Road Trip with Kids: Visiting Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park

Nothing says “summer in the USA” more than a road trip. So on our recent Smarty Buddy app and book promotion tour in Southern California we took a detour to the Sequoia National Park.

We took a four and a half hour drive from Davis, CA along a scenic road – with mesmerizing vineyards.  Actually the drive was like driving through the Napa Valley – seeing all the vineyard fields , orange tree groves, and nut trees was a great distraction for the passengers…  not so much for the driver, of course.

Sequoia National Park has caves, waterfalls, forests and lakes, and is home to bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes and deer. It is easy to see why it attracts over a million visitors each year.

After passing through the main entrance, we zig-zagged our way along the winding mountain roads of the park.  Every corner brought a new sight, and it felt like we stopped every mile to get out, take a look and get some photos. There are a number of specific attractions within the park, however much of its magic comes from just being out in this region’s immense natural beauty. There was wildlife, views and groves of enormous sequoia trees all competing for our attention and forcing us to pull over regularly.

Smarty Buddy Multiplication App
Smarty Buddy Multiplication App

Watch out for construction traffic delays.  Factor in the fact that the drive from the southern entrance of the park to the northern entrance is about 2 hours.  We certainly forgot about this math, and actually spent 11 hours driving that day (to, from, and passing the park).

Due to the limited time in the park, we decided to check out the main attraction.  The giant sequoia grove.  The hike to the largest tree in the world (by volume) was an easy loop.  The short hike up to the General Sherman – a huge sequoia tree located in the Giant Forest of the national park.   Even in a place full of enormous trees, this one stood out and towered over everything else.

We noticed one thing, that as you spend time hiking along the sequoia trail, you get used the the sheer size of the trees, and start feeling that they are not that tall at all.  But once you take a picture, and see yourself compared to the towering sequoias, you realize how little you are.

Quick visual puzzle

 What is our weight?

A great mathematical problem solving activity for kids and parents to work out the weight of all three animals in the fourth image.  Can you answer this question correctly?

Visual Puzzle
Visual Puzzle

CTY Summer Programs for the Gifted

CTY’s gifted and talented summer programs offer bright students the opportunity to engage in challenging academic work in the company of peers who share their exceptional abilities and love of learning. While the focus is on rigorous academics and learning, the social experience that results from bringing these students together is an integral part of the program.

Summer 2018

Session 1:

  • June 24 – July 13 (all residential sites, except Santa Cruz and Seattle)
  • July 1 – July 20 (all domestic day sites, and the Santa Cruz and Seattle residential sites)
  • July 8 – July 27 (Hong Kong sites)

Session 2:

  • July 15 – August 3 (all residential sites except Santa Cruz and Seattle)
  • July 22 – August 10 (all domestic day sites, and the Santa Cruz and Seattle residential sites)

Summer 2018 Hong Kong sites

One session only:

  • July 8 – July 27

CTY’s 25 residential and day sites in the U.S. and Hong Kong serve thousands of students each year from all 50 states and dozens of countries around the world. Qualifying students come from all walks of life and a variety of educational backgrounds to spend three weeks immersing themselves in their academic passions, meeting others like themselves, and growing intellectually and personally. Class size is 12-18 students, and each class has a highly skilled instructor and a teaching assistant. Outside of class, students participate in a full and fun social program at all locations, from sports and games to talent shows and band practice.

Check out the JHU CTY Website for admission information and SCAT Test dates.

(* Source  – JHU CTY Website )

Who is Gifted and Talented?

According to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)  , gifted children  “demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains.” In public education, educators aim to individualize education for all students so that no one falls significantly behind or, in the case of gifted students, becomes bored.   Many public schools offer gifted and talented programs for students with exceptionally high aptitude in specific subject areas.
Identifying Gifted and Talented Students The National Society for the Gifted and Talented offers recommendations for how to recognize a gifted or talented individual. It is not just a matter of having a specific talent or being a straight-A student.
Students must demonstrate that they have potential to achieve at significantly higher levels than their peers. A student may not even realize that he or she has this specific potential. Gifted and talented students may exhibit some of the following traits:
  • Students may be perfectionists;
  • Students may be exceptionally sensitive and have high expectations of themselves and others;
  • Students may already know much of the curriculum before it is presented;
  • Students may have excellent problem solving abilities;
  • Students think abstractly and may struggle with more concrete concepts.
  • Students may exhibit talent and intelligence in one or several areas including creativity, specific subject areas, leadership, psychomotor skills and the arts.

