Pierce Pioneer

Things to Do This Summer

Kids Need to Play

A new summer program provided for children interested in the STEM field


Starting this summer is a federally funded program called Kids Need to Play, where kids can learn, create and have fun using science. Kids Need to Play will provide opportunities like learning about new things within the STEM field such as animals or creating robots; there are even events for gaming, all for ages between 6-14.


This is an opportunity for children to get up and stretch their legs and learn to create something new. This program is also not worth a grade, it’s just for those interested in robotics and science. There are different camps for different ages, but spots are filling up fast.


Each day there are different events. On July 6-9 at 9:00 a.m. to noon the Snapology Jr. Scientist: All About Animals STEM camp will be held. Kids aged 4-6 can go and learn how caterpillars become butterflies. Children can also analyze how butterflies get to where they are and examine their cycle


For older kids, there is Game Bots robotics on July 6-9 at 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. in the same place. But this time the event is for kids 7-14, where kids who like to play games online get to build a game. Game Bots robotics will allow preteens to see how games are made and learn all the math needed in order to make games.


Another robotics camp is about building the strongest combat robot that can fight other robots built. Kids not only have to focus on building the coolest one, but also what makes a robot work. This will help kids look at the bigger picture and learn to use lab resources. 

Sign up for this opportunity by visiting their website to learn more about Kids Need To Play.

A potential summer of low air quality

Helpful advice on how Washingtonians can prepare for the upcoming wildfires and poor air quality to come

With a rainy winter behind us and a hot and dry summer ahead of us, it’s likely to expect that we’ll soon be entering smoke season, a time of year when the air quality becomes poor and forested areas more susceptible to wildfires. Below is all you need to know about the side effects of smoke season and how to best prepare yourself and your home this summer.

The first and most important thing about smoke season that people should know about are the health risks. Smoke inhalation is naturally bad for people’s skin, heart and lungs. But for those more vulnerable to COVID-19, or those recovering from it, smoke can be much more dangerous. According to the USDA, wildfires and COVID-19 cases overlap.

“Exposure to air pollutants in wildfire smoke can irritate the lungs, cause inflammation, alter immune function, and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections, likely including COVID-19,” USDA stated. To ensure you and your family stay safe, wear cloth masks outside and stay indoors when the air quality is poor.

In terms of preserving good indoor air quality, Public Health Insider advises keeping windows and doors closed and avoiding burning candles or smoking or vacuuming inside. PHI also adds that air filters such as HVAC systems or portable air cleaners can improve air quality throughout your home rather than just a single room.

Finally, remember to clear out any dried bramble or foliage around your house to reduce the risk of brush fires in your immediate area, and keep fire-resistant tools and equipment nearby. Talk with your family and keep an eye out for updates on weather and remember to stay safe!

Summer elevating wildfire concerns

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources and their partners are taking measures to urge Washingtonians to take proper precaution against wildfires. The caution is being led by raising fire danger ratings and making Washingtonians aware the danger could have a longer reach this summer.

“This is no longer just an eastern Washington issue,” said Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “Wherever you live in Washington State you are at risk of wildfires.”

In the month of April, the state had over 220 wildfires in comparison to last April with 160. According to the DNR, 80%-90% of fires are caused by people.

As the statewide drought continues, the more rapid the fire season timelines progress. Practicing safety and care to not cause a spark during recreational times or while doing yard work is best to avoid starting an accidental fire.

DNR saw hotter and drier temperatures along with the drought forecast and saw hotter and dryer landscapes throughout the state. This puts more homes at risk.

Debris-pile burns in April were seen to have been the cause of most fires. DNR suggests residents build a wildfire defensible space around their homes.

The urgency from DNR is for Washingtonians to take time and help their families be safe. Residents can find fire danger ratings for their areas and wildfire prevention and preparedness online at the DNR website.

Math pathways get a makeover


Xanet Li studies for his tests in the Rainier Building

Xanet Li studies for his tests in the Rainier Building
Xanet Li studies for his tests in the Rainier Building

Calculated changes are coming to current math curriculums

Cameron Cyprain Staff Writer

This summer quarter, rearrangements will be made to the current math course sequences. The changes would affect what are more commonly known as ‘pathways’ on the Fort Steilacoom, Puyallup, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord campuses

Statistics on Pierce from the Achieving the Dream (ATD) National Reform Network indicated that student success rates in math courses have steadily declined over the years. Planned restructurings for current math curriculums are meant to address this issue.

As part of the new outlook for math pathways, certain courses, or elements of them, will be consolidated into others for efficiency. For example, there will be no more Math 60 starting summer quarter because it will become part of Math 54 (beginning algebra).

