The Joy of Thinking Foundation

Mini-camps

In the autumn of 2016 we launched an experimental program. These were mini-camps organized on weekdays for talented 6th graders.

During the course of the year, we met the children once a month.

Motivation

One of the most basic tasks of school is to develop the students’ creativity and problem-solving skills. There is little room for this during the tightly bound framework of a conventional lesson.

We organize our traditional weekend camps for students from 7th to 11th grade. The talented participants have the opportunity to adequately develop during the course of the years. These events however, are not very frequent, which makes regularly preparing and working a difficult task. There is an additional, organizational barrier regarding the launching of another weekend program, since the Foundation’s activities are concentrated on the weekend, there is a lack of resources for anything more.

We decided try out a new construct. We tried to find an opportunity which is compatible with school life. The program we announced takes place twice a month on a weekday. Although the charm of spending time together in shared accomodation at a camp is not present, the more frequent meetings allow for a more regular workload. This is supported by the parental feedback we received.

What happens at a minicamp?

The maths program has a defining role at our events as we dedicate a schoolday’s worth of time to mathematics. There is also time for rest, relaxation and playing games together.

During the day the math program runs with one longer and several shorter breaks. Some of the work is individual, while there is also the possibility of grouping into twos and threes during some activities. From camp to camp we see a significant improvement in participants’ collaboration alongside with their increasingly conscious consideration of each other’s ideas, which is a major aspect of these mini-camps.

During the long breaks, the students have time to have their lunch brought from home, as well as to play games with others.

We found out based on the many letters from the children, that they participate in the events of the minicamps with great joy and like to spend time on the interesting problems there. They appreciate the fact that there is time to really immerse oneself in a problem. The possibility of meeting and sharing thoughts with similarly enthusiastic children who like valuable ideas is also to their liking.

Our current mini-camp

2018-2019 Emerald and Saphire groups

Our camps from recent years

2017-2018 Diamonds and Hearts groups

  • Course leader: Judit Szenyovszky
  • Location: MTA Rényi Alfréd Institute of Mathematical Research
  • Pictures: diamonds, hearts

2016-2017 Clubs and Spades groups

  • Course leader: Gábor Szűcs
  • Location: center of the Hungarian Bridge Society