Thursday, November 20, 2014

Presidents Pointers

At practice on Monday, we began to discuss with the students strategies for Presidents.  I'd like to pass along something that we published in an MLAG publication a few years back that is still relevant today:

Presidents Pointers

The good thing about Presidents is that unlike the cube games it is totally up to you how well you do at a tournament.  In the cube games, no matter how much you study, whether you win or lose depends a lot on the opponents you face, and how much they have studied.  In Presidents, the more you study, usually, the better you do at the State, or National tournament.  For that reason, it is particularly beneficial to spend time studying for Presidents outside of your normal practice time.

Here are a few strategies to help you study:

Make Flashcards – They say it takes the average person hearing something six or seven times before they remember it.  If you make flashcards, you have to read it once, write it down, and then read it again, and you’re halfway there.  Plus we all know that Academic Games players are above average ;-)

Study One President Each Day – Spend 15 minutes each day reading about a different President.  With more than three months before the State tournament, that means that Minor, Elementary and Middle students will go through the list of Presidents more than three times, and Junior and Senior will go through the list more than twice.

Get Some Help From Adults – I had a former student one time who made a deal with her parents – she agreed to do the dishes after dinner every night if her parents would read Presidents clues to her.  Her parents were happy that she was helping with the chores, and she became a top flight Presidents player.

Start a Presidents Book – One thing that you can do with your teammates is to start a collection of Presidents facts in a notebook.  Set aside a page or two for each President, and every time somebody on the team finds a Presidents fact, they write it down and bring it to practice.  They write that fact in the Presidents notebook which stays at practice.  If everyone on the team contributes, by the end of the year, you will have a notebook that will help everyone on the team be a better Presidents player.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October Tournament results

 I wanted to pass along to you the Academic Games results from our second tournament, the first one that counts in the official standings (the first tournament is a "practice" tournament).

58 kids from Clague participated and finished with an average of 15.28 per player, good for second place in the tournament, behind a school from Northville, Meads Mill.   The lowest possible score for each player is 8, a perfect score is 20.  The top score was a 16.45.  We finished first in the Top 5 category (take the top five scores from each team) with a perfect 100.

Top scorers (18 or above) included:

Young Seo
Benjamin O (note - we have two Benjamins who both have the same last initial, so I will identify them by their first name and the last letter of the their last name)

 Congrats to all the Clague players for a great tournament.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Equations Worksheets

Equations worksheets are linked on the right. There is a packet for Elementary players (6th graders) and one for Middle players (7th and 8th grade). We will not be printing out the worksheets, so it is up to each student to print them out on their own. Worksheets are due before Thanksgiving break.

For every page completed, students will get one point added to their Friday tournament score, regardless of the number of problems they get correct. The idea is to reward effort. Students are encouraged to bring their worksheet packet with them to all practices, as we will often have times when they can work on them with other students.

6th and 7th grade students can get a maximum of 20 points from the worksheets, while 8th grade students can get points for the worksheets that deal with variations that are new this year, specifically worksheets 7T, 9G, 9H, 9I, 9J, 9K, 9L, 9M, 9N, 9O & 10C.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Saturday Tournament Results

61 Clague students competed in Saturday's tournament against students from other schools in Ann Arbor, Jackson, Northville, Utica, and Columbia Central.  Overall Clague finished with an average of 14.46 (low is 8, max is 20), good for third place in the tournament, and with a top 5 score of 94 (out of 100), also good for third place.

Top Scorers (18 or higher) included:
Brandon G
Charles W
Daniel H
Eli S
Hubert Z
James X
Marisa R
Prathik G
Ryan G

Congrats to all the Clague players who attended the first tournament of the year.  The next tournament is October 18 at Huron High School.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

First Saturday Tournament of the year

Dear Friends,

Just a quick note to remind everyone that our first tournament is this weekend at Clague. To participate, students need to be at Clague no later than 8:30 Saturday morning with pencil, paper, and their AG notebooks. When they enter the cafeteria, they will find the sign-in sheet for Clague students, and will then have about an hour to practice with teammates and get ready for the tournament. Around 9:30 we will move all students out into the lobby so we can set up, and will then bring everyone back in to start the tournament around 10am. The students will play three 35 minute rounds against students from other teams from Ann Arbor, Jackson, Detroit, Northville, Utica, Ypsilanti and other cities. The tournament will be over between 12 and 12:30.

Parents are welcome to attend, although we ask that parents not talk or communicate with the students during the competition.

