Author Archive

Emory Math Circle continues online

December 29, 2020 Leave a comment

The Math Circle program at Emory University is now open for registration for spring classes, which will be held online, via Zoom. The program’s coordinators report that they’ve reworked their lessons to adapt them to the online format.

Math Circle is a free enrichment program for middle-school and high-school kids who are fascinated by mathematics and who want to explore math topics beyond what’s taught in the typical classroom. Classes meet twice a month on Saturdays. The Spring 2021 session starts in late January and runs through April.

Categories: Enrichment

Dive into marine life with online programs and videos

December 21, 2020 Leave a comment

Just added to the “Enrichment from home” page on Aquarium Online Academy, produced by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California.

The Online Academy page links you to a variety of educational programs. For younger kids, there are live programs, some of which include craft activities. For older kids (and adults), there’s an archive of lectures given at the aquarium going back 10 years, and the Aquatic Academy with courses on such topics as sea level rise and extreme weather. You can also find links to the aquarium’s online exhibits and a YouTube channel with hundreds of videos.

Note: If you plan to watch livestream content, bear in mind that the times posted are Pacific time. Add 3 hours to calculate the corresponding time in Atlanta.

Categories: Enrichment

Report bird activity in your back yard with Project FeederWatch

December 9, 2020 Leave a comment

If you’ve been following for a while, then you know I’m a big fan of citizen science projects as a way for gifted kids to participate in the scientific process. Project FeederWatch is one such effort, relying on amateur birdwatchers throughout North America to report the birds who visit a feeder or other location. The data these citizen scientists collect help ornithologists understand the location and size of bird populations.

A project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, FeederWatch is more involved than other bird counts I’ve written about. Participants should be prepared to tally the birds they observe on two consecutive days a week, during most weeks, ideally from now through early April. For that reason, I’d recommend this for kids who show some interest in birds already. (In contrast, the Great Backyard Bird Count requests that you count for as little as 15 minutes on one day during a specified four-day period. If that sounds more your speed, mark your calendar for next year’s event, scheduled for February 12-15, 2021.)

The counting process is detailed in FeederWatch’s online instructions. Briefly, you’ll select two consecutive days a week that you’ll watch for birds, always in the same location (e.g., your yard). You’ll use a mobile app or paper tally sheet to record the number and species of birds you see. The Cornell Lab has resources to help with species identification, if you need them. You aren’t required to submit a report every single week — in fact, Cornell Lab says if you do only a single, two-day observation, it’s still helpful — but the more weeks you provide a tally, the more useful your data will be.

FeederWatch may be too complex for most elementary school kids to do alone, but with all of us spending more time at home, I think this could be a great activity for parents and kids to do together. Teens should be able to handle the tallying on their own, after some initial training from a parent.

The cost to join FeederWatch is $18. For this fee, you’ll get a poster of common bird species, digital access to Cornell Lab’s quarterly magazine, and a copy of the annual summary report of the FeederWatch results.

Categories: Enrichment

Smore children’s magazine highlights STEM and the women who work in STEM fields

October 28, 2020 Leave a comment

Smore magazine presents a kid’s eye view of STEM topics — from life science, to physical science, to computer science — with an emphasis on female leaders in STEM fields.

Targeted at children ages 7 and up, the magazine publishes four issues per year. Smore accepts no advertising, making its revenue solely from subscriptions, which cost $49.99 per year.

If you’d like to try the magazine without committing to a subscription, selected back issues are available in the online shop for as little as $2.25 each. This clearance sale will run until October 31. Topics in the back issues include cryptography, bionics, aerospace and puffins.

Categories: Enrichment

Mentorships for high schoolers through Vanderbilt PTY

October 15, 2020 Leave a comment

The Vanderbilt Program for Talented Youth is now accepting applications from students in 10th through 12th grades for its Mentor Immersion program.

