Sunday, August 15, 2010
We kicked off Explorers Week yesterday with the photograph of Robert Scott. The picture was was taken on the British Antarctic Expedition which ran from 1910 to 1913. Today, we show another picture from that expedition. It shows their ship, the Terra Nova, stuck in the ice near Antarctica. The picture was taken sometime in 1910 or 1911. This expedition was the second to reach the South Pole. Five members of the expedition lost their lives. I find it interesting that the photograph almost looks like an artists drawing. It almost looks too dramatic to be real, but yes, it is a real photograph.
Well, we had some great fun yesterday with the Mystery Contest, notwithstanding the Evil Interloper who launched a competing contest, with several of you being sucked in. Note that I do not blame you. There are very powerful forces at play here, and I understand how you could get sucked in. All is forgiven.
Today is the last day of my summer break, and I feel like I have had a very productive summer. I completed the construction of the greenhouse, and now there are just a few finishing touches that hopefully will get done in the next week, if the plumbers and electrician decide to show up. Also, I made lots of progress on the landscaping around the house. As I have mentioned, we built our house on very rough terrain . . . lots of rocks, cactus, brush, and mesquite. Little by little this summer, we cleared the circle in front of the house where I can mow it now. Once you can mow an area, it starts killing the weeds, and the buffalo grass takes over. Also, in the back, we were able to clear the area almost half way to the fence. Of course, it would have been much easier with a tractor, but perhaps the excellent progress that was made with nothing but a grubbing hoe and a wheel barrow will help build the case for a tractor.
I have to say that I am really looking forward to school starting. They have me teaching some new classes, and they should be interesting. Last year many of the students indicated to the administration that they did not feel that they were being properly prepared for college. Perhaps because of some of the horror stories coming back to them from first year college friends. In response to their concerns, the school asked me to come up with a College Preparation class. In the class I will be teaching basic skills that many kids don't have these days . . . How to keep an organized notebook, how to take notes, how to study for exams, how to be effective in scholarship applications, time management, and other organizational skills. Last year, the students actually helped prepare the syllabus for the class. This class will also cover ACT/SAT preparation, where we will do lots of work in improving standardized test scores. The students are excited about the class, because it was their idea.
I will still be teaching Business Computing, Algebra II, and WEB design. In addition, they will be expanding the engineering classes from 4 to 6. Presently, they have me teaching Fundamentals of Wind Turbine Technology, Pneumatics, DC Circuit Design, and AC Circuit Design. They will expand this to include Semiconductor Physics and Digital Circuits. The engineering classes build on each other, so I am not teaching them all at the same time. Some are taught in the first semester, and some in the second semester. If the students go to a junior college, these classes will count for college credit. If they go to a 4-year university, they will not count for college credit, but if they go into engineering, they will go in having seen the material before, and will have the math background needed to succeed in the university classes.
So, it has been a fun and productive summer, and I pretty much met all my goals for the summer. Now I am gearing up for school, and hope it turns out to be a productive and rewarding year.