IHS BLOG

IHS Students Participate in the Academic Games League of America (AGLOA) 2015 National Tournament

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Fourteen students from the Isha Home School (IHS) were among just under 1,000 participants to compete in the Academic Games Leagues of America (AGLOA) 2015 National Tournament (or Nationals as it is commonly called) in Orlando, Florida USA which took place 24-27 April.

Academic Games is a set of games in mathematics, language arts, set theory, modern logic, and social studies in which players attempt to out-match their opponents with complex strategies. As many players describe it, it’s like playing chess but with mathematics, or set theory, etc.

IHS, whose Academic Games (AG) program is in its ninth year, was the only school outside of the United States to participate in this year’s Nationals which marked AGLOA’s 50th anniversary and only the second team outside of the US to compete in the history of the Nationals.  For many, just competing in the Nationals is an achievement, and for their part, the IHS team was welcomed in the opening ceremonies with a standing ovation.

After the opening ceremonies and a brief photo op, the IHS team was personally introduced to Prof Laymen E. Allen, the creator of AG, who was on hand for the 50th anniversary.  The celebration included an alumni banquet in which a distinguished AG alumnus, Sal Khan of the Khan Academy, appeared via a video clip sharing his experiences as a former player and how the games helped him to take his pioneering step in transforming education (http://agloa.org/sal-khan-testimonial).

Prior to arriving in Orlando, the team spent a week in Detroit, MI adjusting to the time difference and participating in friendly matches hosted by two powerhouse teams, Detroit Alonzo W. Bates Academy and Utica St Lawrence School.

The IHS team, whose members ranged from age nine to 12, was comprised of one team that competed at the Middle Division (7th and 8th standard) and two teams at the Elementary Division (standards 6 and below). Of the three teams, one of the Elementary teams had the best show ranking 17th of 36, 7th of 17, and 33rd of 51 in three of the four games at the end of the competition with one of their players receiving an individual medal for a perfect score.

During the students’ down time they enriched themselves with excursions to historical sites.  In Detroit the students visited the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. Historic buildings were transplanted from their original location to Greenfield Village to give the experience of being in these spaces.  These buildings include the Wright brothers’ bicycle shop, Daniels Webster’s home, and Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park where he created the first incandescent bulb. The Henry Ford Museum contains several historic artifacts including President Kennedy’s limousine and the Rosa Parks bus.  They also spent the day at the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum where they explored science and engineering marvels hands on followed by a tour of the University of Michigan campus. On their last day in Detroit, in addition to seeing snow for the first time, they enjoyed a tour of the city which included a look over the Detroit River into Canada.

At the conclusion of the tournament, the students traveled half an hour to the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This is the home of the launch site for every manned mission to the moon and the Space Shuttle fleet.  In addition to touring the actual launch sites, the students saw the actual control room that launched the first men to the moon as it was on that day as well as one of the actual spacecrafts that went to the moon and the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

All in all it was a very enriching experience for the students and teachers alike!