Third grade students continued to work with Math Exemplars and were introduced to Hands On Equations (a program that teaches kids to solve algebraic equations) with Ms. Myers. In addition, Ms. Myers created and implemented a problem based learning task with the children (see the article above that will also appear in the city-wide gifted newsletter). Many students from this class also participated in the Virginia Math League Contest which consists of a set of 30 challenging problems that students must be completed in just 30 minutes. What is unique about their participation is that the contest they do is written for 4th graders. High ability math students in 3rd grade are invited to participate in the 4th grade contest, and some of these 3rd graders scored higher than some 4th graders on the 4th grade contest! See the results for the contest in the earlier post.
With Ms. Cuthbertson, some 3rd grade students worked on the William and Mary unit Journeys and Destinations. These children read and discussed the novel The Green Book in which a final group of inhabitants of the ailing planet earth barely escapes the destruction of the planet and must explore and settle a new and unknown planet. Because they represent a pocket of the population that is not wealthy, they receive old equipment and can take very little with them. It is a story of problem solving, teamwork and creating life almost from scratch. One of the bigger issues that students considered in the novel was whether technologically advanced methods of preserving memories is superior to traditional ones, as this was a dilemma that the characters from The Green Book faced.
All students in the class continued to participate in Word Masters, read Junior Great Books stories and completed a final Curriculum of Identity piece. In this learning experience, they chose a career that they thought they might pursue as an adult and considered how their skills and knowledge might help them prepare for the work. They then tried to determine what skills they would need to continue to develop and drew a picture to show how they would dress, what their work environment might look like and what tools they might use. Though the students’ conception of work and what they are interested in is likely to change many times, getting them into the habit of visualizing themselves in different roles will help prepare them for informed decisions in the future.