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!
Space: The Final Frontier!
The sixth grade GT students have recently been learning about space exploration. Their final challenge was to design a scientific research base on Mars. They were given certain limitations, such as being limited to seven pods, along with requests from various directors working under them. In creating their layouts, they had to consider the overall functionality of the base while also considering the needs of their team members. Some created hyperlinks from each pod on their map that led to Docs with more information about what would be going on in that pod. Finally, they had to present their plans to the class and justify their choices. Overall, we learned a lot about leadership, space exploration, and, specifically, the challenges that colonizing Mars poses. Here are a few examples of students' plans!
The fifth grade GT students recently studied Newton's Laws, and they built mousetrap racers to demonstrate them. One of the best parts of the project is actually testing their creations and chasing the school record for the longest distance traveled by a mousetrap racer! The record was set during the 2016-2017 school year by Ryan Griffin when his car traveled an astounding 137 feet! Last year, it almost fell when two racers, Jake Bell and Ana Mytnik, tied in their attempts at 125 feet 4 inches.
This year, our racers took a crack at it, but fell short of the overall record. Our champion this year is Casey Reap (photo to right) whose car traveled 85 feet 3 inches! The second place car belonged to Annabelle Nikolouzos who registered 48 feet 9 inches, and Ally Smith was third with 45 feet 3 inches. Casey's distance puts him fourth on the all-time race list behind present senior Mikki Pomatto!
After the racing was complete, the students presented oral reports discussing the many aspects of the project and talking about how their racer demonstrates Newton's Laws of motion. They also had the opportunity to give Miss Hunt suggestions on how to improve the project. Overall, the students were very positive in their feedback and highly recommend this project for the fourth grade GT students next year!
Fifth Grade teacher, Mrs. Brennan, follows a racer with her Chromebook so the virtual students can watch the races!
2020-2021 Mousetrap Racer Champ, Casey Reap
2nd place racer Annabelle Nikolouzos
Escape Room Fun!
The GT students at Davenport and Slaybaugh have been busy problem solving and thinking critically while building their own virtual escape rooms using Google Slides and Forms. At Davenport, each student was able to create their own theme, Google Slides with links for each of four tasks, and their own Google Form to open the locks. The Escape Rooms were tested out by our GT students who had fun with each others’ challenges, and then shared with all Davenport 3rd grade teachers on our GT Escape Room Google Sites to use with their classes.
Third graders at Slaybaugh enjoyed playing the virtual escape rooms created by the GT students. The games were shared with the classes in live meets. During the meets, students worked together to successfully find the clues, answer the questions, and “break out” in under 30 minutes. The escape room themes were varied and had exciting titles such as, “The Sunken Ship”, “Pixelated Wormhole”, “Kittens Lost in Space”, “Escape the Future”, “Pet Shop Problems”, "Sharkquarium” and “Sewer Escape”
Congratulations to all on a job well done!
Outback Opal Hunters
As part of our study of Rocks and Minerals, the 4th grade GT students went to Australia and learned about opals! Alter learning that Australia is home to over 90% of the world's opals, the students dug up other facts to find out why. Over 140 million years ago, Australia was covered in places by an inland sea, and this contributed to the formation of the opal. Though there are a few other locations in the world where opals are found, Australia is home to black, white, crystal, boulder, fire, and matrix opals. There are also opalized fossils that can be found there as well.
To share information about Australia's opals, students created informational posters using LucidPress. Check out some of their work to learn more about this fascinating gem!
Swift GT Students Are Taking Off with Aviation!
GT students at Swift are learning about aviation. They started by listing things that launch. Then, they were tasked with making a pom-pom launcher using only the materials they were given. They shared their launchers on Flipgrid. To view, click their qr code below. Then, they completed a WebQuest on the history of aviation as well as having fun with a number of simulations.
Students also learned the importance of thrust, drag, gravity, and lift as it pertains to flying. As new concepts are learned, the Jamboard gets filled in under “what we learned” including Bernoulli’s Principle.
Next up is paper airplanes. Students will test out some of the more basic designs first before moving on to the more advanced ones. Finally, they’ll design and fly their original design of an airplane. Here’s some of their work below.
Scenes from Origami
The fifth grade GT students have been working on a learning unit involving the ancient art of paper folding, otherwise known as origami. Their culminating activity for the first part of the unit was to create a tableau, display, or diorama around a theme of their choice. Topics included "Up in the air", the ocean, forest animals, dinosaurs, holidays, and more. The students could use whatever they wanted to create their backdrop, and they had to have a minimum of six pieces of origami. This project is inspired by one that is done each semester by students in Dr. Norma Boakes's math class at Stockton University. Their creativeness and hard work was evident in the results!
