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BG's PACE challenges gifted students PDF Print E-mail
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor   
Saturday, 01 March 2014 09:14
Laura Weaver is hoping to get more students involved in Bowling Green Schools' PACE program.
Weaver, the gifted intervention specialist for the district, said the theme for this year's students is "Patterns Across the Curriculum" and includes the study of skills needed for the Common Core Standards including English, language arts, math, science, social studies and art.
The PACE program serves superior cognitive ability students in grades 3-6 one day a week. Program goals include student development of talents and abilities in relation to self, others, and service to society; research techniques and planning and organizational skills; various forms of communication; critical thinking skills; and creative thinking skills.
PACE stands for Providing Acceleration, Creativity, and Enrichment and students are tested for superior cognitive abilities for admission. They can be referred to PACE by a parent or teacher.
There are 40 students in the program this year; the state allows 15 per grade, so there is room at all four grade levels for more students, Weaver said.
To date, all students have taken a trip to the geodesic dome at the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg and have built their own domes.
All are also participating in the international Perennial Math program, which is a competition between themselves and students internationally, explained Weaver.
Each month the students take one test on logic math and those who score five or six, out of six, are featured on the Perennial Math website.
"A good half to three-quarters of all students have been featured," said Weaver about her students' success.
Third-grade students are also competing in the Pizza Hut BookIt reading program, which requires them to read so many minutes a month. If they meet their goal, they'll get free pizza.
If students reach the top 50 schools in the nation, they may win a visit from "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" author Jeff Kinney.
BG's 12 students have read almost 15,000 minutes per month, Weaver said.
Other activities have included the Ohio Energy Project Summit, which sixth-graders attended in Perrysburg with other students from Northwest Ohio. The day-long summit introduced them to various forms of energy through hands-on activities presented by BGHS students and Ohio Energy leaders. The high school students prepared for the summit with their sponsor, BGHS science teacher Gloria Gajewicz.
PACE students had the opportunity to ride the notorious Energy Bike, which allows riders to experience their energy being transformed into light, heat and sound. The Energy Bike also promotes energy conservation and teaches lighting technology as it compares LED (light emitting diode) and CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs to incandescent light bulbs. As the power consumption increases by turning on more bulbs or appliances, the bike becomes harder to pedal.
PACE students were also featured in a film about entrepreneur John Rowe, "No Ordinary Man," which was produced by Mad House Productions in Toledo and filmed on the BGSU campus and around Bowling Green.
Ethan Brown, sixth-grader, is participating in the C-SPAN Student Cam Video Contest for 2014, featuring sixth-grade classmates. Ethan has used interviews and commentary to create a documentary with a message to the U.S. Congress about funding and supporting gifted education in all U.S. schools.
Students also took a field trip the Wintergarden/St. Johns Nature Preserve to look for fractals in nature: finding symmetry, branching, spirals, and repetitive patterns in natural items.
They worked on the educational activities with Chris Gajewicz, natural resource coordinator for BG Parks and Recreation. The fourth- and fifth-graders studied fractals in nature with 100 artifacts displayed for them to find the fractals and determine their symmetry. The sixth-grade students did an activity on bio mimicry where they had to take apart a sunflower and create or invent a way to use the parts to solve a human problem.
This is a new method for scientific study and was the origin of how Velcro was invented by George de Mestral, who studied the burrs on his dog after a walk in the park. He notice the "fasteners" under a microscope and developed Velcro based on the same design, according to Weaver.
All grades also are assigned an independent study research project where students learn how to research a topic of their choice and create an oral presentation utilizing new technology such as Prezi, Glogster, Google Presentations, or Smart Notebook.
Students also learn how to do research note cards, formal outlines and a works cited page, Weaver explained. Students present to the class and meet the skills for the College Readiness Standards.
 

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