Engaging Electives at Rectory This Fall – Part III

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Engaging Electives at Rectory This Fall – Part III

Students practice their mountain-biking skills on an obstacle course created to prepare them for riding on the trails. (Photos taken by Mrs. Walsh of Rectory's Communications  Dept.)

Students practice their mountain-biking skills on an obstacle course created to prepare them for riding on the trails. (Photos taken by Mrs. Walsh of Rectory's Communications Dept.)

Students practice their mountain-biking skills on an obstacle course created to prepare them for riding on the trails. (Photos taken by Mrs. Walsh of Rectory's Communications Dept.)

Students practice their mountain-biking skills on an obstacle course created to prepare them for riding on the trails. (Photos taken by Mrs. Walsh of Rectory's Communications Dept.)

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The Elective block in the Rectory academic schedule is a time for students to enrich their experiences. Each term Rectory faculty offer a variety of interesting electives for students to participate in. There are classes about such topics as sign language, mountain biking, watercolor painting, newspaper, robotics, etc. Teachers present their electives to the student body at an all-school assembly, and students are assigned to one of their top three choices for the term. In the fall term, electives meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:15 am to 10:15 am. The DiRectory reporters have put together a series of articles with brief descriptions and photos of each of the fall 2018/2019 electives, along with the names of the teachers who taught them (in parentheses), to give you a glimpse of what our students are learning in addition to their academic courses. Several of our student reporters wrote about one or more of these electives. Here is Part III in our series, written by Daphne L. and Julianne J.

Mountain Biking (Mr. Laperle and Mr. Smith) by Daphne L.:

Mountain biking was a new elective at Rectory last year (2017/18). Mr. Laperle, Rectory’s Athletic Trainer, is in charge of this elective. Last year’s elective group cleared many trails so this year’s group could focus more on riding and equipment maintenance. In addition to learning how to ride, students in this elective also learn how to properly maintain the bikes and how to repair any broken parts. An obstacle course is set up at the beginning of the term to teach students basic mountain biking skills. Practicing on this obstacle course gets them prepared for when they ride in the woods.

Mr. Laperle is passionate about bike riding and wanted to incorporate biking into his daily job at Rectory. A student requested a mountain biking elective, and the teachers agreed it would be a valuable and exciting elective. Thankfully, a Rectory parent donated mountain bikes to the school, which helped get this elective off the ground — no pun intended.

There were 13 students in this elective this past fall, and they seemed to enjoy it, especially on days when the weather was good, and they could “hit the trails.” One member of the group enthusiastically stated, “I like going on the trails and being outdoors.” The mountain biking elective is a good way of exposing students to biking and outdoor exercise, as well as teaching them the importance of maintaining our parks and recreational sites for such activities.

Songwriting (Mrs. Sangiolo and Mr. Bryant) by Daphne L.:

Mrs. Sangiolo is a tutor at Rectory School; she is also a singer/songwriter, and she plays the guitar. She’s been a songwriter for almost thirty years, and she wanted to share her passion for music with Rectory students, so she organized the Songwriting elective. This is the second year that she has taught this elective. Rectory’s chaplain, Mr. Bryant, assists Mrs. Sangiolo with this elective, as he is also a musician; he plays the guitar and sings, as well.

Mrs. Sangiolo uses songwriting as a way of teaching students about writing and poetry. During this elective, Mrs. Sangiolo teaches the students about the songwriting process; students learn the components of a song and how to write a song by analyzing other songs. When asked if students need to have prior musical knowledge to join this elective, Mrs. Sangiolo said, “There’s no need for students to have prior musical knowledge, but they have to enjoy being creative.” In fact, Mrs. Sangiolo said her favorite part of songwriting is the creative process, and she gets a big kick out of seeing how the students’ personalities influence their writing.

This year’s group of students in the Songwriting elective have been given the task of composing two songs for Rectory’s centennial celebration in the year 2020. To accomplish this task, Mrs. Sangiolo divided the students into two groups; each group was given a different theme to use for the song they would write. One group’s theme was “a ballad written to the tune of a country song”; the other group was charged with writing a hip-hop song. We have not yet heard their final compositions, but we are anxious to hear the songs that the students created. Stay tuned, as we just might add a video of the students singing their own songs!

Math Club Elective (Mr. Vollinger) by Julianne J.:

The Math Club elective was new at Rectory this fall (2018/19). This elective sounds simple because it is just math, but everyone who joined worked very hard and put a lot of effort into solving the variety of math problems they were given by their teacher, Mr. Vollinger. The students worked very well as a group, and they enjoy doing math a lot. They helped each other out by discussing the math problems and teaching others who did not understand how to solve a particular problem. The students in this elective made tutorial websites, in which they explained how to solve the math problems. All of their work was done to prepare for math competitions, such as the AMC 8, AMC 10, and the MOAA. When there was no upcoming math competition, the students worked on their own math assignments for their classes. They all agreed that they learned a lot from the Math Club elective this year.

Mr. Vollinger decided to teach the Math Club elective because math is one of his favorite pastimes (Really?), and he also loves teaching students math. Thus, he had a lot of passion for creating this math elective and for keeping it interesting and fun, while also preparing his students to do well in the math competitions they had entered. He said he will continue to teach this elective, as long as there are students interested in it. Even though most of the students who joined this elective will graduate this spring, those who are staying at Rectory say they will definitely choose this elective next year.

Do you think you’d be interested in joining the Math Club elective next year?  Try to solve this problem to see if you have what it takes:

Problem: Tom has twelve slips of paper which he wants to put into five cups labeled A, B, C, D, and E. He wants the sum of the numbers on the slips in each cup to be an integer. Furthermore, he wants the five integers to be consecutive and increasing from A to E. The numbers on the papers are 2, 2, 2, 2.5, 2.5, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3.5, 4 and 4.5. If a slip with 2 goes into cup E, and a slip with 3 goes into cup B, then the slip with 3.5 must go into what cup?

          (A) A, (B) B, (C) C, (D) D, (E) E

Did you get it right? See the solution below!


The numbers have a sum of 6 + 5 + 12 + 4 + 8 = 35, which averages to 7. This means A, B, C, D, E will have the values 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, respectively. Now it’s process of elimination: Cup A will have a sum of 5, so putting a 3.5 slip in the cup will leave 5 – 3.5 = 1.5; However, all of our slips are bigger than 1.5, so this is impossible. Cup B has a sum of 6, but we are told that it already has a 3 slip, leaving
6 – 3 = 3, which is too small for the 3.5 slip. Cup C is a little bit trickier, but still manageable. It must have a value of 7, so adding the 3.5 slip leaves room for 7 – 3.5 = 3.5. This looks good at first, as we do have slips smaller than that, but upon closer inspection, we see that no slip fits exactly, and the smallest sum of two slips is 2 + 2 = 4, which is too big, so this case is also impossible. Cup E has a sum of 9, but we are told it already has a 2 slip in it, so we are left with 9 – 2 = 7, which is identical to the Cup C case, and thus also impossible. With all other choices removed, we are left with the answer: Cup (D) D

(source: https://artofproblemsolving.com/wiki/index.php?title=2015_AMC_8_Problems/Problem_23)