GT Times

June, 2020

Welcome to the newsletter of the Gifted and Talented Department for the Egg Harbor Township School District! This newsletter will be published once per month, and you will find information about all of the fantastic activities we do with our students. We will also post upcoming events and important dates at the bottom along with links to each of our web pages. Enjoy!

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This year's virtual competition for students from Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware is one of the oldest and largest science fairs in the country.

Three 6th grade GT students, Easton Dilks, Aidan Federico, and Carmella Werleman, recently participated in the 72nd annual Delaware Valley Science Fair. They competed virtually against other winning projects from regional science fairs held all over New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The students digitally submitted all of their written documents, lines of code or spreadsheets with data, a laboratory notebook, and photos to be evaluated by judges who are professionals in their fields. When the awards were finally posted, Carmella received Honorable Mention in the category of Earth and Space Science, while Easton received FIRST PLACE in the category of Computer Science! This means Easton had the top middle school computer science project in the entire Delaware Valley!

All three of the students have also qualified to move on and compete in Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars), which is the premier nation-wide STEM competition for middle school students in the United States.

Carmella, Aidan, and Easton qualified for the Delaware Valley Science Fair by earning 1st place in their categories at the (virtual) Jersey Shore Science Fair, which was held in March and run by Stockton University. In that fair, Carmella received 1st place in Earth and Space Science for her project Number the Stars. For her project, she went to different locations and determined the correlation between the amount of light pollution in a given area and the number of stars that were visible there.

Aidan's project, entitled project How will the Time that Food is in Contact With a Kitchen Floor Affect Bacteria Growth?, earned 1st place in Microbiology at Jersey Shore. In it, he placed apple slices on his kitchen floor for varying amounts of time, swabbed them, cultured the bacteria in petri dishes, and then compared the amount and types of bacterial growth.

Easton placed first in Computer Science for his project entitled Identifying a User's Emotional State Through Machine Learning and Responding Empathetically with Voice Recognition Technology.​He first used machine learning to "teach" a computer to recognize the difference between a happy and an upset face. The program was then able to recognize the emotions of the user and offer appropriate responses based on their detected mood. He finally coded the different responses the user could choose using Alexa and Voiceflow's voice recognition technology. Continued development of his work could lead to some really interesting and helpful real-world applications with people who are lonely or homebound, who have social anxiety, or who have difficulty recognizing or expressing emotions, to name just a few.

CONGRATULATIONS to all three of you! We're all incredibly proud of you, and best of luck to you at the next level of competition.

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Miller Students Nationally Recognized in WordMaster Challenge!

Two teams representing Dr. Joyanne D. Miller School recently earned Highest Honors in the 2019-2020 WordMasters Challenge™—a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 125,000 students annually. The fifth-grade team scored an impressive 187 points out of a possible 200 in the last of three meets this year, placing eighth in the nation. In addition, the fourth-grade team scored 188 in the recent meet to place ninth nationwide.

Competing in the very difficult Gold Division of the WordMasters Challenge™, fourth grader Nalani Carter and fifth grader Mirabelle Colombo each earned a perfect score of 20 in the recent meet. Nationally, only 39 fourth graders and 39 fifth graders achieved this result!

Other students at Dr. Joyanne D. Miller School who achieved outstanding results in the last meet of the year include fourth graders Lucy Cochrane, Parker Devine, Emma Flynn and Preston Pahang, scoring an impressive 19 out of 20. Fifth graders Daniel Crawford, Julia Dioguardo, Devjeet Ghosh, Logan Johansson and Lia McClaren equaled that mark. Several students scored 18 out of 20 including fourth graders Angelina Calcese, Josh Colella, Abby DeCosta, Logan Duong, Joseph Hoang, and Shrey Nandi. Fifth graders reaching this mark include Franky Carroll, Addison Lambert, Malcom Santiago Vazquez, and Jaz Steed.

The students were coached in preparation for the WordMasters Challenge™ by Miller School 4th and 5th grade Gifted and Talented Teacher, Miss Kelly Hunt.

The WordMasters Challenge™ is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words (considerably harder than grade level), and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships. Working to solve the analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically. Although most vocabulary enrichment and analogy-solving programs are designed for use by high school students, WordMasters Challenge™ materials have been specifically created for younger students in grades three through eight. They are particularly well suited for children who are motivated by the challenge of learning new words and enjoy the logical puzzles posed by analogies.