Good Luck to all our students


Sunday, September 21, 2014

First Friday tournament results

We had a little bit of an adventure for our first Friday tournament of the year.  Because there was preparation for the Fun Night going on in the cafeteria, we moved our tournament to the lobby for some Equations in the sunlight.

The results:
Total Points
Holy Cheese 79
Sorry, You Lost! 77
swAG 68
Party Penguins 60
swAG 4.53
Holy Cheese 4.39
Sorry, You Lost! 4.05
Party Penguins 4.00

Monday, September 8, 2014

Captains for this year

For the first time ever, six captains!:
(in no particular order)


I am reminded of a conversation between Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry Truman when she informed him that FDR had died and he was now president  He asked her if there was anything he could do to help her.  She replied:
"Is there anything that we can do for you?  For you are the one in trouble now"

Congrats to all our captains, and good luck on the adventure ahead.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Clague AG 2014-15

Welcome Back,

I hope everyone had an enjoyable and restful summer vacation. Academic Games begins for all interested students begins this Friday Afternoon from 3-5 pm. Our practice schedule will remain the same this year as it was last year, Mondays 7-9 pm, and Fridays after school until 5pm.

Our first Saturday tournament will be September 27th at Clague. A complete schedule is posted to the right, and is included in the Welcome Letter that is also posted on the right. Please make sure to complete the registration form attached to the welcome letter and bring it with you to your first practice.
We are lucky this year to have two new additions to our coaching team: 
Nick Wang is a former AG player from Clague and Huron who graduated in 2013 from Yale and came home to work for the UofM and coach AG.  Last year he helped coach a very successful team at King to their best finish in school history. 

Yuxuan Chen is a 2014 Skyline graduate in her first year at UofM, who also had a very successful AG career at Clague and in HS.
We look forward to working with both of them this year, and feel confident that their additions will make our team that much harder to beat this year!

 If you have any questions or concerns about any of these items, please feel free to email me (

Thank for your support,


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mid Winter Break Quiz #2

Answers for our previous quiz:
EQ - 80 x 21 = 40 x 42 = 8x7x6x5 = 8!/4!

OS - (R' intersect B')'

Ling - He waved because he saw someone.

EQ - ((5^3)/2) ^ (1^7)

OS - B subset V

Ling - He likes running the race.

Basic WFF - Cps, Kpq / Ko(R), Co(R), Ai
(see if you can write the proof that goes with that solution)

Regular WFF - Eps, Ns, p / R, Eo (R), Co, No
(check the Wff packet for the proof that goes with this solution

New Quiz
EQ - Goal 37 * 17
Variations - MOP, + = ave, xprime
Find a solution using only three cubes

OS - Is setting a negative goal an illegal procedure or a Never?

Ling - What's the best way to make the game difficult for your opponents if you are the third player?

EQ - Goal 5 % 40
Variations OW, %, !
Find a three cube solution without using a divide

OS - What goal and restriction would make any set name equal the goal?

Ling -
Objective Case

WFF - Explain the difference between Required in Equations and Required in Wff.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mid Winter Break Quiz #1

Hello All,
Hope everyone is enjoying break so far.  Each day we're gonna put up some quiz questions for students to answer.  We'll post answers tomorrow.

EQ - Goal 80 x 21
        Variations - OW, !, UD
         Find a three cube solution

OS - Re-Write the following solution: RUB without using a U

Ling - Write a solution for the following set of demands:
Direct Object
Seven letters

EQ - Goal 13 / 2
         Variations K 7, !, OW
         Required - 1 2 3 5 7 / ^ ^ ^

OS - Which of the following restrictions are null for all universes?
         R subset R'
         V subset B
         B subset V

Ling - Write a solution for the following set of demands:
Direct Object
Gerund Phrase

Basic WFF -  Goal Asr
Required - p p s q i A C K R R

Reg WFF - Goal Eqq
Required - p p s s o o C E N N R R

Good luck!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Propaganda - Section F

Section F: Technique of Maneuver (How to win an argument that you're losing)

0. No Technique

1. Diversion: Changing the subject of a conversation successfully
            Example: Reporter: “Mr. President, did you make a mistake in authorizing arms to be sent secretly to Iran?”
            President: “Mr. Jones, congratulations on your award as Journalist of the Year. Also I liked your recent article on
              the economy.”

2. Disproving a Minor Point: Considering several arguments, but attacking only the weakest one
           Example: You said that Lykeisha had limited experience as a cheerleader, very poor jumping ability, and did not
             smile a lot during her routines. So you don’t want her on the cheer squad. But Lykeisha was a member of her
             cheer squad in both 7th and 8th grades. She belongs on the squad here at Bonaparte High.