“We offered a prototype of the [latter] course last summer,” Sharon Camner, math professor and member of the planning team making the course changes, said. “At first, we thought we were just going to rearrange a few things,” she said, “but the administration was really supportive in terms of funding and giving us the time to organize and plan the new changes.”

“What we noticed is that if you just offer a string of remedial courses, it’s not very effective,” Rajesh Lal, another math instructor on the planning team, said.

The revised pathway is to include a more comprehensive track with Math 50 (basic math), 54 (beginning algebra), and 96 (intermediate algebra in context). “The goal was to achieve efficiency while also achieving success,” Camner said.

From there, students could opt for one of two tracks. The first one includes Math 107 (math in society), 146 (statistics), and 131 (math for elementary education).

The second pathway will include Math 98 (intermediate algebra for pre-calculus), a lead in to 141 (pre-calculus), 147 (business pre-calculus).

One innovation to the new set of courses involves themes, which are based on real-life scenarios. The scenarios, which involve citizenship (proportional reasoning, assessing variables), personal finance (taxes, budgeting), and medical literacy (measuring blood alcohol averages), will be used to help students grasp difficult to learn concepts. “I wish I had this when I was in college,” Lal said.

Though most degree and certificate programs require some amount of college level arithmetic, choosing to enroll in such classes can be daunting for students who struggle with math.

A major concern shared by instructors, advisors, and other faculty members is with students who, due to a lack of academic preparation, waste time and money repeatedly failing their math courses.

Camner and Lal have discussed modifying the math pathways for several quarters now, making it clear that what they would like to see is dedication coupled with a solid plan to succeed at math. “I call it productive persistence: tenacity: having the will to try it again while also having a strategy,” Camner said.

Make a Day of Seattle

Kristoffer Hayward
Staff Writer

Not everyone is heading away from home for vacation and, for about 75 dollars; it won’t be necessary thanks to the Seattle City Pass.

The Seattle City Pass is a special ticket that allows the ticket holder to visit six of the seven top attractions in Seattle. The Space Needle, the Seattle aquarium, the Pacific science center, an argosy boat tour, The EMP music museum, the museum of flight or the Woodland Park Zoo.

Separately the bundle could cost someone 114 dollars, meaning the pass saves 40 dollars per person. The pass doesn’t have a standard expiration date, but does say that the pass will only be valid for nine days after the first exhibit is paid for.

The Space Needle offers a unique view over all of Seattle, allowing visitors to spot ferries, duck boats, the pier Ferris wheel, and the news stations from the sky deck. The deck also holds an exceptional restaurant that slowly turns to give a rotating view of the city, though the prices are sky high as well.

The pacific science center has various fun activates and information related to science, but it also houses a gigantic IMAX screen. People who purchase the city pass also have free admission to a movie included.

The aquarium is one of the pricier exhibits in the roster, given that they provide the hour long ferry tour on top of admission. The aquarium boasts exhibits about orcas, sea mammals, sharks and the Puget Sound.

The EMP museum is mostly known for the science fiction and the music aspect of their exhibits, but currently they’re tackling the realm of high fantasy. Overall the museum feels sort of quirky and fun in the same way as the pacific science center does with its science exhibits.

Either the Woodland Park Zoo or the Museum of flight, whichever suits the pass holder. The Zoo might go well with the aquarium with younger kids while the museum of flight might interest teens more, depending on interests. Both places offer a good deal of specialized and memorable content.


Movies to check out this summer

Valerie Ettenhofer

The most frequent complaint from casual summer moviegoers is that everything has been done before. At first glance, it seems that every new blockbuster is a knockoff of an earlier film. Yet one genre is bucking the trend.

This summer will deliver three major superhero flicks, each with a new take on an old tale.

The first genuine hit of the season assembled some of the best fictional heroes in history and has over $500 million to show for it. Marvel’s The Avengers satisfyingly juggles action and emotion.

It does hinge on some worn plot points, with the freedom-threatening villain, Loki pitted against characters like old-fashioned mascot, Captain America.

However, it gets a boost by developing minor screen characters and adding quick-witted dialogue to intricate action sequences. Together, this creates one of the most propulsive and fun movies in recent history.

The Amazing-Spider Man is the second hero tent pole of summer, and has spiked water cooler debate merely by existing.

Many who have caught the first trailers claim that the franchise is too new to remake, with Toby Maguire’s last Spiderman film in 2007.

If a new cast and director makes comic fans bristle, then a story line sending Peter Parker back to his roots may set them at ease.

