Numbers game at Niskayuna math camp

Instead of working jobs for minimum wage or lazing by the pool, David Bieber, an incoming senior at Niskayuna High School, and Markus Salasoo, of the Class of 2009, will spend one week in July teaching 12 middle schoolers how it all adds up at math camp, now in its second year.

Campers will learn mostly about contest math, the skills needed to participate successfully in a math competition. Topics include algebra, probability and geometry. Students will review the topics through a variety of interactive games and math competitions.

Bieber said that he was involved in a number of math programs and competitions when he was in middle school.

"I always enjoyed it when I was taught this sort of thing, so I figured I would pass it on," said Bieber.

He said campers will be working on some Mathcounts problems, and others that he and Salasoo created themselves.

"There are no pre-requisites to the class. As long as they're interested in math they'll fit in," said Bieber.

This is the second year Bieber and Salasoo have held the camp.

"It's a math camp for kids who love math," said David Bieber's mother, Susan Bieber.

She said that last year, when they ran the camp, the response was very positive from campers.

"My son has a lot of experience. He's been into math for as long as I can remember," said Susan Bieber.

Her son and Salasoo are both experienced math competitors. They have participated in the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament, the NYS Math League, Mathcounts Competitions, and both are longtime member of the Albany Area Math Circle.

Bieber will be a senior at Niskayuna High School this fall. Salasoo will be entering the engineering program as a freshman at Cornell University.

Bieber and Salasoo became friends through a number of similar interests including math, but perhaps their biggest influence in starting the math camp was Mary O'Keeffe, one of their advisors with the Albany Area Math Circle.

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