People Make the Difference

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It was my first full day here Nerd Camp and it was pretty fantastic! The analogy we use here is that one day is the equivalent of a week of normal school, so as you can imagine, it was a pretty packed day.

We talked about the meaning of cryptography, set theory, modular arithmetic (including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even division which is a lot harder because fractions don’t exist and not every equation is possible in division), and also some basic Euclidean algorithm stuff. Now even if you have no idea what most of that means, you can probably tell it was some intense math we were learning and this was just the beginning.

I absolutely love modular arithmetic and it is actually one of the main reasons why I took this course, so I’m trilled to start right off the back with working with in mods!

I also just love being around TIPsters in and out of the classroom. The joke is that we are always looking for loopholes, it’s just what we do. Smart kids generally like trying to figure out why stuff works and if it could work differently. In the classroom this means asking those questions that make the teacher think hard and try to figure out how to best explain. Today we had a whole conversation on what we now call box math because we were talking about the set of nothing and how that can be a set, so it’s like taking a box and putting another box inside of it with nothing in it.

Out of the class this means always asking for clarity on rules especially during games. Today I was playing ultimate frisbee for 2 hours during evening activities and we had to keep mixing up teams because one team would always manage to be stacked with really good players. Even during our meeting on night one with only 4th year students, there was a ton of questions being asked and there were multiple occasions were RCs or other staff members would say “That’s why I was never a TIPster” typically due to word choice mess ups with the occasional counting error. (After a while the questions got a little annoying, but it was still pretty amusing how people could come up with so many loop hole questions.)

When you’re in an environment with people that really want to learn and are willing to ask those deep and semi-“odd” questions, plus staff that are willing to foster those tangent discussions, then learning really is so much more enjoyable. It makes learning feel natural and like we really get more of a say as students as to what we learn about. The environment here is just fantastic and I can’t wait to keep up the learning tomorrow!

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