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August 8, 2003     Cape Gazette
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August 8, 2003

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Aug. 8 - Aug. 14, 2003 - 121 SCHOOL & EDUCATION AP Institute arrives at Cape Henlopen School District By Amy Reardon As schools prepare for the first day of class, 260 teachers from across the country gathered for the Lewes AP Summer Institute in Cape Henlopen High School and the Virden Conference Center. The needs of the teachers vary as dramatically as their home dis- tricts. First-year teachers and 20- year veterans come from as far away as California and North Dakota to learn from experienced advanced placement (AP) instruc- tors. Some teach in block sched- uling and some in strip, but what- ever their challenges, the institute gives them the confidence and techniques to prepare students for the AP exam. "I tell my teachers, 'AP students are sometimes smarter than you,'" said director Dr. Wilson "Bud" Framptom. "You better be on your toes. These kids are genius- es. AP teachers need to be thor- oughly qualified. Some first-year teachers don't get their assign- ments until June, and they've never taught AP before. Summer institutes can really help." Summer institutes meet in the last months of summer throughout the country with the backing of the College Board, which creates AP exams. Each spring thousands of students across the country sit down to take AP exams, and their success depends on how well they prepared during the year. AP teachers are held accountable for their students' performance and the institute gives them the oppor- tunity to learn new practices from experienced teachers. Most of Frampton's instructors have grad- ed AP exams and therefore know exactly what each exam demands. Chemistry instructor John Hnotow outlined college expecta- tions for first-year, chemistry stu- dents during his lecture. College expectations drive the content and format of the exam, but he warned against removing specialty topics which rarely show up on exams. "I hate to see teachers remove a topic if that is their specialty;' said Hnotow. "Half of your job is to motivate. You have to be an aca- demic coach, who pushes your students to the next level. I have high school seniors who know which college they're going to in October and seni'tis sets in. You have to get them excited. Sometimes they will do well just to please you. There are many forms of motivation." High school students, who com- plete AP courses and pass the exam, learn high-level study skills and can earn college credit. "I have one student who will be a first semester sophomore at Syracuse next year using his AP credits," said Frampton. "Research shows AP kids have more success in college, earn graduate degrees sooner and usu- ally pursue doctorates. I have col- lege professors tell me they can tell AP kids because of their writ- ing. They stick out like a sore - thumb because they're taught col- lege writing in high school" Sandra Rawlings, middle states Continued on page 122 Amy Reardon photo Lewes AP Summer Institute gives teachers the opportunity to perform labs their students will be required to do in class. Shown are AP biology teachers Rose-Marie Turley, left, and Travis Wisinski, right, as instructor Tom Carroll, middle, reviews the enzyme lab. The institute gives teachers the opportunity to share techniques. Shown is physics instructor Tom Hoch demonstrating test-taking techniques. Roller coasters offer thrills as well as math lessons Some families enjoy searching out and visiting the world's best roller coasters. What a thrill to feel the breeze on your face when the coaster climbs high above the ground to drop down amid screams of delight. There is no stopping a roller coaster aficionado; they travel far and wide to ride the highest, the longest, the biggest drop, and the most speed. If your family is interested in roller coasters, there are three websites that will help parents roll the ride into a little math lesson. Diane Albanese At Education World, education- 2/lp2032.shtml, students search available data about roller coast- ers through a handy link to the Roller Coaster Data Base and then complete a chart showing the characteristics of roller coasters such as the top speed, the height and the drop both in English and SCHOOL JOURNAL in metric! Students can receive practice comparing the two sys- tems of measurement while gath- ering plenty of knowledge that may lead to future road trips. Did you know that the Millennium Force roller coaster at Cedar Point, near Cleveland, Oh. has a top speed of 92 miles per hour with a 300-foot drop and a height of 310 feet? Many mem- bers and parents of the Cape Henlopen High School Band may remember because we traveled to that park just two years ago and rode this awesome machine. (Some of us rode and some of us watched!) At the website viewers can test their knowledge with a roller coaster quiz that provokes more math reasoning with questions such as: Which of the roller coast- ers is longest? How many feet long is it? Is a kilometer longer or shorter than a mile? What is the average number of feet the roller coasters drop? Which is longer, a yard or a meter? Which roller coaster is farthest from where you live? At there is a lengthy list of roller coasters com- plete with statistics and some pic- tures. The author of this website offers clubs, organizations, videos and books about roller coasters around the world. There is a com- prehensive listing of international amusement parks. To delve a little deeper into the scientific and historic aspects of roller coasters, go to howstuff- At this site you will learn that the first American roller coaster was the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway, built in the mountains of Pennsylvania in the mid-1800s. The track was originally built to provide an easy way to send coal to the railway 18 miles down the mountain. When the track was first built, a crew at the bottom of the moun- tain would attach the cart to a team of mules after emptying the load, and the mules would drag it back up to the top. To make the system more effi- cient, the railway designers even- tually added more carts, a return track and a pulley system powered by large steam engines at the top of the mountain. Soon after these improvements were made, the railway built a new tunnel that brought the freight trains much closer to the coal mine. Now useless for coalmining, the switchback rail- way was reconfigured as a scenic tour. For $1, tourists got a leisurely ride up to the top of the mountain, where they might enjoy a meal at the restaurant, a rest in the hotel or a walk in the woods, followed by a wild, bumpy ride straight down the mountain. The ride was soon a resounding success, attracting thousands of tourists every year. From humble beginnings the mighty roller coaster has evolved and thrived as an important part of summer fun the world over. Diane Albanese is a parent and a teacher in the Cape Henlopen School District.