Math class learns of Knot Theory from WKU’s Dr. Ernst

Miky Wright
Miky Wright

Since Dr. Bruce Kessler wrote this schedule for Calculus and Algebra campers in our section on the first day, it’s only been a week and two days, and this group of math learners has taken up to the chapter 8 exam. They have been studying not only diligently but also efficiently. An exam is taken to assess the camper’s self-monitored learning after each chapter they have studied, and we expect them to earn eighty percent or above, otherwise they have to study some more until the expectation is met.

This year there are twenty-four math campers that are separated into three sections. One instructor and one TA were assigned to work with around eight of them in one section. I am amazed to watch these teenagers learn math by reading the materials on their own and asking questions occasionally. Wouldn’t it be ideal for a math teacher if every student learned actively like these students?

TA Joshua Keeling coached the campers to play a fun Karate game that everybody can join in during the fifteen-minute break. After an hour and a half sitting and studying, this activity has been an efficient way to refresh the brain and the body.

Monday afternoon after the break, the math group got a chance to listen to the presentation given by Dr. Claus Ernst, the WKU University Distinguished Professor, together with his two student assistants, D.J. Price and Hayden Brooks, on their research topic Knot Theory. After obtaining some basic knowledge from the talk, the students were asked to interpret the PD code of a knot that was given to them. They worked hard in groups on the board.

Some demonstrated successfully, some couldn’t finish, some made it more complicated than it is, but they were all into this project and asked interesting questions. “It takes time to do something meaningful,” advised by Dr. Ernst. “If you have patience, persistence, and creativity, then you might consider doing research on something applicable or simply interesting.”