There is no standard identification method, so it is up to the school to decide how students are selected and identified for gifted programs. It is best to discuss specific criteria with your fellow educators and administrators.

Gifted and Talented Education

Gifted and talented education can occur in a number of forms. The NAGC describes some of the more common forms of gifted education:

  • Acceleration for individual students;
  • Grouping gifted students together;
  • “Curriculum compacting” to eliminate material that students already know;
  • Advanced placement of gifted students;
  • Implementing “pull-out programs” and special classes.

It is important that gifted and talented students are appropriately challenged in the classroom.  Without differentiation and gifted programs, students can become bored and disillusioned.  When education becomes a negative experience, their abilities are stifled and they are less likely to be successful in the future.  More behavioral challenges can also occur without the right environment. In order to tailor instruction appropriately, Intel recommends having students assume leadership roles and assist other students, extending the curriculum with enrichment activities and offering advanced versions of the curriculum.

 

Summer Programs for Gifted and Talented Kids

It’s almost that time of year again… No. it not the holidays,  it’s almost summer time…  and that means finding camps to entertain and perhaps educate your child.

Did you know that there are special camps for gifted and talented children?

The Center for Talented Youth began with a seventh grade boy from Baltimore who had exhausted all the options for math courses he could take at school by the time he was thirteen. Julian Stanley, a professor of psychology at Johns Hopkins University and the founder of the Center for Talented Youth, worked with this boy and his family to arrange access to challenging college math courses so the boy could continue to develop his academic talents and pursue his passion.

Today, CTY is accredited by the Middle States Association of College and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools, and its summer programs serve thousands of students each year. CTY students come from all fifty states and dozens of countries around the world. They come from all walks of life and a variety of educational backgrounds. While the scope of these gifted and talented programs has grown immensely, the goal remains the same: to allow highly able students to immerse themselves in their academic passions, to meet others like themselves, and to grow both intellectually and personally.

CTY’s gifted and talented summer programs offer bright students the opportunity to engage in challenging academic work in the company of peers who share their exceptional abilities and love of learning. While the focus is on rigorous academics and learning, the social experience that results from bringing these students together is an integral part of the program.

Summer 2018
Session 1:
June 24 – July 13 (all residential sites, except Santa Cruz and Seattle)
July 1 – July 20 (all domestic day sites, and the Santa Cruz and Seattle residential sites)
July 8 – July 27 (Hong Kong sites)
Session 2:
July 15 – August 3 (all residential sites except Santa Cruz and Seattle)
July 22 – August 10 (all domestic day sites, and the Santa Cruz and Seattle residential sites)
Summer 2018 Hong Kong sites
One session only:
July 8 – July 27
CTY’s 25 residential and day sites in the U.S. and Hong Kong serve thousands of students each year from all 50 states and dozens of countries around the world. Qualifying students come from all walks of life and a variety of educational backgrounds to spend three weeks immersing themselves in their academic passions, meeting others like themselves, and growing intellectually and personally. Class size is 12-18 students, and each class has a highly skilled instructor and a teaching assistant. Outside of class, students participate in a full and fun social program at all locations, from sports and games to talent shows and band practice.

How to apply?

Students who are interested in our gifted and talented summer programs must take the SCAT test to establish eligibility for the Young Students Program for students in grades 2-6.

Check the CTY website for test dates and summer camp application process:

*Source: CTY website

 

 

SCAT practice test ebook

Lot’s of activity on our blog by parents looking for SCAT Test information and sample questions.  Here’s a new ebook that just came out on Amazon – in our opinion one of the cheapest full length tests out there:

SCAT® Test Prep: School and College Ability Tests – Elementary Series

We believe that a child should have an understanding of what is expected of him or her on a test.  So for all the parents out there we can’t stress enough to just get all the information that you can get about your GAT test and give your child a chance to review the test format.   Usually workbooks are the best practice materials.  But most tests are actually administered on the computer.  So an e-book workbook might be a great option for practicing test questions.

