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Monday, October 29, 2012

More Academic Updates – Week 10

Malaria Day
Anopheles Mosquito
TTS20 completed the first ever TTS malaria awareness day on October 12.  We devoted a day of classes to the overall impact of malaria in Africa specifically with an understanding to the global effect of the disease.  We re-visited our day at the Akros center in Lusaka and refreshed our understanding of the little anopheles mosquito who is the only mosquito to carry the malaria parasite and potentially transfer it to humans through one small bite.  We studied the life cycle of the disease in the human body with skits and moved into preventative measures to help squelch the disease.  Before having a round table discussion, each member of TTS20 studied malaria through different personalities – Melinda Gates, a village elder, a pharmaceutical rep from the US, a Mozambican doctor and a mother coping with the loss of her young one from malaria- to gain perspective on the disease and efforts to eradicate it.  Throughout the day, we focused on the economic pitfalls of the disease, the international aid effort, the differences in education and proximity to reliable heath care.  Overall, it was a stimulating day of interactive classes bringing awareness to the second deadliest disease in Africa.

Algebra 2
With the midterm exam behind them, the Algebra 2 students continued their studies working with variables and inequalities.  Unit 2 concluded with graphical transformations and the writing of equations using function notation.  The class enjoyed holding study sessions alongside the infinity pool, as well as within the infamous Kruger National Park.  With the semester flying by, students will continue to study hard as they begin working on matrices and solving for variables using multiple equations.

Math Concepts
Be careful parents, the math concepts class just completed their unit of study on credit cards and the students are ready to fill out the applications!  The Game of Life continued with each student selecting the best type of bank accounts and credit cards for her character with a reflection on why those accounts would best benefit the character's lifestyle.  Following the character analysis, students completed a self-reflection deciding which types of accounts they would like to have in the future and why.  In order to fill those new accounts, the students have begun creating resumes and cover letters they can use when applying for a future job at home.  Interviewing skills, as well as mock interviews will be completed in the coming week, concluding the current unit of study.  The students are eager to face the job market with poise and confidence.

Travel Journalism
The rumble of clicking cameras filled big blue as we witnessed picture perfect scenes in Kruger - a lioness and her cubs devouring an impala, a leopard peeking through the long savannah grasslands and elephants protecting their young trumpeting and charging the truck.

The journalism girls focused and re-focused their cameras in attempts to capture the scenes with the best light and exposure.  From capturing the big five to the tiniest water droplets balancing on delicate leaves, these girls are becoming expert photographers and are catching photographic subjects at the perfect moments.  The students continue to capture their images  in writing and create captions to accompany a scene to draw the viewer in.  The young journalists are also studiously writing their second article, attempting to highlight their experiences in southeast Africa  with strong descriptions and wording to illustrate their personal TTS moments.  The class is now a tight-knit community willing to share written work and help one another brainstorm and edit one another's work.

Precalculus is now a fully interactive class with students often chiming in to explain concepts and offer shortcuts and hints.  They ask questions and offer ideas actively.  Throughout chapter two the students worked hard to understand polynomial behavior and how different exponents change the shape of the graph.  It isn't uncommon to see Precalculus students doing the polynomial dance to visualize graphs.  These motivated students are working hard to master all concepts in a timely fashion while enjoying the comfort of asking questions and dissecting problem types without hesitation.

Global Studies
The class is currently finishing their studies on Human Rights and will be moving into discussions about refugees and civil and political rights.  The students have had in depth debates about human rights and are shocked to learn about the disparities of wealth, education and living standards throughout the world.  It is a powerful subject and has opened many students awareness to international job prospects and volunteer opportunities.  In small groups, the students recently presented campaigns addressing human rights issues Mozambique recently struggled with.  In addition, students completed artistic pieces showing their most impactful moment thus far in Africa.  Scenes varied from contrasting western influences to scraps of trash to vivid scenes of tears and struggle portraying our travels and the reflections each of us experiences while becoming more mindful global citizens.

Following their underwater adventures with SCUBA diving, the students conquered midterms by completing a research paper on an experiential learning moment from this semester.  Topics ranged from animal poaching in Gorongosa National Park to several topics related to aquatic ecosystems and the fishing industry.  The passion and natural curiosity for learning of the students in this class is simply unbelievable!  As students began learning about infectious disease, discussions centered around the diseases facing Africa and how limited resources have led to incredible health statistics.  Students read and discussed articles on the widespread impact of malaria on both the economy as well as in social health.  Following the unit on infectious diseases the class revisited ecosystems at Kruger National Park. Science journal entries included observations on lion prides, cheetahs, leopards, and impala.  After reviewing current population counts of the park the class realized how unbelievably lucky they were to see each of the Big 5 two days in a row.  As the class heads back to the beach, the oceanography unit will begin with reports on turtles, whale sharks and the local flora and fauna.

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