SIG eNewsletter: The Gifted Student

April 2015

Sponsored by Georgia Association for Gifted Children

In this issue:

SIG is a program of NSGT, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization

From the President's Desk

A letter from Barbara Swicord, President of SIG:

April 22, 2015, will mark 45 years since the first Earth Day, the birth of the modern environmental movement, a day set aside to recognize the importance of protecting the amazing planet we inhabit. In his column, Kevin shows how we bring Earth’s issues into our summer curriculum, so be sure you read that. But, I like always to be thinking beyond for our gifted students, so today I am thinking beyond Earth. The space frontiers beyond our planet’s atmosphere continue to hold fascination for humans, as evidenced in our interests in all things space and in the interesting fact that 10,000 people have applied to be astronauts. I think space is a great source of curriculum content, as well as food for rumination, for thoughtful people.

Different people have differing opinions as to the value of space travel projects. Some people feel space exploration wastes resources that could be better used on our planet to solve problems. Common arguments in favor of space exploration include advancing scientific research and uniting nations around the globe. Spin-off technologies from agencies like NASA have benefitted such diverse fields of endeavor as health and medicine, transportation, agriculture, and computer technology. Many feel that space exploration will lead to the extraction of resources on other planets and asteroids, which may contain huge and valuable resources of minerals and metals.

My favorite spin-off of space exploration was the boost it gave to gifted education in 1957 when the Soviets launched the first successful orbit of the Soviet unmanned Sputnik 1 ("Satellite 1"). Space exploration, in general, inspires and encourages our students, who have great interest space applications, to study science and engineering.

Today we see ample evidence of our population’s interest in progressing our knowledge of and experience with space. The current missions of the International Space Station appear to further all the arguments in favor of advancing the study of space. The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory where experiments are conducted in such fields as biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, and meteorology.

Current probes into space are sending us fascinating photos and invaluable data and information that fuel scientific research as well as satisfy our curiosity. We are still learning additional information about the moon as we see from scientists in Woodlands, Texas, who recently named a crater on the moon after perhaps the most famous female aviator of all time: Amelia Earhart. The massive 124-mile-wide crater was found through NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission (GRAIL).

Or maybe you are interested in looking beyond our moon. Have you seen the latest Mars Rover photos from NASA? Or the latest Mercury photos?

Space travel appears to be becoming accessible to those who are not astronauts. SpaceX is a commercial company aiming to launch cargo, and eventually people, to low-Earth orbit. The firm is developing its capsule and booster under contracts from NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program and its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. So would you want to be a passenger?

Whether you prefer to learn about space from Earth’s solid ground, or from a weightless vantage point, there is much to question, research, learn, and do as we travel beyond Earth Day, whether in our minds or in our bodies. There is much fodder there for the curiosity of gifted minds. I encourage educators and parents to consider using the mystery and science of outer space to extend how students think about their futures here on and beyond Earth.

Barbara Swicord
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted

Local Day Programs Are Filling Fast – Register Today!

Get ready! Summer is almost here and our day programs are filling fast. The day program is customized for gifted and academically talented students between the ages of 5-12 (varies by campus). SIG programs are located at the following locations:

The program combines academics with social, cultural, and recreational opportunities for a truly engaging summer. Through 30 years of experience, we have crafted a program that will enrich your child’s natural talents and abilities.

The first 2015 day program begins in two months!

Please reserve your child’s spot today at

Campus Spotlight: UC Berkeley

University of California - BerkeleyUniversity of California, Berkeley is the leading public university in the country. Berkeley’s reputation for academic excellence combined with its beautiful campus and Northern California location make it a unique and exciting educational experience. The roots of the University of California go back to the gold rush days of 1849, when the drafters of the State Constitution required the legislature to “encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral and agricultural improvement” of the people of California.

SIG at Berkeley offers two sessions, one from June 20-July 10, 2015, and one from July 12-August 1, 2015. The first session is a typical SIG session, and the second one is a SIG Global session. While all SIG campuses are open to international students, the second session of SIG at UC Berkeley invites a larger percentage of international students to apply. SIG Global is intended to provide an experience where students can enjoy immersion in international citizenry, pursue topics of global interest in-depth, and fully realize the intense nature of our flattened world.

SIG offers several schedule options for residential and commuter students who wish to attend SIG at Berkeley:

Residential Program for students ages 9-17
Students choosing this option will participate in the full curriculum of SIG including the 4-period academic day, evening programs, Saturday Get-Away Day and Sunday Activity Days. Students live in campus in dormitories.

Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
Commuter students participate in the full 4-period academic day, lunch, and recreation period. They do not participate in any weekend or evening activities. Commuter students must be dropped off at 8:30 a.m. and picked up at 5:30 p.m.

Extended Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30 a.m. - 9:15 p.m.)
Extended commuter students will participate in the full 4-period academic day, lunch, recreation period, dinner, and all evening activities, as well as the Saturday Get-away trip. Extended commuters do not reside on campus or take part in Sunday activities.

Read more about our options at UC Berkeley.

Please call 866.303.4744 today for more information or visit our website at

Support Gifted Education: Order Your Spring SIG T-Shirt

Here at SIG, we believe that all gifted students, regardless of their financial situation, should be able to experience the academic rigor and enrichment that they deserve. We strive to provide as much scholarship funding as we possibly can so that students who need financial assistance may attend gifted and talented programs.

Through, we are selling custom SIG t-shirts and collecting donations online. The profit from each shirt purchased will go toward SIG scholarships. If you are able, we encourage you to purchase one or more and show your support proudly. By reaching our goal, we can fully sponsor many deserving, motivated children to participate in SIG programs.

Overall through Booster, we've raised over $2,000! Help us reach our goal and support fellow gifted students.

