Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

"Fancy Dress Day"

Yes, there were some interesting interpretations of "Fancy Dress Day" Thursday at NOVA.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sounders Win Supporters' Shield!

The Sounders win the Shield! The Sounders win the Shield! The Sounders gained their second trophy of 2014 as they defeated the LA Galaxy 2-0 to win the Supporters' Shield. The Sounders finished the regular season with a record of 20-10-4. They became the first team in the post-shootout history of MLS to finish the regular season with 20 victories. If the Sounders win MLS Cup, they will become the first team to win the U.S. Open Cup, the Supporters' Shield, and MLS Cup in the same season.

The match was scoreless until the 85th minute. The Sounders took a quick free kick, Obafemi Martins made a nifty pass, and Marco Pappa scored to make it 1-0 Sounders. Then in the game's final minute, Pappa pressured Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Pinedo, stole the ball, and scored a second goal. Pappa only came into the game in the 73rd minute as a substitute for Brad Evans. The Sounders attempted 4 shots in the game, and all of them were attempted by Pappa.

Attendance for the game was 57,673 on a drizzly Seattle day. The playoffs will begin next weekend against an opponent to be determined. Go Sounders!

Also of interest for Sounders and soccer fans, Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated wrote an interesting proposal regarding the structure of the MLS playoffs. You can read it here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Golden Compass: Part I: Oxford

Illustration: Rory Phillips
Please read only Part I: Oxford of The Golden Compass. Do not read ahead!

Please respond to the following writing prompts using complete paragraphs. Type answers using size 14 Calibri font and 1.5-line spacing. Include title and heading. Due Monday, October 27.

1. Do you find Lyra to be a compelling character? Why or why not? Do you share any similarities with Lyra? Explain.
2. Who is Lord Asriel? Who is Mrs. Coulter? What does Lyra think of each character? What do YOU think of each character?
3. What is a daemon? Describe Lyra’s relationship with Pan. Would you like to have a daemon? Explain.
4. What is the alethiometer? Why must Lyra protect it?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Reading Log #2

  • Due: Thursday, November 20.
  • Minimum amount of time spent reading: 6 hours.
  • Do not include time spent reading The Golden Compass.
  • Reading for this assignment may consist of novels, shorts stories, plays, or poetry. Graphic novels, magazine articles, and on-line articles do not count toward this total.
  • Record all books read in log.
  • Estimate the number of hours you spend reading each book. This number is just an estimate and does not need to be exact. Add up all the hours spent reading and include the total on the appropriate line.
  • Optional: If you would like to log each reading session, you may do this on the separate log provided. However, this is not required, and you do not need to turn in the optional time log.
  • If you do not finish a book please include “DNF” in the chart in lieu of a star rating.
  • If a book is a re-read, please put an "R" in parentheses after the book title.
  • At least one of the books you read this period must be in the Fantasy genre. Also, it is required of you that you finish this book (even if this requires spending more than 6 hours reading the book).
  • The required Fantasy book may not be a re-read, and it may not be a part of a series in which you have read other books in that series.
  • Please provide a typed response including the following components. Please type using size 14 Calibri font with 1.5-line spacing.
  1. Hero: Who is the hero of your book? What characteristics does the hero have which are typical of the fantasy genre? Describe these characteristics. Does the hero have any characteristics which are atypical of a hero? Explain.
  2. Quest: What is the quest the hero must embark upon? Describe the goal of the quest.
  3. Good vs. Evil: How are the forces of good and the forces of evil represented in the book? Are these forces typical of the fantasy genre? Explain.
  4. Magic: How is magic represented in the book? Who is able to harness magic? How does magic play a part in the story?
  5. Extraordinary Creatures: Describe the most interesting extraordinary creatures in the book. Are these creatures unique to this book, or are they found in other works of Fantasy? Explain.
  6. Fantastic Land: What is the name of land in which the book takes place? How is it similar to our world? How is it different than our world? Explain. Is there a portal between worlds? If so, describe the portal.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Malala Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai (r.) with Syrian refugee Mazoon Rakon at Zaatari Refugee Camp, Syria, February 18, 2014 (AFP/Getty Images)
Yesterday it was announced that Malala Yousafzai was the co-winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, sharing the award with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights activist. Malala came to international fame for her advocacy of girls' right to education in her native Pakistan. She survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in Swat Valley, Pakistan, in 2012. You can read The New York Times article on Malala's award here. Imagine being pulled out of Chemistry class to be told you had won the Nobel Peace Prize!

