I love math nerd kids
So I’m almost at the end of my second week here at HCSSiM, and the pathetic truth is I already miss these kids. They are so freaking adorable, and of course I miss my own kids so much, that the emotional turmoil of the situation combines to create the reality that I am actually nostalgic for each moment with them before that moment happens. Pathetic!! It’s something about identifying with their nerdy selves finding each other and figuring out that they have a community of nerds that accepts them… whatever, now I’m tearing up. Pitiful.
As for what I’m teaching them, the first week it was number theory, number theory, and more number theory. Can you tell I like number theory? At the end of the first week I looked around and I saw a bunch of earnest faces wondering if I was going to prove yet another thing about relatively prime numbers and solving polynomials modulo n and I thought to myself, these kids are going to think there’s no other examples of proof by induction! How shameless! So this week I talked about graph theory. Next week: I’m going back to number theory. Yes I know, but it’s AWESOME. I’m going to talk about Farey numbers and continued fractions and maybe the Pell equation. They will know all about the golden ratio and maybe we’ll even measure each other’s faces. I can’t wait.
Last night we went to the director’s house and ate corn on the cob (we made the kids husk the corn- did you know teenagers today have mostly never husked corn before in their lives?) and pizza and we played “Mafia,” which was hilarious and sweetly innocent.
This weekend is “Yellow Pig day” at the
camp program, which is a day where we celebrate yellow pigs and the number 17. We take this incredibly seriously, including making t-shirts with yellow pigs, having a 4-hour (feels like 17) talk about interesting properties of the number 17, and finally, singing yellow pig carols and eating a yellow pig cake at the end. It’s a wild time for math nerd kids. They will remember this and each other for the rest of their lives. Woohoo!!
Did I mention that I was a minor celebrity last night because I solved a 7x7x7 Rubik’s cube in front of them? This is status at its best. I even showed them my trick, and one of the kids came back to me at breakfast this morning proudly displaying his cube with a 3-cycle. Update: he has solved his entire cube using 3-cycles. Now he’s moving on to a dodecahedron puzzle.
LOVE these kids.