The Ultimate Modular Origami Project!
The fifth grade GT students learned about another type of origami called modular origami. Modular origami or unit origami is a paper-folding technique which uses two or more sheets of paper to create a larger and more complex structure than would be possible using single-piece origami techniques. Each individual sheet of paper is folded into a module, or unit, and then modules are assembled into an integrated flat shape or three-dimensional structure by inserting flaps into pockets created by the folding process. These insertions create tension or friction that holds the model together.
Students also learned that origami techniques are utilized by scientists and engineers to develop new ideas and solve problems. Examples include the Starshade in production by NASA, a bulletproof shield for law enforcement, and an airbag that is used in cars.
For this project, the students were tasked with choosing and creating two pieces of modular origami. They created things such as a cube, a tetrahedron, a stellated octahedron, a transforming star and a fidget spinner. They then had to submit a video explaining what they made and explain the process. Check out the photos and see what a great job everyone did!
From time to time, we will spotlight our EHT GT alumni and share their successes after leaving our program! If any families would like to share an update on their children who participated in the GT program for future inclusion in the Alumni Spotlight, please contact Miss Hunt or Mr. Warner. We would love to hear from you!
Our spotlight this month will shine on the Pomatto family which had two children participate in the Gifted program while in EHT.
The Pomatto Family - submitted by Mrs. Mindy Pomatto
Since being a part of the Gifted and Talented program, the love for learning that was instilled in our daughters Mya and Mikki over the years by amazing Egg Harbor Township educators has set the foundation for some great accomplishments as both of our girls have carried those priceless lessons with them far beyond their intermediate school years.
Mya finished her high school career with an overall GPA of 4.7 (top 3% of her class) while actively participating in Key Club, varsity basketball and varsity track and field. Academically, Mya was both a National Junior Honor Society and National Honor Society member for multiple years. Athletically, as a 12 year old softball athlete, Mya’s team finished 3rd overall in the Softball World Series in Maryland. In high school, Mya was a “4 year” 1st Team All Cape Atlantic League All-Star in Track and Field for the javelin throw. She was a sectional champion and finished her senior year 10th in the state of NJ in the javelin. Mya qualified for the New Balance Nationals every year of her career in the javelin and also qualified for the Penn Relays multiple years. As a result of this javelin career, Mya was recruited by several prestigious schools including the University of Pennsylvania.
Upon her graduation, Mya received $4,000 dollars in local scholarships as well as the highest academic scholarship offered to out-of-state recipients by the University of South Florida totaling $50,000 over 4 years. Mya is a member of the honors college at USF and was accepted into their nursing program. Currently, she is working on graduating with honors and a nursing degree while looking forward to pursuing a graduate degree. During her first semester at USF, Mya finished up with a 4.0 GPA.
Mikki has been the President of her class since 7th grade and is currently the President of her senior class. Academically, Mikki was both a National Junior Honor Society and National Honor Society member. She is a three sport Varsity letter athlete while maintaining an overall high school career GPA of 4.6 (top 3% of her class). Athletically, Mikki has been named a 1st Team All Cape Atlantic League All-Star multiple years in both Cross Country and Track and Field. She was named County Champion in both the 800 meter relay and the discus. Mikki has also qualified for the prestigious Penn Relays and New Balance Nationals multiple years for her efforts in the Discus throw. Currently, Mikki is Ranked #1 in the State of NJ in the discus throw.
Mikki is currently being recruited by prestigious institutions including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northeastern University, Amherst College, Ursinus College, Kenyan College, and Washington and Lee University. In addition, Ursinus College has offered her their highest academic scholarship totaling $140,000 over 4 years. Mikki plans on participating in Track and Field while studying for a biology/pre-medical degree and plans to commit to her college/university of choice in the coming months.
14th Annual Spelling Bee
The Miller School will hold its 14th Annual Spelling Bee as follows:
Cohort V - Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Cohort A - Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Cohort B - Thursday, January 28, 2021
Championship - Friday, January 29, 2021
Because of Covid protocols, no spectators will be allowed to attend. The Scripps National Spelling Bee has launched an online testing platform that will be utilized for online students, and those in school will compete in person.
We were notified that our area does not have no local sponsor this year. Therefore, the Miller School has the opportunity to take part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee's new at-large competition. Our school spelling bee champion will advance to the 2021 Region Two At-Large Regional Spelling Bee, which will be administered via online test. The Region Two At-Large Regional Spelling Bee champion will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee national finals in the summer of 2021.