Please see the sample questions offered on Amazon book preview.

Sample SCAT Test analogy practice questions

Analogies are a common test topic on many standardized placement tests.  And it turns out that analogies are not  just found in the SAT and ACT tests.  Your child will be tested on the topic of analogies as early as elementary school or even pre-school, if you are preparing for a kindergarten placement program.   It is never too early to get your child acquainted with analogies.  Try out these sample analogy questions, and check out some of the books available from our authors.

1.       blue : sky ::

A.    green :grass

B.    pink : color

C.    cat : pet

D.    cane : walk 

2.    straw : drink ::

A.    food : kitchen

B.    spoon : eat

C.    fork : knife

D.    ear : music  

3.    morning : breakfast ::

A.    juice : milk

B.    coat : hat

C.    evening : dinner

D.    lunch : taco

 4.    brother : boy ::

A.    family : happy

B.    sister : girl

C.    people : planet

D.    glasses : face  

5.    apple : fruit ::

A.    carrot : vegetable

B.    cloud : rain

C.    cold : hot

D.    strawberry : red  

6.    bird : feather ::

A.    finger : hand

B.    coat : hanger

C.    fish : scale

D.    man : face  

7.    large : small ::

A.    truck : bus

B.    coat : thread

C.    boat : water

D.    full : empty  

8.    all : none ::

A.    many : few

B.    one : two

C.    letter : number

D.    all : many  

9.    open : closed ::

A.    awake : asleep

B.    silly : smart

C.    sad : depressed

D.    happy : smile  

10.          bright : dark ::

A.    open : lid

B.    warm : hot

C.    rich : poor

D.    sky : sun

 

SCAT Test

A lot of the parents are starting to search the internet for any information that would help them decipher the test results that are hitting the mail.  Today’s post is dedicated to the SCAT test.  SCAT is used by the John Hopkins Center for the Talented Youth to screen applicants for the GAT offerings.

CTY uses three levels of the SCAT.  Below is the information on understanding your child’s score and how it compares to the peer population.

Students in grades 2-3 take the Elementary SCAT designed for students in grades 4-5.
Students in grades 4-5 take the Intermediate SCAT designed for students in grades 6-8.
Students in grades 6 and above take the Advanced SCAT designed for students in grades 9-12.

Because this is an above-grade-level test, after the test, you’ll receive information that shows how your child’s score compares to that of students in the higher grades for whom the test questions were originally designed.

SCAT Scaled Scores range from 401 to 514 depending on the level the student takes. Here are the ranges:

Elementary Level
Verbal Range = 401-471
Quantitative Range = 412-475

Intermediate Level
Verbal Range = 405-482
Quantitative Range = 419-506

Advanced Level
Verbal Range = 410-494
Quantitative Range = 424-514

This scaled score is based on the number of questions the student answers correctly out of the 50 scored questions in each section.

SCAT percentiles are used to compare students to the older population to whom the student will be compared. For example, Grade 2 students are compared to a general population of 4th graders and so on, as detailed below.

Grade 2 is compared to Grade 4
Grade 3 to Grade 5
Grade 4 to Grade 6
Grade 5 to Grade 8
Grade 6 to Grade 9
Grade 7 to Grade 12
Grade 8 to Grade 12

Check out Smarty Buddy SCAT Workbook on Amazon and the accompanying Smarty Buddy App.

Smarty Buddy SCAT Practice
Smarty Buddy SCAT Practice

Check out our App Demo for some of the questions in the Sequences Test:

Get your child ready for SCAT Test!!!

Smarty Buddy on Apple Itunes

Smarty Buddy on Google Play

Smarty Buddy on Kindle Devices

Earth Day Time Game

Earth Day Game
Earth Day Game

Check out this Earth Day time matching game.  All you need are tokens and dice.  See how fast you can match the digital time to the clock!