Fantastic Camp for Science!!

Here Comes A New Idea for a Camp!

Signing up for camps, after school activities, and enrichment opportunities can be stressful. I have spent hours looking through the local town program guides, websites for camps in the area, scrolling Facebook for ideas, and asking other moms what camps they love or recommend. The great thing about our area is all there is to choose from but it can be overwhelming.

Well… on Friday, I decided to drop into a new science camp in the area- Crazbrain. I had met the owner a few weeks ago and wanted to see it in action. Last week, the students were doing a CSI camp! What??! I happen to love CSI shows and was curious about the activities.

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When we got there, the children had safety goggles, gloves, and were swabbing desks for blood (each desk represented rooms in a pretend house). They were really simulating being a real scientist- And they LOVED it! They quickly told me all about the activity and were eager to demonstrate to me how to use the solution to determine if there was “blood” in the room. Once the tested the q-tip for blood, they recorded the results and marked the rooms on the pretend floorplan a.k.a scene of the crime. At the end they had to come up with some theories about what happened at the crime scene.

IMG_5421 Kids love participating in hands-on activities and simulations. This camp is fantastic for budding scientists or curious kids.

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Anyone Going Stir Crazy?

Snow day, again??!! I am not sure where everyone else lives but in NC we have not had a fun winter. It has been dark, wet, and dreary. To top it off, the past two weeks there has been snow. Maybe some people love snow, but I do NOT. Where we live, everything shuts down- schools, roads, grocery stores , etc. (maybe a touch of my sanity too). My kids are quickly running out of things to do and I think they have even gotten tired of fighting.

So today, I found a few ideas that I thought I would share.

Everyone has a different parenting opinion about technology… so no judgments. Here is a great list of STEAM apps.

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Another idea is creative story starters- you pull a sentence out of a jar and kids make up a story.

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Your Great Interest

By: Diane Rowe

In Stephen King’s Different Seasons, the novella Apt Pupil contains a quote that resonates with me: “You see something for the first time, and right away you know you have found YOUR GREAT INTEREST. It’s like a key turning in a lock.” I think that everyone should have at least one great interest, and as parents it is our responsibility to give our children the opportunities to find the lock for their particular key.

Sometimes a great interest reveals itself at a very young age. My oldest daughter got on her first horse when she was four and has parlayed that love into a fulfilling part-time business in addition to a full time college load. My youngest daughter took a more circuitous route, exploring roller skating, dance, gymnastics, soccer, volleyball – moving from one activity to the next – without really settling on anything until she started playing an instrument. She is now in her final year of high school, and her marching band is the only band in North Carolina to have achieved semi-finals in Grand Nationals twice.

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Why is this important in understanding a gifted child? It aligns with the three-ring conception of giftedness (my favorite definition), developed by Joseph Renzulli. In this definition, above average ability, creativity, and task commitment are equals in determining excellence. Of the three, I believe task commitment is key. Many people demonstrate a great capacity for sitting down to work and getting the job done, but when you add “your great interest” into the mix, that’s when opportunities for excellence appear. It’s the four year old who gets off the horse and asks, “can I do that again?”, or the eighth grader who, in her final middle school band concert, stands at the microphone and says that she’s going to dedicate the next four years of her life to her band.

three ring conception of giftedness

So, what can we do to help a child discover his or her great interest? First, listen when your child expresses an interest in something. Do a little digging – Where did she hear about this? Would she like to see/do/try it? Next, if the interest seems to be there, do some research together: read a book, watch a video clip, see a show/sporting event, explore a bit. Then, if the interest continues, find an opportunity for some hands-on experience. Is there a way to take a short class or a trial lesson before making a longer commitment? When your child is ready to commit to a new activity, make sure that the end date is clearly defined: “You are a part of this team now, and your coach and teammates need your best effort throughout the season”. No quitting in the middle of something! If you have to coax and cajole someone small to get ready, or if you hear groans when you say “it’s time to go”, then that’s a really good indication that activity is not one that your child needs to pursue. But if your child has given the longer trial his or her best effort and is still enthusiastic, then you both will be able to determine if it’s a good idea to put further resources into the interest, or if it was simply a passing fancy.

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Great interests are not always fixed; my equestrienne took a detour through dance before focusing on her four-footed friends, and my musician may be putting down the piccolo temporarily as she gets ready to move on to college. But each of my gifted girls has had the joy of being part of something greater than themselves. They have experienced delayed gratification, and have seen their skills increase through sustained effort over time. They have triumphed, failed, and triumphed again. They have done the work necessary to get the job done, but with a joy that has allowed their spirits to soar.

Diane’s great interest in musical theater began at the age of three when she got down off the stage after her first dance recital and said “I want to go back up there”. That interest turned into a career, with over 20 years teaching dance/theater and 10 years as a gifted education teacher.

GoldieBlox Zipline

Yesterday I wrote about a really neat new toys marketed for girls. I love that it encourages girls to be scientists and mathematicians. One of their toys that looks like so much fun is a zipline that the toy goes down. I really think I am going to get this toy soon for my daughter! But I think my son might like it just as much even if he won’t admit it.

Girls Engineering Toy!

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Recently a friend posted a link to this video about girl engineering toys called “Goldie Blox“. It was an interview of the founders ideas, dreams, and visions of toys designed for the girl mathematician. It supports an idea that statistically there are less women in the engineering field and maybe this is because girls were not encouraged or given role models growing up that showed girls can do this too? I am sure there is plenty of research that would support this or refute it. But I can tell you that I LOVE this idea for girls or boys. I love that there is a positive role model that shows how cool math and engineering can be for kids. I cannot wait to try one of these with students. The next few days I will be highlighting a few of the toys from the company.

What?! New Lego Sets!

OK- Again, I am confessing. I loved Legos as a kid and that was not a normal girl toy when I was growing up. And I never really had Barbies (NOTHING wrong with this) but I had tons of blocks and match box cars. 🙂

We have TONS of Legos at my house and I really enjoy seeing my son put them together. Watching him follow the visual directions and put together the set is worth the price. He saves up his allowance or earns extra money to get more.

Gifted #Education Daily posted this really neat new Lego set and I cannot wait to see it. These Legos make life like models of birds. Not Angry Birds but real birds. They look so neat!

Read more: Short review of the sets

Andy the American Goldfinch

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Another Admission…I love TED Talks!

Whoever invented TED talks is a genius. I love the short videos that deliver talks on a specific topic. I love that they are really only between 3-20 (on average) minutes long. I love that if I am eating lunch there is never any shortage of videos I can watch. I love learning a quick piece of information or hearing someone’s opinion about a topic. So this week I am going to try to find some of my favorites to highlight.

Here is my all time favorite…