This movie focuses on Peter’s high school girlfriend, his father’s mysterious past, and a villain unfamiliar to previous movie fans.

Executives have even shared that, as in the comics, Peter will use a mechanical web shooter that gives his superhuman character some very human limitations.

Overall, the film appears to be trading in the accepted glossy action formula and embracing its humanity for a more emotional saga than previously seen.

Perhaps the most complex and highly anticipated movie of the year, The Dark Knight Rises promises to bring a fitting end to Christopher Nolan’s masterful trilogy.

Bruce Wayne is now a weary superhero forced out of retirement to take down the criminal, Bane. Joining him are Catwoman and many ambiguous new characters.

The eerie trailer reinforces what was only hinted at when the series was rebooted in 2005; that this story is a whole different breed than any superhero flick moviegoers expect.

These films are a genre-transcendent, darkly allegorical vision of a city plagued with ethical dilemmas and power struggles
not too different from our own.

One could claim that Batman has the least original of any plot this summer.

In essence, it’s a battle between good and evil. Yet in a way unique to itself, it’s guaranteed to make us as viewers define those terms.

Eight awesome things to do this summer

Courtesy Photo/ djc.com


1. Seattle International Film Festival
When: Through June 12, 2012 – Various Locations throughout Seattle Washington
What: The 38th Annual Seattle Film Festival promises to be an exciting viewing event. Experience 25 days of intense film viewing where you can indulge in every type of cinema from the US & around the world. From famous Directors to Independent Filmmakers, more than 300 works will showcase.
Where: Screenings, Panels, and Workshops will be held at several venues including The Egyptian,
Harvard Exit, AMC Pacific Place 11 Theaters, Broadway Performance Hall, Cinerama, and The Paramount Theatre.

2. Seafair
June 20 – August 5, 2012
For over half a Century in Seattle Seafair has been an annual tradition for both locals & visitors alike. Celebrated for just over a month, Seafair Seattle is the largest Festival in the Northwest and is rated one of the Top 10 Events in the Country.
There’s always something for everyone at
Seafair Seattle from Arts & Crafts to live Music, huge Parades, Triathlons, and more! Major Events include the Milk Carton Derby,
Torchlight Run & Parade, the Key Bank Air Show featuring the famous Blue Angels, and The General
Motors Cup Unlimited Hydroplane Races held on beautiful Lake Washington.
Where: Throughout the Seattle area.

3. Seattle Pride Festival
When: June 24, 2012
What: On June 24, 2012 over 200,000 people will gather in Seattle top attend the annual Seattle Pride Celebration for the rallies and fun vendors. Over the years the Seattle Pride Celebration has become one of the city’s largest annual events. In 2010, nearly 152 Contingents Marched as Seattle Pride drew an estimated 230,000 Spectators to the Parade. Participants come from the greater Seattle area, around the State, and beyond.
Where: Seattle Center – Downtown Seattle Washington

4. Bumbershoot
When: September 1-3, 2012
What: Bumbershoot Seattle is a huge 3-day party that celebrates the end of Summer with a really spectacular showcase with more than 2,500 Artists displaying their Eclectic and Cultural Masterpieces from all over the world. Seattle Center plays host to this year’s
Bumbershoot Festival, creating a 74 acre playground where folks can celebrate all of the festivities. You can enjoy a world-class Film Festival, learn some new dance steps, rub shoulders with renowned
Authors and Artists, or just sit-back on the side-lines and enjoy one the fun Parades. Bumbershoot 2012 line up includes Janes Addiction, Skrillex, Gotye, Tony Bennett, The Vaselines, M83,
Passion Pit, Keane, Mac Miller, Big Sean, Mudhoney, Missy Higgins, Yelawolf, The Helio Sequence, and much more.
Where: Seattle Center – Downtown Seattle Washington

5. Seattle International Beer-Fest
When: July 6-8, 2012
Hours: Friday 12 PM – 10 PM; Saturday 12 PM – 10 PM; Sunday 12 PM – 7 PM.
Admission is $25-$35, which includes a glass and 10 beer tickets.
What: Celebrating the world’s most legendary brewing styles and the nations that made them famous. Come taste over 130 world-class beers from more than 15 countries.
Where: Seattle Center – Downtown Seattle Washington

6. Seattle Music Festival
When: August 10-12
Hours: Friday 4 PM – 9:30 PM; Saturday 11 AM – 9:30 PM; Sunday 11 AM – 9:30 PM.
What: Seattle Music Fest is now celebrating it’s 11th Year of becoming one of Seattle’s most-famous Alternative Rock Festivals, attracting thousands of people to beautiful Alki Beach every year. Proceeds benefit Northwest Programs For The Arts, which supports developing music and visual artists from the region. Past performances include Willis, Red Velvet Relief, Adam Sheridan and Glimmer.
This year’s Seattle Music Festival will feature over 17 Regional & National emerging artists.
Where: Alki Beach – West Seattle Washington

