AGazine, December 2015

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

News & Notes Coaching Tips Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


News and Notes

Upcoming Academic Games Events


15 Riverview (PA) Intermediate Unit #6 LinguiSHTIK Tournament
16 RESA II (WV) Tournament – all games
17 Western Pennsylvania Academic Games League (WPAGL) On-Sets Tournament


5 Palm Beach Academic Games League (PBAGL) Social Studies Training (Teachers only)
12 PBAGL Social Studies Tournament Round 1 (Current Events, Presidents 1-12)
Midwest Intermediate Unit 4 (PA) Presidents Tournament 9-12
New Orleans Academic Games League (NOAGL) Presidents Tournament Jr/Sr #1-24
13 NOAGL Presidents Tournament El/Mid #1-12
14 Midwest Intermediate Unit 4 (PA) Presidents Tournament 5-8
15 Jefferson Parish Elementary On-Sets Tournament and Propaganda Section C

If you do not see your league’s events above, please send your calendar.


Coaching Tips


Have students contribute Propaganda examples they see on TV or read in a newspaper or magazine. Put together the student submissions into a practice round.


  • Write a Universe on the board or project a Universe.
  • Set a Goal and have players write as many Solutions for that Goal as possible. Do not worry about what cubes are available.
  • Have each player share one of his/her Solutions with the group.
  • Put a cube in Required. Players either cross out some of their Solutions or modify them to include the cube in Required.
  • Do another round of Solution sharing.
  • Move a cube to Forbidden (and assume no other cubes with that symbol are available).
  • Players further update their Solutions and share.
  • In this way, players get as much practice as possible writing Solution in a condensed period of time.
  • This process gives newer players a chance to get ideas for Solutions from veterans.


Down Memory Lane

I Think, Therefore … I Play: Celebrating 50 Years of Academic Games, prepared by Stu White for the 2015 tournament in Orlando, is a treasure trove of memories. Here’s one of the many stories in this magnificent publication.

The Allegheny Valley School District was one of ten Allegheny County School Districts that accepted the challenge of joining the first Academic Games League in the United States in the fall of 1966. This suburban school district is 15 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, PA, along the Allegheny River. It remains one of the smallest of the 42 school districts in Allegheny County.

An Allegheny Valley teacher, Lois Fink, helped establish a record of excellence in Academic Games that defies logic. Domination is a better word to describe her reign in the Elementary Division. Twelve consecutive National Sweepstakes Championships! Forty Team Championships! Over 25 Individual Championships! Although Lois’s life was cut short by cancer, her spirit carries on in the minds and hearts of her peers, students, and players.

Many who knew her commented about the many special qualities she displayed with her students. She was known to be in control but never controlling. She was very organized, but her students did not feel managed. A number of colleagues commented that they wished that they had the courage to emulate her original teaching style.

A number of Lois’s students commented on relishing the strategy involved in the cube games and are grateful that Lois brought the notion of strategy into their lives earlier than the traditional elementary academics of the time would have allowed.

The Lois Fink Award was awarded to the outstanding player in the Elementary Division for many years. Isn’t it time to reinstate that award?

Comments are closed.