Tag Archives: chance

RCHS statistics students asked to design a game of chance

Senior Irina Onisko and Junior Alyssa Gonzalez present their casino game “Saxy Fever” which required players to spin a wheel, and if the spinner didn’t land on the instrument that was betted on, there was an option to throw a ping pong ball into the bell of a saxophone in order to win their bet back. (By Rebecca Schwartz, RCHS Journalism Class)

Senior Irina Onisko and Junior Alyssa Gonzalez present their casino game “Saxy Fever” which required players to spin a wheel, and if the spinner didn’t land on the instrument that was betted on, there was an option to throw a ping pong ball into the bell of a saxophone in order to win their bet back. (By Rebecca Schwartz, RCHS Journalism Class)

NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 12, 2014 —

By Rebecca Schwartz
River City High School Journalism Class

Every year since he had begun teaching at River City High School, statistics teacher James Colligan, has put on a ‘Casino Day’ where students used the practical skills of the lessons that he has taught them to design a casino game that will make them a profit.

Jane Griblin, a senior who built a spinner game called “Wheel of Wonderland” said, “I thought it was really fun and it was a good experience to make your own game and do the statistics part of it and see how much you could… Rig people, I guess.”

Monday, November 3rd, was biannual Casino Day. During his 1st, 3rd, and 4th period students from other classes, as well as teachers came in and played the carefully crafted games that were designed to entice students and teachers who don’t know statistics into gambling their fake money- The catch was that the house had to always win.

Colligan has been doing this project every year he’s been teaching. He had learned it from his own high school statistics teacher, who he is still in contact with. With the recent push for more hands on activities in English and Math classrooms, this project fits well into the Common Core framework.

“Common core is, most importantly, about using critical thinking skills to apply mathematical reasoning to the ‘real world’ and I think if you’re going to teach kids about probability the most interesting things you can do is to gamble,” says Colligan.

The games were varied from spinners to games that required physical activities on the part of the player, like tossing balls and flipping coins.

Shabnam Hassan, a junior who played during first period said, “I didn’t really care about the money, I just wanted to have fun… I don’t like gambling, it’s fun. It’s addicting, but it’s not good.”

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Police dogs to compete in West Sac

Sacramento police dog "Bodie" latches onto an officer's decoy training sleeve during a training exercise last week in Discovery Park. West Sacramento's two K-9 teams join other teams in the Sacramento region for regular training, both in West Sacramento and in other parts of the region. They train both outdoors and inside structures. Photo by ERIC HARDING, www.ebharding.com


JUNE 15, 2011

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento police dogs “Zar” and “Chance” will have a chance to show off their skills in competition on Saturday, and you’re invited to watch.

West Sacramento K-9 officer Roger Kinney (Zar’s partner) is chief organizer of the “2011 Lawdogs Challenge,” to be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at River City High. Those who show up around 11-1 can check out demonstrations from local firefighters and SWAT teams (including a “Peacekeeper” armored vehicle) as well as U.S. Marine vehicles. A veterinary doctor can answer your questions about dog health. The “protection” element of the day’s dog team competition is scheduled for about 12:30-1.

Kinney and fellow West Sac K-9 officer Dave Stallions are part of the squad that is setting up the competition, so they will only enter the events unofficially. But visiting teams from all over will face a variety of challenges, beginning with a closed event on Friday evening.

The Friday night part of the competition will test the ability of trained dogs to find hidden narcotics.

“We’re going to have basically a Greyhound bus with five ‘finds’ hidden on it, and each dog will have to find all five finds within a time limit,” said Kinney.


Officer Roger Kinney with his partner Zar (at left), and Officer Dave Stallions with Chance Photo by ERIC HARDING

Saturday will find the dogs and their human partners dealing with other challenges, like obstacle courses and protection from foam-padded “bad guys.”

“There are things the dogs will have to go through and jump over,” said Kinney. “They’re judged not only on whether they do it, which they should, but whether they touch equipment they’re not supposed to.”

And there may be some intentional distractions during the competition, designed to test the dogs’ discipline and concentration.

Zar – Kinney’s canine partner – is smaller than some people would expect.

“Zar is a five-year old Dutch Shepherd,” said Kinney. “A lady in Hollywood bought him when he was three months old, and he kept nipping her. So she had him neutered, but he still nipped, and she decided she couldn’t keep him. But he passed all 13 of our tests.”

Being a K-9 officer is a responsibility that doesn’t end when the team’s shift comes to a conclusion.

“He lives at home, hangs out on my couch, plays with my kids – he’s probably the best-disposed animal of the 24 dogs we train with,” Kinney told the News-Ledger.

When triggered, he can be “leaning out the car window snarling and frothing at the mouth,” said Kinney, but when gently introduced to strangers – including classrooms full of kids – “he often rolls over on his back.”

“After meeting him, people often ask, ‘are you sure he’s a police dog?” said Kinney.

But Zar is smart and may live longer than some of his larger cousins such as German shepherds. And he has a lot of presence for a 55-pounder.

“He had one (suspect) try to crush his head and another was beating him with a stick – it tore off his dew claw and opened his head. It looked real bad, but he was all right. Afterward, the guy was saying that this must have been a 110-pound dog.”

Zar is trained to find hiding suspects, drugs,  and anything that people have recently dropped.

Once, last year, a fleeing suspect jumped into a West Sacramento waterway trying to escape, and Zar was turned loose to find the man. Zar was seen swimming with something with a “Batman” emblem in his mouth. Kinney thought the dog was shirking his duty, and told him to get back to work. Zar picked up the item again. It turned out that Zar had latched on to the Batman-style underwear worn by the deceased suspect, who was just underwater. The man had apparently broken his neck diving into shallow water.

Sacramento police officer Steve Thomsen has a word with his dog, "Crash." Police dogs are owned by the police agency, but cared for by their human partners. Some jurisdictions -- like West Sacramento -- have made it legal for an injured police dog to be transported to a veterinary facility by local ambulance. Photo by ERIC HARDING

The other local police dog, “Chance,” is specially trained to find explosives with partner Dave Stallions.

The group regularly trains with other regional K-9 teams, practicing their skills in parks and buildings around the Sacramento area.

You can find more information on the local K-9 squad at www.wsk9.org or on Facebook.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2011