US Blazer Buzz 20 Jan

This week's highlight: Theory to Practice

Seniors in the discrete math class at Woodlawn recently completed a unit on probability and statistics. The students gained an appreciation for the fact that randomness was predictable and necessary when conducting valid surveys. A very common pattern that occurs when sampling a larger population is that of normal distribution or a bell curve. The class took advantage of normal distribution during a final project that centered around testing various claims.

All of us are bombarded with statistical claims every day from advertisers, political groups, and the medical world, just to name a few. The students were each charged with finding a claim about a product or cause of interest to him or her. The seniors used the tools that they had acquired to do a field study and gather sample data to test the claims they had found.

Overall, 73.4 percent of the class found this exercise to be challenging, 87.6 percent thought that it was revealing, and 100% of them said that it was fun. We might want to test these results!

Us Blazer Buzz 13 Jan

This week's highlight: Spanish Cooking

Woodlawn Spanish language upper school students recently completed a unit relating to food. The unit kicked off with a class trip to La Unica restaurant in Huntersville, where students ordered their meals in Spanish and spent the hour practicing their language skills through conversation with their classmates. At the end of the unit, students were challenged to produce and edit their own cooking videos. Each student brought in samples of their homemade concoction to enjoy with the class while watching one another's videos.

US Blazer Buzz 23 Dec

This week's highlight: Alumni Day

Woodlawn welcomed home three-quarters of its graduates just before the winter break in celebration of the first official "Alumni Day." Members of the classes of 2010-2013 arrived mid-morning for breakfast and Common Hour, during which they joined the upper school student body for the annual gingerbread house building competition. Although the #college house fell short of the juniors' Catching Fire-themed gingerbread arena, everyone enjoyed catching up over icing and candy. The alums spent the day visiting classes and former teachers and regaling current students and faculty with stories from their respective colleges. At the close of the school day, the students took on the alums in a fiercely-contested volleyball match in the Red Barn. After trading sets, the students pulled out a 26-24 victory in the final set to take the match. The day ended with a panel discussion and delicious BBQ dinner in the Lodge sponsored by alumni committee volunteers. Having the "extended family" on campus was a true high note before heading into the holidays!

US Blazer Buzz 16 Dec

This week's highlight:World Culture Tattoos and Geometry

Ninth graders connected their geometry and world history classes in an in-depth study of symbolic tattoos in world culture. They discovered that the ancient designs incorporated color, iconography, repetition, and symmetry to represent religious beliefs, social hierarchy, or personality. The students researched the history of a culture's tattoo use and then identified images that not only represented its beliefs, but also included geometric concepts such as congruent shapes and rigid transformations. They were also tasked with creating their own design, which represented not only their chosen researched culture, but also included some of their own individuality. The ninth graders included examples of specific geometric terms in their tattoo prototypes. Personal reflections by the students included some unforeseen connections such as, "All of the triangles ... are touching the surface of the big triangle in some way. I did this to show that everything we do has an effect on the world, either positive or negative."

US Blazer Buzz 9 Dec

This week's highlight: The World of European Opera

European Studies students wrapped up their first trimester of hands-on, integrated project work in the humanities by delving into the world of the opera. In groups and over the course of several weeks of intensive study, the juniors and seniors became experts on an essential opera and its composer. They considered classics such as The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini and Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, Carmen by Georges Bizet and Aida by Giuseppe Verdi. Ultimately, each group perfected a multimedia presentation in which the students informed their classmates about the opera's composer, presented scenes and songs, and discussed the historical and cultural context of the opera. They explored the period in which the piece was written, its source material and impact, and highlights of its performance history. Individually, each group member became an expert on a particular song from his or her group's opera, dissecting its musicality and translating its lyrics. In a course whose goal is, in part, to help further integrate the arts into the upper school curriculum, the opera project afforded students a chance to make connections and become experts in a small piece of artistic history.