100% of all funds raised will go to SIG scholarships.

View and purchase a SIG t-shirt

This campaign will end on April 27, 2015.

Kevin's Korner

With Earth Day on the horizon, it seems a good time to explore ways to infuse environmental awareness activities into gifted classroom and home learning activities, as well as to examine the benefits of doing so. Here at SIG we have done our best to incorporate environmental learning in our programs though courses such as Improvement Science; Technology: Complex Problems Simple Solutions; Future City Design;  Writing the Future; Rain Forests: Tropical Treasures; and Thinking Inside, Outside, and Beyond the Box. These courses not only analyze environmental (as well as other) challenges we face, but also engage students in seeking solutions to future circumstances they research and utilize pertinent data to analyze.

As with all of us, gifted students benefit from engaging in authentic activities that allow them to demonstrate and apply learning. Particularly valuable are lessons involving fieldwork, such as analyzing micro-organisms and other components present in perhaps a nearby stream, tracking their population and composition over time, and theorizing as to the origin of such components, their impact on the local environment, and potential methods to improve general conditions. Presenting such results, whether to a class of peers or local and willing environmental professionals, also can provide validation for students’ hard work, give them a greater sense of accomplishment, and help them hone their presentation skills.

Far from an academically-isolated discipline, quality gifted environmental education can utilize learning effectively from each of the four traditional primary disciplines. Data analysis, to name just one subsidiary activity, provides students with opportunities to apply skills particularly from science and math. Presentation of findings, as well as the collection of any narrative-based data, contributes to language arts development, and investigation of the historical and cultural elements influencing environmental conditions provides plentiful connections with social studies.

Environmental education can expose students to a host of career exploration possibilities as well, with “hands-on” activities effectively involving students in authentic environmental work and allowing them to create products and utilize knowledge mirroring that of the professional world. There are immense possibilities for integrating technology into environmental education through simulations, data analysis, and countless other avenues, which can bring a wide variety of learning opportunities as well. Finally, for gifted students who reside in urban areas, environmental education can provide an opportunity to experience previously unfamiliar settings and broaden their understanding of our world, including its diverse population and environments, making more tangible civic responsibilities and the awareness of interdependent systems that sustain our planet and those who inhabit it.

There is a growing tendency to involve students in helping create “green” schools, most often leading them to analyze the resources their school consumes and get involved in making consumption more sustainable, to investigate toxic issues in and around their school and involve students in minimizing their use, and to create and sustain garden and food systems in which students grow their own food. Several such schools have worked with the United States Environmental Protection Agency in examining levels of atmospheric pollution in their local environment including fluorinated gases, methane, nitrous oxide, and other elements, including presentations to local government officials and detailed improvement plans.

In short, the applications of environmental education can extend into virtually any discipline and include a vast array of authentic activities. We hope that you will encourage your children, and for educators, your students, to take part in environmental-based learning, particularly as Earth Day approaches. It is quite likely that they will derive long-term educational benefits in a variety of areas and develop increased understandings of the delicate balances that support our daily lives and our profound roles as stewards of the planet.

Kevin Wickersham
Academic Director
Summer Institute for the Gifted

Gifted Resources Article: Defining What Characterizes a Great School for the Gifted

If you haven’t subscribed to the publication Gifted Education Press Quarterly, we highly recommend you do! The Spring 2015 issue contains an interesting article on Defining What Characterizes a Great School for the Gifted. This is a good overview of what we would like to see happening in schools for our students and also describes the kind of education we implement at SIG.

Have you come across a gifted resource that you know others would appreciate? Please feel free to forward any future resource listings to Kristin at We may share them in future newsletters. Thank you!

Puzzle Corner

Rearrange the letters of "POLL ANGERED GROUP" to give three colors.

What are they?

Submit your answer online at The first student who submits the correct answer will receive recognition in the next issue of The Gifted Student!


Last Month's Puzzle

What number should replace the question mark in the grid?

A: 5. On each row, multiply the two outer numbers to get the center two.

7 6 3 9
3 1 2 4
6 3 0 5
8 1 6 2
9 4 ? 5

Congratulations to Benjamin from Alpharetta, GA, for being the first to respond with the correct answer to last month's puzzle!

Upcoming Conferences & Events


Watson College of Education, UNC Wilmington Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) Program
April 17, 2015
Wilmington, North Carolina


Young Child Expo & Conference
April 22-24, 2015
Keynote: Temple Grandin,
Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, New York, New York


Westport Mini Maker Faire
April 25, 2015
A one-day, family-friendly event that celebrates arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science and technology projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset
Westport Library & Jesup Green, Westport, Connecticut

Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education (PAGE)
April 30-May 1, 2015
"Gifted Education: Igniting and Nurturing Potential"
Villanova University Conference Center, Villanova, Pennsylvania


Beyond IQ (BIQ) Boston
May 1-3, 2015
Sheraton Colonial Boston North Hotel & Conference Center, Wakefield, Massachusetts


Australasia 2015 Programme Gifted & Talented Study Day
May 11 to 22, 2015 depending on venue
This study day offers a unique provision for academically gifted students, Venues: Perth, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne


Sixth Annual Student-to-Student GATE Conference
May 16, 2015
Offers students grades 3–12 an opportunity to shine, to share their interests, talents and passions in a 15-minute workshop that will be attended by other students
Cowell College, UCSC, Santa Cruz, California


Whitworth's Gifted Education Institute
May 19, 2015
"Personalizing Learning through Differentiation and Technology," Washington. Contact Sharon Page at 509.777.3226, for more information


Victorian Association for Gifted and Talented Children (VAGTC) Conference
May 21 & 22, 2015
CQ Function Centre, Melbourne, Australia


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