AGazine, October 2013

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

News & Notes Lorrie Scott Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


Events across the AGLOA leagues during the next month:

19 Michigan League of Academic Games (MLAG) Regional Tournaments – 5 locations
22 Palm Beach Academic Games League (PBAGL) Basic/Classic Propaganda Tournaments – Sections A & C
26 Massachusetts Academic Games League (MAGLOA) Propaganda Tournament
29 PBAGL Propaganda Tournaments (Basic/Classic) – Sections D & F
5 PBAGL Basic (4-5 only) & Classic LinguiSHTIK Tournament – Rounds 1 & 2
New Orleans Academic Games Leagues (NOAGL) Jr/Sr On-Sets – Round 1
6 Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV (PA) MJS Propaganda Tournament
NOAGL Elem/Mid On-Sets – Round 1
8 St. Bernard Parish On-Sets Tournament
12 PBAGL Basic (4-5 only) & Classic LinguiSHTIK Tournament Rounds 3 & 4
NOAGL Jr/Sr On-Sets – Rounds 2 & 3
13 Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV (PA) Elementary Propaganda Tournament
NOAGL Elem/Mid On-Sets – Rounds 2 & 3
14 Beaver County (PA) Academic Games Leagues Propaganda & Equations Tournament
15 Jefferson Parish On-Sets Tournament (MJS)
16 Michigan League of Academic Games (MLAG) Regional Tournaments – 5 locations

To see all of our of upcoming events, visit our Calendar page. If your league’s events are not listed, please send us your schedule.

Presidents Rule Clarification

The 2013-14 Presidents Tournament Rules includes the following, where changes from last year are in bold and the capitalized word is a clarification since the rules were published in August:

Using a non-erasable pen only, each player may circle one and only one answer per question. The answer may be marked only after the second reading of any one of the three clues. WHEN a player answers determines how many points that player receives if correct. Players may not change an answer once it has been CIRCLED. An erasure or scratch out makes the answer automatically wrong.

This rule in no way changes players’ ability to use the process of elimination strategy. After the second reading of any clue, players may cross out or shade over the numbers of the presidents the clue eliminates. The key words in the above rule are “circle one and only answer per question.” Once players have circled a number, they may not change the answer.

In Junior/Senior, players may also mark the range for each question. For example, some put brackets around the 11 numbers of the range, such as 10-20. Others cross out or shade over the numbers outside the range. Both these techniques and similar ones are still permissible.

Suppose a player circles a number that was crossed out. Presumably the player crossed out the number thinking that president had been eliminated, then changed his mind. The last sentence of the above rule dictates that the answer is automatically wrong.


Meet the Social Studies Chairperson

LorrieScott2012Lorrie Scott got involved in Academic Games when she taught Gifted Language Arts at Oslo Middle School in Vero Beach, FL, in 1995. The Social Studies coach decided not to continue. So Lorrie took over in time to teach the Crusades as the World Events theme.

It blended in with what I like to do. It was a great way to teach kids research. World Events is still my first love. I like the combination of history plus current events.

Within two years, she also took charge of the Indian River County Academic Games League. Her first Nationals was in 1997 in nearby Orlando. It wasn’t long before she became a Florida representative on the AGLOA Board of Directors (now the Tournament Council) and then national Social Studies chairperson.

  • As head of the local league, she takes care of the local competitions, trains coaches, and run practices for the state tournament and Nationals.

I’ve always had people working with me. I’ve coached LinguiSHTIK, but I’m not a good Equations coach. I understand basic Equations and could coach that, but the Adventurous variations get me.

  • The Indian River League plays Equations, LinguiSHTIK, Presidents, and World Events in the Elementary and Middle Divisions.

I’d love to have high school divisions, but we don’t have anyone willing to coach at the high school level. There are too many conflicts. I had three young men who played in middle school who were dead set on coming to Nationals in 9th grade. But they couldn’t do it. The state tournament was the same day as a Mu Alpha Theta tournament.

  • Her league plays three rounds of each game (with Presidents sharing two of the three playing dates of World Events) on Wednesday afternoons at 3:30 in the cafeteria of a centrally located school.
  • The league includes private as well as public schools.
  • Equations is the biggest game with 300 participants. 200 play LinguiSHTIK with 150-175 in Social Studies. A core of 100-150 students play every game in order to qualify for Nationals.
  • Most years, Indian River does not enter sweepstakes teams at Nationals but instead puts together the best teams in each subject area.

We used to do sweeps consistently but found we won more trophies at Nationals if we did the best five in each area. Recently, we had five students who had played since 4th grade who chose to go for sweeps. They missed third place by hundredths of a point.

Her election as AGLOA Social Studies chairperson came as a “huge surprise.”

The biggest change I see in the committee in recent years is that we’ve opened our lines of communication enough so that we’re getting representatives from each league. We’ve formed a bond. We’ve spent the last couple of years updating our games, but it’s still a work in progress.

The choice to eliminate the reference round in World Events was a big one. But we find that students enjoy the double Lightning Round since they have a more narrow focus on a topic. We’ve also been exploring how to integrate technology. We’re concerned about the haves and the have nots. Also, technology outdates itself quickly. You’d have to have a pretty big network to handle 100 iPads online at the same time.

We’re trying hard to give people more time to prepare for the World Events topics. So we choose topics two years in advance. One of the lessons we’ve learned is that you have to research a topic before you choose it to make sure there’s material for 5th graders and 12th graders and all in between.

The next step is to put together a body of knowledge to help World Events coaches—How to get started. Techniques we’ve used with our students that have proved successful.

Lorrie’s also had the universal experience of Academic Games positively impacting students’ schooling.

A young lady at my school was expelled in 4th grade for discipline issues. One year the theme was the 1970s, and she really got into it. She placed 5th at state. That turned her whole academic career around. She had to study for World Events to be successful. So she picked up study skills that she used in her classes. The experience also gave her tremendous confidence. She went on to middle school and did well.

I had one young lady who was wonderful. When she moved to 9th grade, she wanted to continue in Academic Games. So I called Palm Beach County. They had an extra spot on their high school team. So she came to Nationals. They adopted her and showed her math strategies. The following year, they emailed her. “Are you coming this year?”


Down Memory Lane

The 1974-5 Official Equations Tournament Rules divided the Adventurous variations for Elementary Division into three groups.

  • Goal-Setter variations (reinterpretations of *)
  • Variations to be chosen by the player to the immediate left of the Goal-Setter (interpretations of √)
  • Variations to be chosen by the third player

Here were the variations the Goal-Setter could select.

  1. (Decimal point) If * is used, it must be used as a decimal point. * must be combined with two cubes that stand for digits to make a decimal. * must take precedence over all other operation cubes.
  2. (Exponent) If * is used, it must be used to indicate the operation of raising to a power where base and power are counting numbers.
  3. (Average) If * is used, it must be used to indicate the average of two.
  4. (GCF) If * is used, it must be used to indicate GCF (greatest common factor).
  5. (Fraction) If * is used, it must be used as a fraction bar where numerator is a whole number and denominator is a counting number. Thus A * B = A/B where A is a whole number and B is a counting number.

To be continued next issue …

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