7. Concerts
Need a place to spend your summer? Somewhere close to home? There are lots of concerts you can hit up this summer, whether it be at El Corazon, or the Showbox!
STRYPER Sunday, June 3, 2012 8:00 PM at El Corazon
HelloGoodbye July 21, Saturday, 7:30 at El Coraon
The Maine 6/2 Saturday 6:00 pm, the Showbox at the Market in Seattle, WA
The Used 6/10 Sunday 7:00 PM, the Showbox at the Market in Seattle, WA
The Temper Trap 6/18 Monday 7:00 PM, the Showbox at the Market in Seattle, WA
Foster the People 6/26 Tuesday 8:00 PM Wamu Theater At Century Link Field Event Center in Seattle, WA
Motley Crue/KISS 8/18 Saturday, White River Amphitheater in Auburn, WA

8. Summer Blockbusters
Sometimes it’s nice to escape to a nice, cool movie theater during the summer to escape from the heat! Luckily there are several Summer
Blockbusters that are scheduled to come out for 2012.
Prometheus – June 8
Rock of Ages – 15
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – June 22
Brave – June 22
Ted – June 29
The Amazing Spider-Man – July 3
The Dark Knight Rises – July 20
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days – August 3

The Avengers

Staff Photo/Ashley DixonThis five-star movie impresses audiences and leaves them wanting more

Ashley Dixon
Staff Writer

Marvel studios presents “The Avengers” – a film that has been shrouded in whispers and rumors since Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) informed Tony Stark (Robert Downey  Jr.) about the “avengers initiative” at the end of “Iron Man” in 2008.

Not only is the film every comic-book lovers ultimate fantasy come to life, it is also a superb “lm that is jam-packed with thrilling action and witty dialogue from all eight of the film’s main stars.

All the praise goes straight to director Joss Whedon and producer Kevin Fiege, who presented all six Avengers to fans perfectly. Whedon’s direction is unparalleled, as each superhero’s personality is developed through rough and tumble action sequences as well as clever and humorous dialogue.

Since 2008’s “Iron Man” we have seen little about the characters origins appeal left and right from Marvel studios, prepping expectant fans for “The Avengers.”

The Marvel Movie Universe team has taken core elements from the original 1960’s comic books and sent their ideas down to the 2000’s Ultimate Universe story line, while flirting with J. Michael Straczynski’s recent story line of Thor.

Fortunately, Whedon and Fiege, as well as writer Zak Penn, all understand the comics and the beloved characters as well as understanding the film and what changes need to be made in order for everything to flow in a concise way.

Marvel’s editor in chief, Joe Quesada, was brought in to oversee production and writing in the early stages. Avengers cocreator Stan Lee was also brought in to oversee production.

The premise of the film is fixed around six superheroes, who must be rallied together by S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Jackson) after Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) evil and mischievous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) steals the tesseract (a self-sustaining, unlimited energy source) with plans on using it to open a portal to space, unleashing his army that will win him the earth.

While some are reluctant, eventually all Avengers are united, with the exception of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) who was taken by Loki as a prisoner.

When first assembled, it’s chaos. Iron Man (Downey) and Captain America (Chris Evans) continuously butt heads, Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) focuses on the whereabouts of Hawkeye and has an unforgettable showdown with Loki.

Mark Ruffalo steals the show as Dr. Bruce Banner, who was originally brought aboard to aid in the search for the tesseract.

He brings a level of sympathy to the character that has been lacking in past films and when the brutish CGI Hulk is finally unleashed, the audience is left to cower in fear.

Action sequences were held at incredibly high expectations for this film and none failed to disappoint. The brawl between Iron Man and Thor is full of macho combat and clever one-liners.

However the confrontation between the Hulk and Loki may perhaps be the best brawl ever captured on film.

The final battle that takes place in the streets of New York is heroic and dripping with excitement as the Avengers battle Loki and his alien army called the Chituari.

The witty banter, unbelievable special effects and fast-paced action sequences make this film one of the best that has been released in a while, as evident with its record-breaking $207 million income at the box office opening weekend.

Ultimately, the star-studded, highly anticipated flick lives up to all the hype that has been surrounding it.

Both fans and non-fans will have no qualms in the film, and the two post credit scenes have left audiences ever hopeful for a sequel. That will be no easy feat, as it will be incredibly hard to top a movie so great as this.

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