The six-month, all-online mentorship program will begin in January 2021. Small groups of 3 to 6 students will meet once a week to learn under the guidance of an expert in the field. During the winter months, students will explore their selected topic. Then, in the spring, they’ll use what they’ve learned to complete independent research or a project.

The application went live today. The program is rigorous and the application requires a transcript, test scores, and an essay. PTY will conduct its first round of application reviews on November 3, 2020. After that date, PTY will use a rolling admissions process to fill spaces that aren’t already taken.

Tuition for the program is $2,500. Need-based financial aid is available.

Categories: Enrichment

Duke TIP’s Talent Search permanently shut down; other programs suspended

October 14, 2020 Leave a comment

Duke TIP announced it has ended its long-running Academic Talent Search Programs, in which students took above-level standardized tests — most often, sitting for the SAT or ACT as 7th graders.

They also have suspended all programming through spring 2021, and plan to hold their 2021 summer programs online.

From what Duke TIP has said publicly, Duke University was already looking at making changes to its pre-college programs, including Duke TIP. The university accelerated this review after the pandemic shut down Duke TIP’s residential Summer Studies program — a primary revenue stream in Duke TIP’s business model. This, in turn, resulted in significant layoffs in the Duke TIP offices.

Duke TIP said it still intends to offer enrichment to talented students, and will be looking for new ways to identify those students. Meanwhile, Duke TIP will continue to work with students who were part of previous talent searches to provide them with programs, research and resources.

Categories: Enrichment

Virtual + hands-on at home STEM classes for girls ages 4-12

September 24, 2020 Leave a comment

Project Scientist invites girls ages 4 to 12 to register for STEM Club, a virtual learning program that includes online learning sessions and hands-on labs.

STEM Club participants have 90 minutes of live, online learning with an instructor each week. In addition, they’re shipped a lab kit each month that they use to explore that month’s scientific topic. (The themes for the next two sessions are elastic energy and sound.)

The classes are divided based by age — kindergarten through 2nd grade, 3rd and 4th grade, and 5th through 7th grade.

A two-month membership in STEM Club is $250. The registration deadline for the October session is Sept. 30, 2020.

Categories: Enrichment

Online classes for grades 3-12 through Vanderbilt PTY

September 23, 2020 Leave a comment

Registration is now open for the Vanderbilt PTY Online Academy, month-long classes for students in grades 3 through 12. Students in the academy will meet together in an online classroom for around three hours per week, then complete assignments on their own.

Starting dates for class sessions are October 12, 2020; November 9, 2020; January 11, 2021; and February 8, 2021. Meeting days and times vary. (Pro tip: As you look at the schedule, bear in mind that all times listed are Central time, not Eastern.)

Course choices include law, debate, pop culture, psychology, ecology, film making, neuroscience, comedy, and many more.

Tuition is $250 per class. Need-based financial assistance may be available.

Categories: Enrichment

This Wednesday: Learn about the animals of Georgia’s barrier islands

September 21, 2020 Leave a comment

Take a virtual tour of Georgia’s barrier islands with Dr. Tony Martin, a paleontologist and ichnologist (that means he studies the tracks and traces that animals leave behind; yes, I had to look it up). He’ll show examples of animal markings and talk about what we can learn from them.

The event will be this Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 12:15 p.m., on Facebook live (on the Tellus Museum Facebook page) and YouTube live (on Tellus Museum’s YouTube channel). It’s part of Tellus Museum’s ongoing “Lunch + Learn” series.

You’re invited to submit questions about fossils or tracks on the event page ahead of time.

Categories: Enrichment

Emory Math Circle goes virtual this fall

September 8, 2020 Leave a comment

Emory Math Circle is a place for kids who think math is cool.

Students in grades 6 to 12 use games, puzzles and problems to look more deeply at how math works and discover fundamental advanced math concepts. Groups are taught by Ph.D. students from the Emory Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

This fall, Math Circle will meet on Saturdays — about twice a month — via Zoom.

Interested students have until September 16 to register. The program is free, although donations are appreciated.

Categories: Enrichment