AGazine, March 2013

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

& Notes
Profile – Bruce Griffith Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


AG Alumna Restores 40-year-old Moon Data

Forty years after the last Apollo spacecraft launched, data collected from those missions continues to be evaluated. Marie McBride, a senior at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL, majoring in planetary science and physics, did the meticulous work of restoring the readings recorded on microfilm from the dust detectors on Apollo 14 and 15 while an intern at NASA. With the data now available in digital form, Marie and other scientists can apply modern methods to analyze it.

Marie played Academic Games throughout her years in the Hermitage School District (PA), graduating from Hickory High School. Her goal is to be the first woman on the moon.

Marie McBride as a NASA intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA

Marie McBride as a NASA intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA

Events across the AGLOA leagues during the next month:

19 PBAGL required Propaganda and Presidents practice for Nationals Qualifiers @ Palm Springs Middle School, 4-5:30 p.m.
20 NOAGL National Tournament Meeting @ Brother Martin High School, 4 p.m.
22 Nationals T-Shirt Order Forms due to AGLOA
23 MLAG State Tournament Awards Ceremony
Louisiana Invitational Tournament @ Brother Martin HS, 9 a.m.
26 PBAGL Required LinguiSHTIK Practice for Nationals Qualifiers @ Palm Springs Middle School, 4-5:30 p.m.
29 Nationals Cost Sheets, Rooming Lists, Adult Master Lists, Volunteer Forms, and Media Liability Waiver Forms due to AGLOA
2 PBAGL Required Current Events and Theme Practice for Nationals Qualifiers @ Palm Springs Middle School, 4-5:30 p.m.
5 Nationals Individual and Team Registration Forms and Cube Games Seeding Forms due to AGLOA
9 PBAGL Required Equations Practice for Nationals Qualifiers @ Palm Springs Middle School, 8-3:30 p.m.
13 PBAGL Nationals Team Practice @ Palm Springs Middle School, 4-5:30 p.m.
16 PBAGL Required LinguiSHTIK Practice for Nationals Qualifiers @ Palm Springs Middle School, 4-5:30 p.m.

If your league’s events are not listed, please send us your schedule.


Profile: Bruce Griffith – I

The 2012 National Tournament saw the first students ever from Colorado participating as an Elementary and a Middle team from the St. Vrain School System north of Denver.

The person who initiated the program there was Bruce Griffith, who played five years in the 1970’s in Ann Arbor, MI. Bruce wanted to pay forward the benefits he accrued from participating in Academic Games, especially Equations.

Bruce encountered Academic Games in Stu White’s eighth-grade classroom at Clague Junior High. Every Friday, Stu held an Equations tournament in his classroom. For the first time, Bruce found a reason to learn math.

Prior to coming to Stu’s class, I participated in a self-paced math program in Ann Arbor. I was an unmotivated student. You were supposed to complete 30 individualized kits a year. Through 7th grade, I’d completed something like four kits.

Stu seeded the students for the Friday tournaments. Initially, I wasn’t very high. Because of that, I started trying to learn math.

Bruce went to the Michigan League of Academic Games Saturday tournaments and qualified to participate in the National Tournament in Tuscaloosa, AL, in 1975. The team learned all the other games for Nationals. The inexperienced group didn’t do that well, but Bruce and teammate Mike Steigerwald continued playing when they moved to 9th grade.

For the first time, Bruce entered a traditional classroom for math when he took Algebra I. After about six weeks, his parents received a call from the teacher.

My parents had been getting calls from school every year about how bad my performance in math was and asking what the school could do to help. So they expected the same story they’d heard every other year. The teacher said, “Your son doesn’t belong in my class.” “Here we go again,” thought my parents. Then the teacher said, “We need to bump him up a level to second year algebra. I think he can handle it.”

Bruce and Mike moved to Huron High School for tenth grade. The school had no Academic Games program. So Mike formed an Academic Games club that included students who had played at Scarlett Junior High. They continued to participate in MLAG tournaments and Nationals through their senior year. The Ann Arbor team won the Wff’N Proof championship their final year in Louisville, KY.

Mike stayed in Ann Arbor after graduation to attend the University of Michigan. This allowed him to continue to coach Academic Games at the Ann Arbor high schools. But Bruce left for Texas, where he majored in engineering.

For a guy who in seventh grade was unmotivated in math to transition into someone with an undergraduate degree that’s a quarter math is pretty astounding. I owe all that to Academic Games.

Next month: Colorado, here I come!


Down Memory Lane

These were the new rules for the 1974-5 school year for the game of Ameri-Eurocard.

  • During Rounds I and III only, each player may have two, but no more than two, reference books to which he/she may refer at anytime. The reference books must be published material. They may NOT be marked or tabbed in any way. Only these reference books may be used to substantiate answers in Rounds I and III.
  • For Rounds I and III, all questions will refer to the most recent two years. Questions will be multiple-choice, with four alternative answers marked A, B, C, D. Answers to the questions may be found in one of the following types of references:
    • Any almanac which covers the two most recent years.
    • Any publisher’s (e.g., Life, NY Times) review of the years.
    • Any current world atlas.
  • For Round II the theme will vary from year to year. For this Round NO reference books will be allowed.

    NOTE: For the 1975 Olympics, the theme for Round II is “The Years 1900 to 1920.”

  • To begin a Round, players place an AMERICARD-USA map and a EUROCARD map on the table for all to see. Questions may be about any state or nation in any of the three Rounds.
  • Each player is given 100 points to begin each Round. Each must reveal how many points he/she is wagering before each question is read aloud. Rules for wagering are:
    • Wagers must be in positive multiples of 5.
    • For the first half of the questions in each Round, wagers may not exceed 50.
    • For the second half of the questions in each Round, wagers may not exceed 100.

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