Thursday, March 19, 2009

2009 Summer Math and Science Camps

Math Pionneers

The 5th Annual
Math & Science Camps

Located at Church in the City/Beth Abraham
16th & Gaylord (near Colfax & Josephine)

June 13 - July 31, 2009 (Levels K – 8th grade)**
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Hey Kids!
You can: create 3-D geometric art, create and crack secret codes, bend light, create
different colored flames, make a two-foot tornado, see a mini lightning bolt, create a
bridge out of spaghetti that can hold a sack of flour, make a large dome out of
gumdrops, race solar cars, save an egg in the “Egg Drop,” and more!

Week 1: July 13 – July 17 Rockets & Flying Things
flight (lift, drag, etc.), rockets, parabolic motion, insects, basic trigonometry, etc.

Week 2: July 20 – July 24 City Builders
Engineering, gum drop domes, spaghetti bridges, trebuchets, electricity, structure of human body, etc.

Week 3: July 27 – July 31 Disaster Zone/Alien Life (Meteorology/Astronomy)
Modeling Tornadoes, volcanoes, & other disasters; water cycle; ocean life; finding life in the universe, light & sound labs, etc.

Schedule is subject to change.

** Levels K-8 (students are placed according to level, not age; preschoolers
capable of working on a Kindergarten level may also sign up)

Cost: $200/week. Scholarships available!

$20 registration fee.

Questions? Call Jenna Lin @ (303) 224 – 0584 or email

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Low Expectations of Minorities in Schools

Edited version of article written by Jenna Lin for Cherry Creek Association for Gifted and Talented Foresight Newsletter (2004)

While politicians are busy debating over ‘adequate’ funding for the No Child Left Behind Act, we can focus on some key goals of the act that do not require funding. One goal of the No Child Left Behind Act that we all support is to ensure that minority children are not susceptible to what Bush calls “soft bigotry.” After observing that this was an issue in our own school district, Cherry Creek Schools has been working hard for the last few years towards eliminating this problem. The district began developing new GT identification procedures to make sure giftedness is being recognized in less affluent and/or in minorities. Additionally, the district invited Dr. Donna Ford, an expert in multicultural gifted education, to speak to our educators.

During this enlightening talk, she discussed how the lower expectations many teachers have of lower social-economic and minority students contribute to the fact that the giftedness of these often goes unnoticed and that these students are rarely given an adequate education. Her research confirmed the validity of the opinions that my family and I held due to our educational experiences. One example she gave showing how lowered expectations hurt students was as follows:

Dr .Ford visited a school district that, like Cherry Creek, contained schools in a diverse social-economic neighborhoods. She decided to visit an elementary school in the most affluent and least diverse part of the district and an elementary school in the least affluent and most diverse [more blacks] of the school district. She visited a fourth or fifth grade class in each school both of which had a focus on ‘geometry/angles’ that day. In the less affluent school, the teacher taught the children what an angle was. He drew an angle on the board and explained to the students that the figure was an angle and then taught the students what an acute angle was and what a right angle was. He explained to them that an acute angle was an angle with a measure less than 90 degrees, while a right angle was an angle with a measure of 90 degrees. A student raised her hand and asked if angles were measured with rulers. While a chalk board protractor was on a nail over the teacher’s head in the front of the room, the teacher told the student that she would learn about how to measure the angles the following year. The students were then given an assignment to find acute and right angles in the classroom and a written assignment.

In the more affluent classroom [same grade and same district] the teacher passed out protractors to each student. He also taught the students what acute and right angles were and also taught them about obtuse and straight angles. He explained that obtuse angles had measures greater than 90 degrees and less than 180 degrees. He then proceeded to explain to the students how to measure angles using their protractors. The students too had to go around the classroom and find angles.

Dr. Donna Ford asked the audience to contemplate and decide who would have a better command of what angles were and would be able to handle answering questions about angles. She then informed the audience that she had looked at the state requirements and what was to tested on that year’s state exam and discovered that the standards required students in that grade level to know what the definition of an acute, a right, a obtuse, and a straight angle. She also stated the obvious when she said that the students in the first classroom could not do as well as the students in the second classroom with the lesson taught to them by the teacher alone even if they each knew everything the teacher taught them She also made note that the teacher did not take advantage of the opportunity to expand on his lesson when the student asked him about how angles were measured.

Dr. Ford talked to the teacher in the first classroom and asked him a few questions. She asked him if he would handle the class differently if he ever got an opportunity to teach at the more affluent school. He told her he would have. She asked him how and he described what he would do and guess what? What he described was more like what the teacher in that school did. I believe she talked to him further and pointed out his different expectations and encouraged him to treat the students equally.

This is an important idea. I would never assume that that teacher had ill intentions or complete disregard for his students. However, his unchecked opinion clouded his judgement. So, while the politicians debate, we educators can spend more time checking our opinions and make sure we are truly treating our students fairly. Not everything can be exactly the same nor equal. Teachers do have to tailor their classrooms to the students. However, they should not compromise the curriculum in the process. Additionally, many teachers would be surprised to find out that minorities and low-income students can learn in the same ways richer/white kids learn. They do not have to tailor their teaching that much. They do not need to “rap” or use any other what Dr. Ford calls superficial methods of trying to diversify the curriculum. For example, in a math class, a teacher can merely include accomplishments of black mathematicians/scientists of the past and particularly of the present if they want to diversify the curriculum. Otherwise, teach as if you were in the more affluent school.