The Discover program is offered at each elementary school for students in grades three through five. Discover provides direct instruction for identified gifted learners using award-winning curriculum from the College of William & Mary. The gifted specialist works with Discover students 90 – 120 minutes each week.
Discover is based on the Integrated Curriculum Model developed at the College of William and Mary. Curriculum is designed to respond to gifted learners’ characteristics of precocity, intensity, and complexity through its three dimensions of advanced content, higher level processes, and interdisciplinary concepts.
The Discover seminars have been selected to complement and extend the regular classroom curriculum.
Description of Discover Seminars
Grade 3 – Creative Problem Solving for Engineers
Working in teams, students learn to use both creative and critical skills to solve real-world problems. Students learn about and practice fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration in creative thought. Beyond the creative thinking process, students develop their critical thinking skills to evaluate ideas. This unit also explores how inventors and engineers use creative and critical thinking skills in their work using the Engineering Design Process. From the initial brainstorming phase to evaluating solutions and developing an action plan, students in this unit work together to solve everyday problems in new ways.
Grade 3 – Systems of Civilization
This social studies unit is designed around the idea that human civilizations develop and sustain themselves as a collection of interdependent systems. Systems of language, leadership, economics, numeracy and architecture are examined in the historical context of Ancient Egypt and in the more immediate context of students’ own community. Activities of the unit engage students in critical thinking and discussion about the systems of civilization. Throughout the unit, students are introduced to graphic organizers that develop critical thinking and writing skills. These organizers will be used throughout the Discover experience.
Grade 3 – Systems of Science: Hop to It
Oh no! Our Engineering Pen Pals, India and Jacob, accidentally brought a cane toad from Australia to New Zealand. Cane toads are pests. They’re an invasive species that hurt native species in Australia–and they could do the same in New Zealand. Discover students will help India and Jacob engineer a humane trap to catch the toad. Building on the concept of systems, Discover students explore how invasive species disrupt an ecosystem. Working in collaborative teams, students research a Minnesota invasive species of their choice and create a public service announcement.
Grade 4- Literary Reflections
This unit integrates literature, writing, language study, inquiry discussion and oral communication. The core of this unit involves students interacting with advanced literature while enhancing reading comprehension and textual analysis skills. Central to the unit is student reflection of theme and symbolism within the text, as well as developing inference skills based on supporting evidence. Literature selections include short works by Hughes, Tolstoy, Singer and Dickinson. Students explore the concept of change throughout the unit.
Grade 4- Engineering Change: Shake Things Up
Destructive earthquakes can strike at any time and their effect can be long lasting. In this unit, Discover students learn the importance of designing structurally sound buildings. After brainstorming design ideas, engineering teams create and test their building models using a shake table. Once they have succeeded building earthquake resistant structures, they develop building codes based on their findings. Students are introduced to Paul’s Reasoning model to explore the impact of changing building codes in Haiti and other developing countries.
Grade 5- Confrontation Simulations: History with a Twist
This engaging unit offers students the opportunity to explore historical conflicts first hand. Students participate in an historical simulation of the Revolutionary War time period. By taking on the roles of some of the characters in this conflict, students learn that there are always multiple perspectives to each situation. As each simulation culminates, a group of students works together to find a non-violent solution that will satisfy as many people as possible. Student activities include role-playing, debate, conflict resolution and creative problem solving. Students also read and discuss several primary source documents.
Grade 5- Debate: Both Sides Now
Understanding multiple perspectives of an issue is the first step to solving real-world problems. Discover students learn to gather evidence, develop an argument, and communicate their case to another team. This unit requires quick thinking and strong listening skills as teams respond to each other in a series of debates. Teams learn to effectively argue both points of view in a fun and informal competitive format.
Grade 5 – Shooting Kabul: Novel Study
Shooting Kabul is an historical fiction novel about a family’s dangerous escape from Afghanistan during the summer of 2001. The main character, Fadi, and his family endure personal crisis as they assimilate into their new life in America. The September 11th attacks and the perception of their community add to the family’s challenging transition. Fadi finds solace in photography and “shooting” the world around him using his thoughtful eye. Discover students learn and discuss the different perspectives of the characters as they navigate this time in American history. A culminating project allows students a range of ways to express their perspective of the characters and the problems they face.