Challenge Your Advanced Learner 
with Environmental Science Investigations

Spring and summer are a great time for everyone to explore the world around them. Advanced learners often have strong interests in the environment and sustainability, interests that may lead to advocacy and deep concern about the world around them.   Helping your advanced learner investigate their surroundings can open the door to develop many talents.
Environmental science is the interdisciplinary study of the natural world, bringing together physics, biology, chemistry and information technology. Environmental studies may also include anthropology, economics, ethics, geography and much more.
Young learners might set up a backyard weather station and record and compare weather data. Slightly older learners might examine and classify the flora (plants) and fauna (animals) in their neighborhood, learning which species are native and if any are endangered. Some learners make their first foray into advocacy around environmental issues- working to improve a bicycle path or a recycling program.

Help your child use the scientific method in their investigations by
  • Making detailed observations of the world around them and thinking of interesting questions based on these observations.
  • Formulating hypotheses based on these questions and observations
  • Developing testable predictions
  • Gathering data to test the prediction
  • Creating a general theory to explain what they've seen.
Local resources like the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, the UW Arboretum and nearby state and local parks are great places to continue environmental explorations. There are also many online resources including
Pulse of the Planet offers a 2- minute online radio portraits of Planet Earth using interviews and natural sound. 
Green Map System is an online map making tool that children can use to record the environmental and cultural state of their community. 
CLEAN (Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network) has over 700 free, ready to use educational resources on climate and energy 


Information in this article is adapted from Using Environmental Science Investigations to Challenge Gifted Children, Dr. Stephen Schroth Parenting for High Potential, March 2018

Advanced Learners and Sports
Finding an enjoyable, exciting and engaging sport for your advanced learner can be a balancing act. Some advanced learners may shy away from physical activities because they have poor fine or gross motor skills, or because they have asynchronously developed intellectual skills far ahead of their social and emotional skills or physical maturity. In Sports that Work for Gifted Children, author Scott Lutostanski suggests you consider 5 factors when you're looking for the right fit for your advanced learner:
Physical Ability
How much athleticism and coordination is required and what is my child's ability level?
Social Ability
What is the level of social interaction and how much communicating is involved in participating? Has my child developed the communication skills he or she needs?
Emotional Ability
Is my child able to handle success, failure and challenge? How does he or she cope?
Individual vs Individual Team vs Team activities
Would my child do better working alone? Would being with teammates be beneficial or too challenging?
How will my child react to an activity with lots of spectators or that has a high level of competition? Are there tryouts that cut some children from the team?

Whatever you and your child decide, remember that everyone has a learning curve in a new sport or activity!  Help your child track his or her skill improvements to support a growth mindset!
Summer Enrichment!  
Many popular summer courses, camps and other activities in the Madison area are already open for registration or will open soon!   Check out our website for a preview of summer opportunities, including UW programs around the state,  WCATY programs for students in grades 4-12, Northwestern Center for Talent Development programs and more! We'll be updating these links, so check back often!  The information is on the
 right side of the page; you may need to scroll down.
Check out summer enrichment programs through Oregon Community Ed & Rec, too! Summer classes, workshops and week-long half-day camps in art, drama, engineering, chess and more!