3. Ad Hominem: Making a personal attack on the person but not addressing the argument
           Example: Judge Ginsbork says he will represent us well as a conservative Supreme Court Judge. This comes from
             the same man who smoked pot during his years at Harvard.

4. Appeal to Ignorance: "You can't prove you are right or I am wrong"- The speaker claims they are right because you can't prove they are wrong - usually ending with a question
           Example: Sure there’s life on other planets. You can’t prove there isn’t.

5. Leading Question: Asking a question to sway the listener toward a desired response or make him/her uncomfortable.  There is no right answer to a leading question, any answer will incriminate.
           Example: Talk show host to accused child abuser: “Which of your children did you abuse first – your son or your

6. Complex Question: A series of Leading Questions when only one answer is expected
           Example: Didn’t you run across campus yesterday? Haven’t you been on campus many nights before? Didn’t you
             paint the flagpole lavender? Answer me, “yes” or “no.”

7. Inconsequent Argument: Offering evidence or statistics not related to original argument
           Example: Ad: “University proves Grandmother’s Oats the best of all 14 leading cereals! Yes, we have the
             evidence. In a study of 14 nationally-known breakfast cereals, Grandmother’s Oats was first in protein. (See page
             163 of the March-April issue of Food Research, an official publication of the Institute of Food Tech­nologists.)”

8. Attacking a Straw Man: Interpreting someone's response to be something different; putting words in someone's mouth, arguing against a position that their opponent has not taken,
           Example: Joshua, you can’t be serious about allowing those kids to use our back lot to play ball. Next thing you 
             know, they will be messing around in our back yard and pestering us about drinks and bathroom privileges. How
             can you allow such intrusions?

9. Victory by Definition: The speaker can't be proven wrong because the counterexamples don't fit the "real" definition of what is being argued.  Original speaker is winning by redefining his original terms.
           Example: Teel: “These students seem to have some school spirit.”
           Beel: “Ah, yes, but when I said that students today don’t have any school spirit I was talking about genuine
              students, not these rah-rah boys.”

10. Begging the Question: Arguing in circles or restating the original argument itself
           Example: The proposed law will certainly reduce juvenile delinquency, because it provides steps which will   
             prevent crimes on the part of teenagers.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Propaganda - Section D

Section D: Techniques of Exploitation

0. No Technique

1. Appeal to Pity: "Help me or something bad will happen to me."
        Example: Student to teacher: “Please don’t give me an F! If I bring that home I’ll be grounded for a month and      might even lose my job. Please give me another chance!”

2. Appeal to Flattery: Unsolicited compliments to get someone to do something
       Example: Form letter received through the mail: “Because you are one of our most valued customers, we are sending you a 10 days’ trial of a new product we are introducing to the American market. If not satisfied, return after the trial period. If satisfied, kindly send payment.”

3. Appeal to Ridicule: Making fun of or joking about a person or thing
       Example: My worthy opponent says that he has gained valuable experience from his past campaigns. That’s true. He has gained a lot of experience – a lot of experience in losing.

4. Appeal to Prestige: Offering the listener a chance to be important or famous
       Example: Be the first kid on your block to play the new fun game Spaz!

5. Appeal to Prejudice: Trying to persuade someone to do something because of their background or beliefs
       Example: During a political campaign, a salesman made a point of wearing a Republican badge when calling on his Republican clients and a Democratic badge when calling on Democratic clients.

6. Bargain Appeal: Offering a chance at a good deal or to save money
       Example: There’s no need to shop around wasting gas, time, and money. Come to us for all your needs at the very lowest prices in town! The lowest prices anywhere.

7. Folksy Appeal: Trying to make the listener feel like you are just a "regular person"
       Example: Channel 8, your neighborhood station.

8. Join the Bandwagon: Do what everyone else is doing, because you don't want to be left out
        Example: Everywhere I look I see maxi-coats this winter. Dad, I’ve just GOT to have one.

9. Appeal to Practical Consequences: Trying to convince someone to do something to avoid unwanted consequences
        Example: Mother to Son: “John, if you don’t dry the dishes and put them away correctly, you will not go to the concert.”

10. Passing from the Acceptable to the Dubious: Beginning with acceptable statements, then switching to an unrelated statement or argument to get someone to do something
       Example: Stay healthy. Take mild exercise every day. Walk whenever possible. Eat balanced meals. Get restful sleep on ’Nities Sleep-well Mattress.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Propaganda -- Section C

A little something to keep you warm while you wait for school to re-open and AG practices to return:

Section C: Techniques of Irrelevance

0. No Technique

1. Appearance: Judging someone based on the way they look
       Example: That girl exchange student from Denmark is really a sharp dresser. I’ll bet she’s smart,  too.

