Archive for the ‘Enrichment’ Category

Citizen science: Joro spiders

October 10, 2022 Leave a comment

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know I love recommending citizen science projects for gifted kids. This week, your kids can become citizen researchers for the University of Georgia’s Joro Spider Spotting Contest.

Joro spiders are native to Asia. They came to the United States in 2014. You can recognize them by their large size, bright coloring, and expansive webs, which may be in trees or between power lines.

Anytime a species is introduced to a new place, scientists want to know what effect it will have on the ecosystem. As part of their studies of the Joro spider, entomologists want to learn more about how many there are and how far they’ve spread geographically. Since the spiders are relatively easy to spot and recognize, it’s a perfect opportunity to call in citizen scientists.

To participate in the Joro Spider Spotting Contest, you’ll go out looking for spiders. If you see one, you’ll take a photo and submit it, either through the Joro Watch website or through the EddMAPs App, available on iOS or Android. You’ll report where you see Joro spiders, as well as where you look but don’t find any, as both of these are important for scientists to know. Visit for detailed instructions.

The Joro Spider Spotting Contest will run through Saturday, Oct. 15.

Categories: Enrichment

Emory Math Circle registering for fall 2022

September 4, 2022 Leave a comment

The Math Circle program at Emory University is now registering for its fall 2022 classes, which will be a mix of online and in-person sessions.

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. In-person classes begin this Saturday, September 10.

High school class sections will be held in person, on the Emory campus. Students must show proof of vaccination (including a booster shot). Masks are optional, in accordance with Emory policy.

Middle-school students can choose between in-person sections, with the same vaccination requirements as above, or Zoom sections.

Categories: Enrichment

Creative problem solving program “Destination Imagination” returns to Georgia

August 29, 2022 2 comments

Destination Imagination (DI) is back in Georgia after a two-year hiatus. In the DI program, teams of kids work together on challenges that require a combination of technical, artistic and performance skills, although some challenges lean more toward scientific aspects, where others incorporate more of the arts.

A hallmark of DI is encouraging kids to tackle problems for themselves. Each team has one or more team managers, who can be teachers or parents, but these managers are primarily facilitators who help the team work together to learn new skills and come up with solutions. All the ideas and all the work must come from the team members themselves. In my experience, when this is done right, the kids surprise everyone — including their parents and themselves — with how self-sufficient and creative they can be.

DI is open to kids from kindergarten through college, with the challenges tailored to various ages. Teams typically form now, at the start of the school year. In the early spring, teams compete (against others of similar age) in a state tournament, usually held in the metro Atlanta area. Teams that win at the state tournament have the opportunity to go to D.I. Global Finals, an international event that will be held in May 2023 in Kansas City, MO.

I was a team manager with the DI program for many years, and both of my kids participated on teams. I absolutely endorse this program, and I recommend it ahead of the very similar Odyssey of the Mind program, even though Odyssey is the more popular program in Georgia. If you want to know more about my experiences or get some tips, send me a note through the Contact page of this website and I’ll be glad to set up a phone call with you.

Categories: Enrichment

Math professor seeks to inspire with local tour stops this weekend

August 23, 2022 Leave a comment

Dr. Po-Shen Loh, a professor of math at Carnegie Mellon University and national coach of the USA International Math Olympiad team, will make three stops in metro Atlanta this weekend to talk about mathematics, creativity and innovation.

The free events are part of Loh’s summer-long tour and are for students in grades 5 through 11. Loh will speak this Friday in Marietta, and Saturday in Alpharetta and Brookhaven. All three events will be held in outdoor pavillions at public parks.

In addition to being a professor, Loh operates a for-profit online math enrichment program. The promoter who reached out to me about the tour events assures me the presentations are not merely promotions for the classes, although she says they will be “briefly mentioned.”

Categories: Enrichment

Math festival returns to Emory this weekend

August 21, 2022 Leave a comment

Emory logo

Emory University is bringing back the Julia Robinson Math Festival this Saturday, August 27. The event will run from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m., but students are welcome to drop in late and/or leave early.

The event targets middle-school and high-school students who love math. It offers challenging activities that get students to engage with math concepts they’re unlikely to encounter in their typical math classes. I’ve personally attended this event with my kids in the past and can attest it’s an enjoyable way to stretch your mathematical mind.

