Sunday, April 20, 2008

Calculus Camp

Apologies for such a long delay. But I had a bunch of stuff.... and....... things..... happened....... so.... anyways!

[Note, I wrote this about a week ago... and didn't get to finish it.... until now. I probably don't remember the exact times we did sections, so too bad. I've been busy this week too]

The last four days of the long delay were due to the fact that I was at Calculus Camp. Calculus Camp is an annual four-day event my school does to help students review for the AP Calculus test. And I have to say, it was fun (or as fun as doing 24-26 hours of Calculus over the span of a weekend could be).

On Thursday, we left at noon from school in charter buses (the fancy-schmancy ones!) to the campground where we'd be stuck for four days until Sunday. It actually didn't take as long as I thought it would, I was told it would take three hours, but instead it took only two. We went up, high in the mountains where there was snow laying about (but none near our campsite). There, the air was clear and thin...ner. That was demonstrated when I decided to take a drink of water. Once I opened my water bottle when we were up in the mountains, the cap exploded off and woke up everyone near me on the bus. It was actually really funny. Anyway, once we got there, we picked our cabins, were treated to lunch, and then forced off to our first Calculus session. There, we went over the basics: Functions. Once we did that, it was dinner and then the SECOND session: Limits and Differentiation! Limits were okay, but differentiation had 100 or so problems! Somehow, I still finished it, but the later sections would only become MUCH more complex. But, this was enough Calculus for one day, so we ended it. After that came some free time and a bonfire (though a campfire would be a more appropriate description). And of course, I made an endless amount of quips of burning wood for no reason and contributing to global warming. So, I did my part. After that, it was off to bed.

The next day came breakfast in the morning, and immediately after another Calculus session. This time, it was applications of derivatives. This was another ninety or so questions and I'm still amazed how I was able to solve all of them! It was during this time when Mr. Laderman showed up (which made camp a bajillion times more fun). As you can probably guess, we had lunch, and did more Calculus; integration this time. It was REALLY annoying this time because these antiderivatives got annoying. The thing about antiderivatives is that you can't really work through them, you have to.... derive them through odd means. Usually, U substitution works. But there were examples where you had to REALLY think outside of the box, and a lot of the teachers (and other experts in mathematics) who were there were unable to solve them (I would probably exempt Mr. Miller from this because.... he's a freaking math genius from Caltech, and no problem stumped him). Anyways, I didn't finish this section, and probably WON'T! Once more, we had some free time then went in for ANOTHER session of Calculus, where we went over Definite Integrals. This I managed to finish because there were only about 50 problems. After this came dinner, then more free time and an optional session (which wasn't optional to BC students). We decided to do physics during this optional session. After that, we followed with another bonfire and bed.

The third day was more fun. Wake up! Smell the fresh smell of Calculus. You know the drill already, breakfast is eaten and how we're going on to various Applications of Integrals. This was fairly exhausting but the good part was that the book finally trusted us to use calculators because it assumes that we know how to Integrate by now. So that made the sections a LOT more bearable. However, I was glad once we got to lunch! After lunch, we had a lot of free time and a few of my friends and I decided to go hiking with one condition. Mr. Laderman had to join us! He actually did, and we hiked for about one and a half hours and we still weren't tired. Mr. Laderman knows so much about ... everything, and he's just a VERY fascinating character. You could just ask him about nearly ANY topic, from time travel, to geology, to aliens and he'll be GLAD to discuss it. He's really a great guy, and we're glad we hiked with him. Also along the way, I found a VERY good hiking stick, light but sturdy. I kinda..... snuck it back to L.A. But don't let Mr. Vriesman know, he told me to leave it. Anyways, after the amazing hike, we got back and (sorta) finished up the book with differential equations. A couple of these were just way over my head and I'm positive that they wouldn't be on the AP test. If they were, the College Board would be crazy! However, we left this session early because I signed up for a seder (it was passover) to expand my cultural horizons. Of course, this wasn't a real seder; that would take HOURS! Instead, it was a highly condensed seder where we were all taught about what the symbols were (kinda) and we ate during dinner. Plus, I got to wear a yamika! Plus, there was more matzah than we knew what to do with. In fact, we had matzah pizza the next morning, it was pretty good. Immediately after was the optional session, which all of the BC kids had to go to. Instead of going up and socializing, Eliana (a girl in my AP Physics class) and I decided to draw a HUGE circuit in the sand of the volleyball court. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of our masterpiece on the internet... yet! But that took us about an hour and a half, and everyone who was capable of appreciating a circuit in the sand did so, we made sure of it! After showing everyone in AP Physics the sand circuit, we had the Calculus Camp talent show. It started out with the AP Stat teacher telling a series of stand-up jokes about math in general (which of course, I laughed at). Then, in addition to people showing off how the can (and can't) dance, Mr. Lieberman pulled up all of the students in his AP Physics AB class and had us do the separate and integrate dance for solving differential equations (I can't really show how it goes in text, but it's not that great; not like Funktion, so don't worry). In addition, we had Franklin (resident failure, as I call him. We have a thing where I say he fails at everything, but he really doesn't. It's not bullying.... seriously) solve Rubix cubes. Now, I KNOW Franklin is fast, and he performed a lot slower on stage than I know he could. But, he was a pioneer, I never heard of someone SHOWING OFF the talent to do a Rubix cube. Of course, some other guy thought he could do it faster, and did. But he came off looking like a complete jerk, so Franklin still wins all of our admiration. After various other acts... we go to bed.

Last day! Awwww... and wooo!!!! We've gone though the entire Barron's review book, and it's time for a practice AP test. To risk drawing out this post longer than it should be, I'll just say I PASSED with a VERY HIGH 5! According to my count-up sheet I got 106.5 out of 108, which I think is wayy too high and I probably made a mistake in addition, but that's still pretty darn high! I learned that I don't really have to worry about the Calculus test. After that, camp is pretty much done! We took our luggage, and went on the bus to go home. This time, I made sure to seal my water bottle and see it compressed when we got down (it happened! Guess what? Air has pressure!) Once we got home, it was back to reality and school. However, there WILL be next year!


Anonymous said...

that sounds fun!

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