If you are unfamiliar with Malala, you can watch her appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart here:


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

John Green Kind of Hates Batman

Here is John Green's most recent YouTube video. John is of course the author of "Looking for Alaska," "An Abundance of Katherines," "The Fault in our Stars," and other teen novels. Besides writing books, he also spends his time riding in racecars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, traveling to Africa with Bill Gates, watching English football, and making video diary entries such as the one here. I am curious how long it will take him to write his next book with all this extracurricular activity. Anyway, this is a pretty humorous take on Batman, though I think he is far too cavalier in his dismissal of Catwoman, Joker, and Penguin, who are pretty formidable as far as supervillains go.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Map of the Day: New York Times Interactive College Football Fan Map

This is such a cool map. It uses Facebook likes to determine the most popular college football team in every U.S. zip code. However, it only tabulates 84 major college football programs, so a state like Montana shows up registering support for the Oregon Ducks, when clearly the state's most popular program is actually the Montana Grizzlies. The reach of the Ducks' popularity is perhaps the most surprising aspect of the map. Who knew the team with the most hideous uniforms in college football was so popular in Northern California and Alaska?

The interactive map at The New York Times website can be found here.

Note: Please don't take my enthusiasm for this particular map to be an endorsement of the sport of college football or the NCAA. I have serious reservations about this particular sport and this particular institution. That being said, I do consider myself a fan of the Washington Huskies. And being a Husky fan, I will make digs at the Oregon Ducks whenever I can. Sorry, Mo and Mr. Jeff, Area Code 98501 is firmly Husky Territory.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Collaborative Science/Geography Project on Viruses and Ebola

Today Mr. Gacek's sixth grade Geography class came upstairs to visit Mr. Campbell's seventh and eighth grade Science Class. The seventh and eighth graders recently finished working on a case study related to Ebola. Today they taught what they had learned from the study to the sixth graders.

The seventh and eighth graders began by teaching the students about viruses: what they are, what they are made from, and how they replicate. The older students then showed the younger students how to build a model of a virus, in this case a bacteriophage. Together the students built a virus model out of pipe cleaners.

The students then all watched a short video about the nature of viruses. Viruses exist all around us every day. Our immune systems have evolved to be very adept at warding off viruses. The video humorously showed in animated fashion how a virus can spread via sneeze from one person to another. You can watch the video courtesy of NPR here.

Mr. Campbell then introduced Ebola, a virus which has created a recent epidemic in West Africa. Seventh and eighth graders worked on a case study related to an earlier outbreak of Ebola, this one in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The older students then explained to their younger group members how they gathered evidence related to the case and hypothesized about how Ebola was spread. Most of the groups hypothesized that it was fruit bats which spread the virus. Fruit bats were the host species. People living in the DRC could have contracted the virus from handling or eating the bats, or they could have contracted it from eating animals which themselves had eaten the fruit bats. The hypothesis formulated by the students was that Ebola could have traveled from Central Africa to West Africa via the bats.

For the final activity, Mr. Campbell gave each group a scenario card. Each scenario presented a complication related to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Students had to apply their understanding of Ebola, viruses, and general science to the problem and formulate a solution.

Mr. Gacek and all the sixth graders would like to thank Mr. Campbell and all the seventh and eighth graders for being phenomenal teachers. We learned an extensive amount in a short period of time. It was an excellent experience for us all!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Come See Mr. Fleming's Art at Arts Walk!

Starting this Friday, Eric Fleming’s artwork will be on display during Arts Walk at Compass Rose in downtown Olympia. Please come by and say hi! Mr. Fleming will be showing several pieces, including the one you see above. Here is Mr. Fleming’s description of the piece:
This image was created to honor Lisa Iverson, the founder of NOVA School, an Olympia middle school for highly capable students. Lisa's vision formed the wellspring for a dynamic institution with a strong educational philosophy and compassionate learning environment. This papercut image will be transformed into a large, ceramic mural for the front wall of the school. Each element of the picture was intentionally chosen to express important aspects of Lisa Iverson's wisdom and accomplishments. Lisa's hands are shown tossing tree seeds and planting a forest. As she sows the forest, it reflects the thousands of young minds who have thrived through their experiences at the school she founded.

Hope you can make it! Compass Rose is located at 416 Capitol Way S.