Posted by Paul Groves on July 11, 2017

APSI in West Vancouver, BC, Canada


I flew into the Vancouver airport and was impressed with the beautiful design and native art. We had to go through customs, but much of the work is done at a kiosk now, so the process was painless. I took a long cab ride to my hotel. I’m in West Vancouver on the North Shore to work with a nice group of AP chemistry teachers at an APSI (Advanced Placement Summer Institute). From my hotel window I have a wonderful view of the water and across the water I can see the “five sails” building where cruise ships are loading up and unloading… probably for the Alaskan cruises. The hotel is close to some shops on the Quay. One shop sells VERY fresh fish. I also had an opportunity to eat Cheese Crunchies, a local snack. They are like cheese curls but with more crunch. Yum.

We are picked up at the hotel by a school bus. I had a great first day at the APSI and came back to the Lonsdale Quay Market where I saw these beautiful rainbow roses and had a delicious fish and chips dinner. After that it was back to the room to work on my UCLA Online course and make this post.

Posted by Paul Groves on June 12, 2017

Will Geer Theater


A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We visited Theatricum Botanicum, an outdoor theater in the hills above Topanga Canyon about 40 minutes from our home, west of Los Angeles. We saw a nice production of the Shakespeare play. This theater was built on land owned by Will Geer, best known as Grandpa on The Waltons.

Posted by Paul Groves on June 10, 2017

We Did It!!!


Day 7 of the AP Chemistry Reading and we are finished! Figuring the number of tests with seven questions on each exam, as a group we scored 1,117,592 questions over the past seven days!!!

The exams are packed and probably on their way back to ETS in New Jersey already. Our fearless leader, Roger Kugel, has finished his four year stint as Chief Reader and will be able to relax a little more. He is holding a silver engraved beer stein as a token of our esteem. Roger is calm, a good listener, and a very hard worker. He made the job of Chief Reader look easy when we all know it is not.

As a Question Leader, I have been here in Salt Lake City for several days before the Reading began (12 days total), so it will be great to get back home with the feeling of a job well done on a task worth doing. Students will never know how hard we work to make sure that they are credited with every point they earned on the Advanced Placement chemistry exams.

Posted by Paul Groves on June 9, 2017

Salt Lake City Tour



At the end of Day 6 of the AP Chemistry Reading, a bunch of us boarded the Hop-On Hop-Off bus for a special after-hours tour of Salt Lake City. Usually the bus tours end around 3:00 p.m., but the company put together a special bus for us. We got to see many of the sites around the city and up into the hills that are not readily accessible for those of us who are on foot.

We started off at the Salt Palace, which also houses the SLC Visitors Center. It was an open-air, double-decker bus and, of course, we all rode up top. We saw the characteristic Salt Palace Towers, the urban art piece, “Point of View” and then went around the corner to the Mormon Temple with its tall spires and gold statue at the top. We proceeded around the local area for awhile looking at the interesting architecture and slowing down a little to see various churches, the capital building, and a couple of interesting houses. I must admit that I was not planning on remembering any of the names, so I just enjoyed the ride and the interesting sights.


We did drive way up into the hills above the city where the University of Utah is located. We passed the football stadium, the basketball stadium where Magic Johnson played Larry Bird (boy, was that along time ago). My favorite part was getting up to about an elevation of 5230 feet above sea level where we could see the Great Salt Lake off in the distance as a tiny horizontal streak of white. Apparently, the whole valley before us used to be covered in water, the Bonneville Lake. All of the trees in the Salt Lake Valley had to be brought in… all that was growing natively was sage brush and grasses. Our bus driver came up on top a few times to tell us about everything. He is a native of the area for several generations and is familiar with the area. Very interesting.

Some of my favorite sights were the deer family and tiny Pony Express station where a rider would switch horses and continue on his way through Utah. Above one of the streets in town is an eagle standing on a beehive. Utah is the “beehive state” because bees are so industrious. The manhole covers are also decorated with beehives. All in all, it was a fun tour.

Posted by Paul Groves on June 4, 2017

Donut Falls, Utah


After scoring AP chemistry papers all day, five of us hopped in a rental car and drove up into the mountain ski areas to the trailhead for Donut Falls. The spruce, birch, and aspen trees were beautiful, but the hike had some very steep climbs that I found pretty challenging. Of course, there were others on the trail like little kids and young moms carrying their babies that made me feel pretty old, but that is life. When we got high enough, there is a place where the rushing water disappears down a circular hole, thus the name Donut Falls. You can see the hole over my shoulder. The tall picture of the falls is from the front and the donut is at the very top of the picture. Armando, Peter, Beth, and Russ are the other four chemists on the hike. We saw a big moose as we were heading back to the main road. Cool!