The WordMasters Challenge™ program is administered by a company based in New Jersey, which is dedicated to inspiring high achievement in American schools. Further information is available at the company’s website:

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International MOEMS Recognition at Miller School

Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, students in the Accelerated Math classes at the Miller School competed in the international Math Olympiad for Elementary and Middle Schools (MOEMS) competition with over 160,000 students in over 35 countries and six continents worldwide. The Math Olympiad gives students problems to solve "that involve non-routine problems with multiple solution paths" according to the MOEMS website. They participated in five monthly contests that consisted of five math problems each that had to be solved in a set period of time. These problems were unusual and difficult problems where students had to employ learned math strategies and think creatively to solve them.

Miss Hunt, PICO (Person In Charge of the Olympiad) for the Math Olympiad teams at Miller, is pleased to announce the top performers at the Miller School: Joseph Hoang (grade 4) and Dan Nguyen (grade 5). These two students along with Romelo Daniels, Andrew Golley, James Nixon, Kadie Parker, Destiny Abreu, Jake Bell, Ana Mytnik, and Kenny Tran also placed within the top 20% of all participants internationally! Congratulations to them as well as their classmates for participating in this rigorous international competition! Congratulations also goes out to their teachers: Mr. Conley, Mr. McClain, and Mrs. Nhan for working with and preparing the students for these competitions throughout the year!

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Meet and Greet for 3rd Grade GT

Throughout the week of June 8th to 12th, the 3rd Grade GT students took part in an unique opportunity. Due to our present reality of virtual learning, students were able to participate in a Google Meet with 4th and 5th grade GT teacher, Miss Hunt. After briefly introducing herself to students, Miss Hunt took questions about Miller School and the Miller GT program. It was very informative for all participants and a great way to introduce and help transition the students to 4th grade at Miller!

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Electrifying Work!

The students in Mrs. Sooy's GT class at Swift School learned about electricity. They watched a variety of videos, followed a webquest, and participated in Google Meets.Then it was time for simulating circuits. They first started with a simple circuit. Their circuit needed to have an energy source, a resistor (light bulb), switch and wires. The switch was required so they could control the flow of electricity. Then they created series and parallel circuits. They used a simulated voltmeter to show the voltage of their circuit. Below are some samples of their work.

Circuits constructed by Julian (top, right), Maddie, Franco, and Michelle pictured below.

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Legal Eagles!

Slaybaugh GT students have started their study of the legal system. Students utilized varied resources to understand the differences between civil and criminal court proceedings. We collaborated to compare and contrast the two types of trials in our Zoom meeting. Students then developed examples of civil cases. We really enjoyed discussing the imagined case scenarios involving members of our school community!

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Petrologists in the Making!

The study of rocks is called petrology. The 4th grade GT students don't realize it, but they are definitely petrologists in the making! Through their Rock Hounds unit, they have been digging into the world of rocks and minerals! For this project, students were tasked with choosing a rock or mineral and supplying the following information about it:

1. Name of rock or mineral

2. For rocks, is it igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic?

3. If it is an igneous rock, also tell if it is intrusive or extrusive.

4. If it is a sedimentary rock, also tell if it is clastic or non-clastic.

5. If it is a metamorphic rock, also tell if it is foliated or nonfoliated.

6.If it is a mineral, also tell what common colors are for it.

7. Besides the above, give four additional important facts and at least three photos.

Check out some of their great work!

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Davenport PEP 2.0 Air and Motion Challenge

Pep 2.0 with Mrs. Pettit had second-grade students at Davenport participating in Pep STEM challenges on Air & Motion. Many accepted and created paper airplanes, helicopters, and airplane hoopsters. So much fun while learning about Air & Motion!

The plane Alura Owens created (photo 1) went 3 1/2ft. When Alaura squared off the nose, the plane flew farther. Alaura thinks the plane went further because the air went over the plane instead of through it. With the pointy nose the air went into the triangle part keeping yhe plane from gliding farther.

