PacificQuest 2008

Skills for the 21st Century



Mathematics: Intriguing and Useful (All students)


Would you like to learn about secret codes using modulo arithmetic? How about solving crimes using symbolic logic? What about learning to take advantage of patterns, or learning how to count large groups of things using shortcuts? Are you tired of long arithmetic drills, and are you ready to do some really interesting mathematics?

In Mathematics: Intriguing and Useful, your mind will expand as you learn about areas of mathematics not typically found in your school courses. The topics have been chosen for their interest and for their practicality. We will sometimes use computers for computation and insight.


Areas of Emphasis (Students choose one or the other)



Have you ever thought about what makes a hamster giggle? What dogs say to each other? Or whether or not your family cars have distinct personalities? Have you wondered what “happiness” would feel like if you could hold it in your hand? Would it feel glossy smooth, frog-leg squishy, or lacy, like a spider web? Where could your imagination take you if you set it free beyond the confines of your brain, beyond the margins of a page, beyond the walls of the room? Would you create a world in which colors smell funky and taste crunchy? If you had one week, what enchantment could you create with words on a page?

This class will focus on releasing your creativity to express yourself through poetry and short story. You and your classmates will work together by thinking and writing imaginatively. You will also share and publish your work to entertain and motivate others to do the same.



Would you like to create your own interactive computer-based simulations? Do you think you have what it takes to imagine a simple but absorbing game like Tetris or Bejeweled, or to come up with the next innovation like The Sims or Civilizations, and then turn that idea into reality? You will learn the fundamental computer programming skills needed in order to do just that. Working in small groups, by the end of the week you should have an original, simple, playable game or simulation. You will also walk away with the ability to take it much further than that!

No prior programming or graphic design experience is required. Basic arithmetic and graphing skills are all the math you'll need (although algebra will help). You don't have to be a hard-core gamer to enjoy this class. Good problem-solving skills are far more important than a knowledge of games, or even of computers.