Elementary GATE

Fort Smith Public Schools

Fourth Quarter

Purpose of the GATE program:

The Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE) Provides enrichment and advanced learning opportunities in an ongoing process through which we develop the emerging strengths of each identified student in intellect, motivation, creativity, and leadership. By offering differentiated learning opportunities, we provide a rigorous academic environment to meet the educational needs of our advanced learners.

Stay connected with your child's GATE teacher through Google Classroom, Schoology or Protopage.

Meet our TEAM


During the fourth quarter, students are involved in technology. They have been given a choice of several projects to complete. They can create their own (approved) website, develop an online digital escape room, make a digital game, create a digital comic book, or make a stop motion movie!

It has been an amazing venture watching their minds at work creating something all their own!

During this quarter, students have also been given the opportunity to work with other technology. Read on to find out what!


The GATE students have been using the Sphero Bolt for programming. Sphero BOLT is a programmable robot ball measuring 2.9 inches in diameter that you can drive and code, which provides endless opportunities for students to be creative and have fun while developing fundamental STEM skills. It is fully translucent, so you can see all the circuitry and motors contained within.

When students create a new program, they can choose from three different types - Draw, Blocks, and Text. In the draw mode, you draw a line, and Bolt will follow it after you press Start. You can also change the movement speed and LED screen color. We had a great time playing Pictionary with the Bolts. It was more challenging than playing with paper and pencil!

Blocks uses the same Scratch-like coding interface that nearly every educational robot uses. You simply choose the function you want, drag and drop. You can make Bolt roll in a certain direction, change the LED colors, or create custom patterns/animations, play sounds, use variables, and more.

The last program type is 'Code,' where you can write programs for the Bolt in JavaScript. All of the same functionality from Blocks is present, but the goal here is to teach children how to use programming language syntax.

This will not be the only time we work with the Spheros. They will be incorporated into the lessons next year as well.

TELLO Drones

Look up! There may be a drone flying overhead taking pictures and videos from a bird's eye view.

Students are learning the ins and outs of our new TELLO Drones.This little drone sports an HD camera, intelligent flight modes, image stabilization, and a handful of sensors for stable flight.The programming uses a drag and drop feature similar to the Spheros. They can also use a simple remote control method. Can you fly through a hula-hoop and land on a designated spot? What about a flip, loop or other acrobatic movement? GATE students are learning how to do all of those things!

Big picture


Turing Tumble has become one of the favorite activities in GATE. It is a game where players build mechanical computers powered by marbles to solve logic puzzles. It allows students to see how a computer functions. It teaches coding strategy as well as abstract concepts like binary operations in a fun way.

There are 30 puzzles woven into a comic story where each puzzle brings Alia, the space engineer, closer to being rescued from a forgotten planet.

If you would like to experience the online version, you can! This website, Tumble Together, was developed by Richard Twilton, in order to help his nephew learn with his Turing Tumble remotely during the pandemic. It is the website we use with our virtual students.



We have been competing in quiz bowl across the district this quarter. With our new iPads, students are using an online program called Quizbowl Pro to challenge each other. This has allowed us to connect to different GATE classrooms for some friendly (and sometimes very competitive) competition.

The pandemic hasn't stopped us from engaging our students in meaningful ways!

Students in Action

The elementary GATE students have participated in various activities this quarter. We wanted to share some of the exciting things that have gone on in our different classrooms.