The math festival will be held in the atrium of the Math and Science Center. Admission is free; however, advance registration is requested.

Categories: Enrichment

Georgia Tech fall workshops for grades 2-12

August 15, 2022 Leave a comment

Registration will open this Friday, August 19, for the fall sessions of K.I.D.S. Club and STEAM Workshop at Georgia Tech, which are returning to an in-person format.

K.I.D.S. Club is open to students in grades 2 through 5. STEAM Workshops are for students in grades 6 through 12. Georgia Tech hasn’t yet announced the topics for the fall workshops, but typically they are a mix of coding, engineering, and other hands-on science activities.

The fall schedule includes one Saturday per month in September, October, November and December. All four of the sessions are identical, so parents should register their students for only one of the four dates.

Cost to attend is $65 per student. Need-based scholarships, funded by the Georgia Department of Education, are available. Visit the CEISMC BOOST Scholarship page to learn more about scholarship eligibility and submit an application.

Categories: Enrichment

Fossil Symposium at TELLUS

July 26, 2022 Leave a comment

TELLUS Science Museum is hosting a Fossil Symposium on Saturday, August 13, 2022. The day’s schedule includes lectures by four paleontologists, plus lunch. TELLUS says the event is for anyone age 8 or over “with a working knowledge of geology and paleontology.”

Cost is $25 for TELLUS members, $40 for non-members. Space is limited and registration will close at noon on August 10.

Categories: Enrichment

Creative play / makerspace in Decatur

July 15, 2022 Leave a comment

Moonrise is a “flexible learning space” in downtown Decatur where kids ages 5 to 15 can engage their creativity. Opened in 2021, Moonrise features a recording studio, games, building toys (think Legos, robots and a 3-D printer), craft supplies and a library.

Members pay a monthly fee (currently $250 per child) for access. Kids can be dropped off for 1 to 3 hours at a time at the space, which is staffed by kid-friendly adults who can guide them through activities.

You can get a look at the space at their upcoming “Apollo Day,” July 20, celebrating the anniversary of the moon landing. The event is free, but you’ll need to reserve a ticket to attend.

Categories: Enrichment

New talent identification programs offer above-grade testing

April 26, 2022 Leave a comment

When Duke University shut down its Duke TIP program in 2020, it left a worrisome hole in the available resources for gifted children and their parents. Fortunately, leaders in gifted education immediately began working on new programs to fill this gap, and two talent identification programs are now up and operating.

Baylor University

Baylor University, in Texas, recently launched Baylor TIP, which has begun offering above-grade testing for students in grades 4 through 8 who meet certain academic qualifications. Students in grades 7 or 8 can take a college-readiness exam that is designed for high-school juniors and seniors. Students in grades 4, 5 and 6 can take a different version of that exam, which has been modified for students in grades 8 and 9.

The exam can be taken online at any time. A paper version is also available. Parents can sign their children up individually, or schools can arrange to administer a test to multiple students. An informational session for school administrators will be held via Zoom this Friday, April 29.

Participating TIP students will receive a score report with educational recommendations. Those who participate will automatically qualify for enrichment programs offered through the Baylor Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Baylor TIP also will host an awards program for those with exceptionally high scores.

Western Kentucky University

The TIP-KY program is currently focused on testing students within the state of Kentucky, but the program director said they will try to assist students in other states who don’t have another option.

Why take an above-grade test?

Above-grade testing is valuable for gifted students, who often peg the meter on the standardized tests they’re administered in school. Taking a standardized test that was designed for an older student can help a student’s parents understand just how far ahead their child is, which can be useful in advocating for advanced learning in school.

In the now shuttered Duke TIP Talent Search, 7th-grade students took the SAT or ACT right alongside high-school juniors and seniors. That option seems to be off the table for now, as both the ACT and College Board now limit test registration to students who are 13 or older.

April workshops for grades 2 through 12 at Georgia Tech

April 12, 2022 Leave a comment

The next session of Georgia Tech’s CEISMC programs will be Saturday, April 23.

K.I.D.S. Club, open to students in grades 2 through 5, will feature topics including coding, neuroscience and aerodynamics.

Students in grades 6 through 12 can enroll in STEAM Workshops, with topics such as marine science, website design and the mathematics of infectious diseases.

The April workshops will be held in person, on the Georgia Tech campus.

Categories: Enrichment