In order to provide a complete education for our students, we believe that is important to expose our students to cultural experiences outside the confines of the school building. For example, on September 18th a group of WHSAD’s sophomores attended a play entitled The Machine at the Park Avenue Armory. A partner that has provided many of the cultural experiences that our students have participated in, The Park Avenue Armory also couples their performances with student “pre-show workshops” designed to create a deeper understanding of the artistic and historical value of each performance. In addition, as part of the Armory’s Youth Corps program many of WHSAD’s students have gained career experience with paid jobs in which our students have the opportunity to work on shows and student workshops.
Below is text from the signs that were used during the “pre-show experience” for students as part of The Machine. Several of WHSAD’s students who are currently in the Youth Corps program contributed heavily to the design of the “pre-show experience”. In short, over 300 students from schools around New York City came to the Armory for this “pre-show experience”, had lunch, played chess, and saw the matinee performance.
The Machine Pre-Show Experience for Students: Youth Corps Project
This project was completed by our Youth Corps interns as part of their comprehensive culminating project. Teamed with an Armory teaching artist, the Youth Corps was tasked with helping to create a pre-show experience for the 200 middle and high school students that are seeing today’s matinee performance of The Machine.
After completing extensive research (including sending two Youth Corps Student Advisors to Manchester International Festival to preview the production), the Youth Corps created the two interactive timelines with the idea that are displayed in the hallway. One timeline chronicles Garry Kasparov and the other Deep Blue. With handcrafted chess boards, the timeline includes various events, facts, prompts, activities and these four short video clips.
The Youth Corps also built and programmed their own robots, which are also displayed today in the Field & Staff room.
Park Avenue Armory Youth Corps offers paid, mentored internships to students from the Armory’s New York City public school partners. While part of the Youth Corps, participants complete a term project, assist in planning educational programming for other students and families, serve as ushers for the Armory’s artistic programs and assist staff with administrative duties.
Deep Blue, Garry Kasparov’s digital adversary in the 1997 match, was programmed by Dr. Hsu with the sole aim of defeating the World Champion at chess.
To better understand how difficult programming can be, the Park Avenue Armory Youth Corps built coffee-can robots powered by Arduino chipsets, a small and relatively simple computer brain that may be programmed with basic commands. The robots have photosensitive panels capable of detecting light, mounted LED bulbs capable of emitting light, and were programmed to pursue any light the robot detects.
The wiring and programming of the robots (not to mention their actual construction) was a huge challenge, and showed the interns how hard humans have to work to program even the simplest computer.
This interactive timeline chronicles the lives of chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue programmer Dr. Hsu leading up to the iconic 1997 match depicted in The Machine. The points on the timeline include facts about the lives of these individuals as well as video showing key moments in their journeys towards each other.
Just like the match, the timeline is divided into two sides- Kasparov v. Deep Blue.
The chessboards that display each milestone were hand-built by the Park Avenue Armory Youth Corps, further illustrating how difficult it is for a human to be as precise as a machine.
If you want to participate in the “Your Move” stations, head into the Library.
If you would like to watch all of the video stations in one place, head into the Outer Committee Room.
“Your Move” Station
To further explore the ideas presented in the timeline in the hall, try the following activities:
- Learn chess notation
- Learn one of Garry Kasparov’s signature opening moves, “The Scholar’s Mate”
- Create an advertising poster for the match between Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue
- Create your own computer font