp, she completed her senior year in high school and excelled on AP exams. Amelia graduated 2nd in her class of over 600 students and earned a full-tuition scholarship to Brigham Young University. I believe Amelia's confidence in pursuing a math major was greatly enhanced by this math camp. This type of extra-curricular activity, focusing on math, seemed to be exactly what Amelia needed to support her positive attitude towards math. However, not only did Amelia gain confidence in math as a viable career, but her self-confidence improved overall in regards to her ability to learn and accomplish difficult tasks.
Parent of Madison
Last summer, my daughter attended the math camp and had a wonderful time. The high school students solved math problems together, but the thing that made the camp truly exceptional was that the high school students were able to interact with mathematics scholars from all over the world. Madison was excited to hear about and see the different ways people use mathematics in "real life." She caught a vision of how the application and study of mathematics unifies people from many disciplines.

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IAS/Park City Mathematics Institute is an outreach program of the Institute for Advanced Study, 1 Einstein Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.
Send questions or comments to: Suzanne Alejandre

With major funding from Math for America

With generous support from Robert and Lynn Johnston