Who's in the Burrow?

Ambrose's Volunteer Day Movie

Happy Saturday!

I've been meaning to send this movie out that Ambrose put together on our all-school volunteer day a few weeks back. If the embedded video doesn't show up in your email client, turn up the volume and go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcIimmZkbCM. Enjoy!

Putting the "G" in Geocaching in SBA's Applied Sciences Class

"G" in action in Advisory
Marmot Folk,

I'm going to depart from the impersonal, press-release style of previous posts to begin this particular post by saying that there are so many great things going on at SBA it's hard to know whom or what to spotlight next.

Take Guenther's and Devin's brainchild, SBA TV, for example, which, if you haven't seen on Facebook yet, you definitely should soon. Then there's Spirit Week, photos of which are available by clicking on thumbnails in the blog header (if you view the blog at the Web site rather than in your email client).

But this is one of the coolest campus things I've heard of so far this fall.

Maybe "cool" dates me. My 12-year-old son would suggest I use "sick" instead.

If you don't know anything about geocaching you might want to do some background research either before of after reading this (check out http://www.geocaching.com/about/default.aspx).

It is, in a nutshell, like high-tech treasure hunting - going in search of geocaches with a GPS as your guide and coordinates from an on-line database as your only clues.

And, soon, Sugar Bowl Academy will have its own geocaches registered in the national database, left in the wilds of the campus vicinity by SBA students of Andy Giordano's Applied Sciences class.

Giordano - "G" to most on campus - recently sent his science students out on a series of scavenger hunts to the summit looking for caches he had set up in advance of the class meeting.

"There were two teams - I gave each team the coordinates to the first cache, where they found a question for which they had to apply their knowledge from an earlier activity to answer, and then, when they texted me in the right answer to that question, I texted them back the coordinates to the next cache."

Here's a sample question from the caches: "How would a researcher be able to identify an Earth-like planet around a distant star?"

(Answer: I have no idea.)

Students were equipped with small GPS units to move from cache to cache based on the coordinates they were sent by Giordano.

"There are a lot of pieces to this, and one of them is just getting (SBA students) to understand what they're holding in their hands when they're holding a cell phone map. That technology came from somewhere but was adapted for civilian use and has been mainstreamed.

"It gives them basic navigation skills, along with the idea that there are a lot of communities out there that they can be part of. The geocaching community is a big one.

"The Applied Science part of it is getting a handle on how GPS satellites locate you. It's triangulation - your little handheld bumps out a signal and determines how far away you are from a satellite and draws a sphere where the radius is the distance from you to a satellite. Where the spheres from multiple satellites intersect is where you are."

Shortly before parents' weekend, the class's two geocaching teams each set up their own geocache sites, taking down the coordinates so that they can be registered in the national database.

Although the contents of each geocache are not typically publicized (the mystery of their contents is part of the allure of finding them), it is known that these particular caches will serve to advertise Sugar Bowl Academy to geocaching enthusiasts.

"Among other things, there are a bunch of SBA stickers in them," said Giordano.

Ninth-grader Perry Schaffner said that she found the hands-on nature of this particular Applied Sciences class activity to be "really, really fun."

"I liked that we got to walk all over behind the school and explore. It taught us how to find coordinates so that, if you were ever lost, the GPS would help you. It taught you some of your surroundings that you don't get to see every day."

I only wonder if "really, really fun" is as cool as "sick." I'm sure my son will enlighten me on the subject.

Be well,
Marmot Man

PS - Check out SBA's "groovy" (should have used that all day long on "Retro Day") Picasa photo album - called "Scene on Campus" - at http://picasaweb.google.com/sugarbowlacademy/SceneOnCampus#. Bookmark and visit often - it is updated regularly.

spokesMarmot speaks

Marmot Folk,

Parent meetings this weekend were very helpful to me in my capacity as spokesMarmot, as I learned that not everybody knows how to access the blog or how to comment on posts. Hopefully the following will help clarify...

This is relevant to the last blog post in particular, which contains two embedded YouTube videos of SBA students from Joanne Knox's Drama class performing one-acts in All School Meeting Friday. Unfortunately, when this content "pushes" out to your email addresses, it apparently strips video content if it exceeds a certain megabyte limit, and you cannot view the videos unless you click on The Fighting Marmot link that appears at the bottom of each blog post email you receive. In the future, for each post, I will include a hyperlink that you can click on in your email. Commenting is easy - there is a "Comment" feature at the bottom of each post.

If you would like for me to add any grandparents, friends, or family to the blog content "push" list (I had a request from Carrie's grandmother to add her email address), please don't hesitate to send me those email addresses - you can either post them as a comment to this post, or you can send them to me via email (sbacademy@gmail.com).

Friend us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@SugarBowlAcad) - posts launched from the spokesMarmot TweetDeck include one regarding the outcome of this weekend's much anticipated on-campus clash of foosball titans Landsinger and Plant.

Finally, here's a plug to keep your eyes out for the next post, which will be a feature on hands-on learning and geocaching in Andy Giordano's Applied Science class.

Great things are happening up on The Rock!

Marmot Man

PS - Here's your url so you can view the drama videos: http://sugarbowlacademy.blogspot.com/2010/10/drama-in-all-school-meeting.html. You will notice, too, "Scene on Campus" photos at the top of the blog that are updated regularly, so bookmark it, or, better yet, make it your default Web page when your browser opens.)