2. Manner: Judging someone based on the way that they act
      Example: Melissa was bubbly and cool. She really handled those tough questions with confidence. She is a much  better candidate for the job than Sally, who was nervous and jittery.

3. Degrees and Titles: Using a degree or title of a speaker to impress the listeners
      Example: “I like the perfect fit, the luxurious feel, and inner warmth of my Brady’s Leather Jacket,” says Laura Stern, President of the American Dog-Breeders Association.

4. Numbers: Using numbers to make a point
         Example: Ad: “Use Galma-Mudd, the face cream preferred by eight out of ten women in the Cleveland area.”

5. Status: Using someone who is famous to endorse a product or support a position
      Example: You should take 500 milligrams of vitamin C every day. The Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling recommended vitamin C to prevent and cure the common cold.

6. Repetition: Using the same word, phrase or sound repeatedly to capture the attention of the listener
       Example: Wool carpet has everything that a carpet should have. Wool has a natural bounce in every fiber. Wool carpet has lasting beauty. Wool carpet has lasting color. Wool carpet resists flame. Wool carpet cleans easily. The answer is WOOL.

7. Slogans: Using a short, catchy phrase or sentence designed to be easily remembered by the general public
       Example: Ad: “Open your mind to the world. Select Netscape software for complete and total access to the entire World Wide Web.”

8. Technical Jargon: Using technical language to impress or confuse the listener
       Example: Ad: “This new dress from Janis Kaye’s Originals contains a new fabric, dureneum, which keeps the cloth from shrinking and resists dirt.

9. Sophistical Formula: Using an old saying or cliché as the main point in an argument
      Example: Let’s not give up. True, we have tried everything. We have telephoned; we have knocked on his door; we have written to him. And we have not yet received a cent from him. But “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Propaganda -- Section A

Happy New Year Everyone!

The last practice before break we started learning Propaganda by going over the techniques in Section A.  Below is a brief description of those techniques:

Section A: Techniques of Irrelevance
0. No Technique: No Propaganda is being used in the example, or Propaganda from another section is being used.

1. Prejudice: Judging someone based on their inclusion in a group.  Prejudice can be either for or against someone, and can stem from race, religion, sex, age, political affiliation, etc.
Example: Let’s invite David into our club, we need a Baptist member.

2. Academic Detachment: When faced with two options, speaker chooses neither options and instead does not make a decision.
Example: Both candidates have been throwing dirt at each other during the campaign, so I’m not going to vote for either of them.  I’m staying home.

3. Drawing the Line: When faced with a situation with multiple options, speaker reduces the choices to just two.
Example: We can either watch the Olympics, or we can watch the Food Network.  (there are no other viewing options?)
Hint - Listen for "choice" words like "either", "or".

4. Not Drawing the Ling: Speaker is faced with a limit, but chooses or asks to go past that limit (What’s one more?)
Example: I have been absent from school for ten days already.  What’s one more day?

5. Conservatism, Radicalism, Moderatism: Conservatism – Everything old is good; Radicalism – Everything new is good; Moderatism – Likes compromise
Examples: Conservatism – We’ve used these score sheets for every tournament for the last ten years, why change now?
Radicalism – We Democrats must take a fundamentally different approach from the agenda of the last 8 years.
Moderatism – Ad: Sealy Serta mattresses offer the perfect combination of mattress qualities.  They’re not too hard, not too soft.  They conform to fit your body.
Note - It is not necessary to indicate which of these three techniques is being used.

6. Rationalization: Making excuses for something that has already happened.  The speaker refuses to take responsibility for a mistake.
Example: There was no way for me to win the On Sets match.  The girl I was playing knew both of the judges.

7. Wishful Thinking: The speaker believes something to be true because they really want it to be true.
Example: I deserve a good grade because I put a lot of effort into studying.

8. Tabloid Thinking: Speaker reduces an entire group to a stereotype or applies a generalization about a group.
Example: Dave is a typical programmer – you know, thick glasses, pale, skinny, and hardly able to talk to a normal human being.
Note - Tabloid Thinking differs from Prejudice in that with Prejudice an action is suggested, whereas in Tabloid Thinking a stereotype is being used, but no action is advocated.

9. Causal Oversimplification: A complex event is explained by references to one or two causes.
Example: It’s easy to stop inflation, just get the Federal government to balance its budget.

10. Inconceivability: The speaker declares a position to be false because they can’t conceive of it being true.
Example: I just can’t understand why the students would go on strike.  If I were a student, I wouldn’t go on strike.