The next photo shows an airplane created by Nina Oglesby. Nina said, "I had so much fun doing this experiment!" Nina created two planes, and measured it by using her feet. The first plane went the distance of 9 of my footsteps. The 2nd plane went 23 of her footsteps. Nina concluded after her test flights that, "My second plane went further because it was folded differently and it had a stronger tip and my strategy of how I threw it."

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Opal Hunters

The 4th grade GT students from the Miller School have been working on a unit entitled Rock Hounds. One of the mini projects they recently completed was based on the Discovery Channel show called "Outback Opal Hunters" that Miss Hunt recently watched!

After learning that it takes upwards to 110 MILLION years for opals to form and that over 90% of the Earth's opals are found in Australia, the students had to do a little "digging" of their own to create posters about opals.

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Earth Day Engineering Design Challenge

For Earth Day, Davenport GT students explored Nat Geo Kids and participated in a STEAM Challenge to create something to better the Earth. Students used their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to fabricate recycled paper, self-watering plant pots, recycled t-shirt tote bags, and even a drainage pipe strainer to collect pollution from traveling into our oceans! The future's looking brighter with the students’ ideas to make the Earth a better place!

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Sharing Cultures

The GT students at Davenport have been working virtually on their cultural heritage, doing research, and creating projects to share the information with others. So far, we’ve learned about Puerto Rico, Honduras, Pakistan, and the Philippines, to name a few!

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Covid-19 Stories

The 4th and 5th grade students were invited to share their experiences with the Covid-19 related shutdown of school and how it impacted their lives. Lynn Wood, historian of the Greate Egg Harbor Township Historical Society, reached out to Miss Hunt requesting that the students participate in an effort by the Society to create a book about this time in our history. After posing a "Question to Ponder" to the students, their responses were overwhelming! Students were also asked to submit photos of their time under the governor's "stay at home" order to show what they did and how they adapted to this experience. All contributions were proofread by Miss Hunt and then submitted to the society. She also renamed each photo submission so students were able to be identified, and future generations will know what we experienced during this pandemic. Check with the Greate Egg Harbor Township Historical Society later this summer to find out when the book is available!

Photos included show students doing virtual learning (above, row one); gardening became popular during the stay at home order (above, row two) as well as arts and crafts, drawing and puzzles (below, row one) cooking and outdoor activities (below, row two).

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Graphing Mineral Magic!

Do you know the elements that account for close to 99% of the key components of all minerals found in the Earth's crust? Well, the 4th grade GT students can fill you in! After studying the Periodic Table of Elements and learning how to read it, the students focused in on these elements for their Rock Hounds unit. They learned that there are eight elements that are key components. They are oxygen, silicon, aluminium, iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. Once they found them, they had to create a pic chart to visually display their percentages. The students did an excellent job using Google Sheets to create their graphs!

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Miller GT Goes Interactive!

The 4th and 5th grade GT students at Miller School finished their learning units with a lot of pizzazz! In 4th grade, the students wrapped up a unit on Rocks and Minerals. The 5th graders participated in the annual Civil War project that normally culminates in Civil War Day where they would present live, interactive lessons to the entire 5th grade at Miller.

Since we have been learning virtually, Miss Hunt had to figure out a way for the students to showcase their hard work and knowledge to fit the platform. After seeing a website that allowed the user to create an interactive document, she began researching how she could have the students do the same thing with the tools we have. After a lot of experimentation, Miss Hunt figured out how to use Google Slides, Docs, Google Drawing and LucidPress so the students could make interactive presentations.

Now, the task was how to explain it to the students via computer. To do this, Miss Hunt first created several samples. Then, she made multiple "How To" videos and posted them on her YouTube channel to share with the students. Besides doing the research on their project, the students had to embed links into their project that would allow users to click on them to be taken to additional information they found in their research, websites, etc. about the topic.

After just over two weeks of research and work, the students turned in their finished products, and they were awesome! Some of them even came up with other platforms to use to create their projects! Congratulations and well done to all of the students!

To see samples of their work, click on the links below. They are a work in progress, so be sure to check back in the coming weeks!

Civil War 2020 Extras

Rock Hounds Project 2020 Extras

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Thank you for a GREAT school year! Stay safe and enjoy your summer!

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Click the link below for our individual web pages. Contact information for each teacher is found on their sites.

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