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Morning Sun
  • USD 250 gifted students attend problem solving event

  • Many of USD 250's smartest students packed the gymnasium at George Nettels Elementary School on Friday for the district's annual Problem Solving Day.

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  • Many of USD 250's smartest students packed the gymnasium at George Nettels Elementary School on Friday for the district's annual Problem Solving Day.
    The activity, which has taken place each year for more than 10 years, brings together the gifted students from each of the elementary schools, as well as some of the gifted students from Pittsburg High School.
    During the event, groups of students spend time at several different stations working on problem-solving activities, as well as strategy-based activities such as chess.
    Carole Rink, elementary gifted facilitator, said the event is conducted each year to allow the gifted students an opportunity to work at a pace different from the traditional classroom setting.
    "Gifted students will grasp a concept, even if it's a new concept, often in five to 10 minutes," she said. "For average kids, it may take a half an hour or an hour. Gifted children just get it so much more rapidly. This program gives them an opportunity to work at their own fast pace."
    Students at the event were challenged in various activities, such as trying to build the tallest tower and trying to build a boat that would hold the most golf balls. Many of the groups were comprised of students from different schools. Rink said working in groups helped build team-building leadership skills.
    "Gifted kids sometimes tend to be real good chiefs and leaders, but they don't always follow well," she said. "So this is a chance to help them learn how to do that."
    The teamwork aspect is what many of the students said they liked best.
    "I like it because we all get to work together and all of the other schools are here, so we get to work with them, also," Corbin Russell, fourth-grader at GNE, said.
    Derek Brumbaugh, a fifth-grade student at GNE, said he enjoyed the way his group worked together.
    "I really like this team aspect," he said. "We've been working really well together. We have good chemistry and we've been doing really good."
    Isaiah Harris, a fourth-grade student at Lakeside, said the event is a good way to meet new friends.
    "It's really fun because we get to see people we haven't met before," he said. "We make good friends and we all have different ideas."
    The gifted students who volunteer to work the event help guide the students during the various activities. Beth Gilbert, gifted resource teacher at PHS, said the students learn valuable leadership skills by taking part in the event.
    "It really is an opportunity for them to show leadership skills and guide the kids without giving answers," Gilbert said. "The high school students are there not to complete the activities or show them how to do it, but to offer a different perspective and guide the elementary students toward a solution."
    Page 2 of 2 - Rink said there are 74 gifted elementary students in the district. Pittsburg Community Middle School and PHS both have approximately 60 gifted students. Rink said students are labeled as gifted based on achievement scores and an IQ exam.
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