SIGnificant News

Summer Institute for the Gifted at Boston University Academy

This week's newsletter is going to focus on what is happening in the classrooms here at SIG. Read on to learn more!

Online Design: Untangling the Web

In Online Design, students have been working on creating a list of regulations that should be followed when using the internet. These are their guidelines:

Online Design: Code of Conduct

- Do not cyber-bully (e.g. Say mean or untrue things about others)

- Do not give out your own or anyone else's personal information.

- Don't trust or meet with anyone you meet online.

- Don't plagiarize or pirate online content.

- Don't post anything inappropriate.

- Never go to new websites or create profiles without adult permission.

Remember using the internet is a privilege not a right!

AI: Animal Intelligence at Your Service

In Animal Intelligence, the students have been studying dogs. They've learned different jobs they do, how to train them, and how they act when they are feeling submissive, assertive, dominant or aggressive! On Friday, July 18, the class had a therapy dog come to visit. The students were all so excited to visit with a real live dog, and special thanks to Natascha the Program Assistant, who is the canine's owner.

Speaking, Writing, Empowering!

In Speaking, Writing, Empowering!, students were introduced to speech writing by being asked to write a speech that introduced themselves to their classmates. Abigail Bundy wanted to make sure that her peers understood her love of poetry, and decided there would be no better way than to include a poem in her speech. She performed the speech very enthusiastically, creating a unique interpretation of what it means to write and perform a speech.

The Boring Speech by Abigail Bundy

I wasn't listening?

What do you mean?

OK, I was chewing

On a bean

But who would've

Listened to every word?

Not me,

Not her!

It's quite absurd

To think I would've


To every phrase


Get out of your

Cloudy daze!

Simple Machines: Complex Designs

In Simple Machines, students are constructing inclined planes for marbles and toy cars.

What's The Point

In What's the Point? the students have begun to explore verbal and nonverbal skills used in debates. They've practiced several "on-the-spot" debates, and have researched and prepared with teams for one debate as well.

The Curious Chemist: Chemistry in our Daily Lives

In Curious Chemist, students explore the principles of chemistry using the tools and methods of science. Each day involves a new experiment, vocabulary, the scientific method and "What happens when..." questions. Students are learning the importance of lab safety, making observations, following a procedure and making conclusions about chemical reactions and physical changes that occur in their every day lives.

Our experiments have included: paper towel bridges, sorting & classifying M&Ms; watching diet coke fountains; making slime; growing crystals; exploring polymers; making the perfect bubble; creating chromatography butterflies; identifying physical and chemical changes in matter and building density columns. In our first week, we interviewed a scientist in real-time over the internet to answer the question “What is a Scientist?” On Monday, we will be going on a field trip to an organic chemistry lab to learn more about chromatography. Next week, we will explore physical changes in more detail when we make ice cream.

Dinosaurs: Fact, Fiction and Fossils

In Dinosaurs, we have been comparing herbivores and carnivores, exploring how fossils are made, and have even made some of our own "fossils!" Many students know a lot of names of dinosaurs, and we are enjoying learning about some of the adaptations (like plates, frills, or flat teeth) that help dinosaurs survive.

Advertising Smarts

In Advertising Smarts, students are creating advertisements for the Quicksilver Surfing Tournament and Concert. After reviewing how advertising has changed over the years, they are using their new skills to create advertisements for Quicksilver that will draw the attention of all who see them. The students are broken up in groups that focus on specific areas of the advertisement: media and print ads, concert PR and surfing competition PR.

Fun with Newtonian Physics

In Physics, students design, build and test models to learn about Newton's Laws of Motion and the features and properties of objects in motion. Students explored experimental design by building paper helicopters. They discovered conservation of energy including potential, kinetic and frictional energies by building a model roller coaster in class. The challenge was to build a coaster with obstacles that would conserve energy so that the marble coaster moved smoothly without stopping to the end. Students are building air pressure “stomp” rockets to learn about the forces on a rocket . The challenge is to utilize Newton's Second Law of Motion to make the rocket go farthest and highest. Next week, students will explore Newton's third law by building cars utilizing a variety of propulsion systems.

Storm Chasers: The Science of Weather

In Storm Chasers, students constructed anemometers to measure wind speed. We then looked at how the Earth is heated unevenly and experiment with the heating of land and water. Students built a “weather-themed” Rube Goldberg machine to show how the Sun, atmosphere, water, oceans, water cycle and land all work together to create our global weather system. After learning about tornadoes, students are currently building a large model of a city to simulate an F4 tornado disaster. Students will create a video of the disaster preparations, the disaster and it's aftermath. Next week, students will build a model of a tornado intercept vehicle and learn more about the science behind storm chasing. After a scavenger hunt, we will simulate the effects of a hurricane on the lawn outside of our SIG classroom.

Planetary Science: Putting the 'U' in Universe

In Planetary Science, students have been exploring the universe through various methods. They have learned about the dangers that space holds, as well as some of important space theories. One theory they have discussed frequently is the possibility of life on other planets. The students have decided that the universe is so vast and diverse that there must be life elsewhere. They came to the conclusion that either the life forms are not aware of our existence or they are aware but are hesitant to make contact. The students then created a planet with other life forms and decided which category it fell into.

Rock, Minerals, and Crystals: Earth's Treasures

In Rocks, Minerals, and Crystals, students are learning about the different molecular structures of minerals and crystals. They simulated a crystal molecule with marshmallows and toothpicks. Students then tried to put all the structures all together to create a complete crystal form of a mineral, which proved to be difficult to do with marshmallows.

Rain Forests: Tropical Treasures

Students use their knowledge of rain forests to create a rain forest collage.