Pine Tree ISD 
K-4 Gifted and Talented Newsletter

STEM Challenges
Science Technology Engineering Math

G/T students kicked off the 2016-2017 school year, excited to explore new STEM challenges.  Although these activities are short in duration, STEM challenges are one of the most anticipated and highly requested of our learning opportunities!  As students tackle these challenges, not only are they honing critical thinking skills, but they are strengthening crucial skills of collaboration, communication, and team building as well.  

Our first challenge of the year was to create the longest chain possible with only one piece of construction paper, one pair of scissors, and twelve inches of painter's tape.  

The Paper Chain Challenge prompted powerful conversations about use of materials and time as well as how best to capitalize on the strengths of the team.  After reflecting upon their thinking and evaluating the execution of plans, students had the opportunity to revisit the challenge, restructuring teams and revising use of materials as needed. Students were surprised when comparing chain lengths from the first attempt to those of the second attempts.  One student remarked, "The second time we did the challenge, we were able to focus on greater progress because we had refined the process!"

Texas Performance Standards Project 

In alignment with the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students, PTISD identified G/T students in grades 1-4 will be provided differentiated instruction in the classroom and in pull-out sessions with the G/T Specialist.  During pull-out sessions, students will pursue cross-curricular learning experiences and research projects that are based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.  These projects, either independent or collaborative, focus on the foundational content areas of English language arts and reading, mathematics, science, and social studies.  Throughout this process, students employ critical thinking skills to synthesize, organize, and communicate information effectively, leading to the design and presentation of a final product. Students have both choice and voice in their projects.  For more information on the Texas Performance Standards Project, please visit http://www.texaspsp.org/ .

First Grade - Animal Nation
Students will study different animals to learn about their basic needs and the ecosystems in which they  live.  Students will select an animal to observe, describe, and research, predicting the future of the animal if  needs are not met.

Second Grade - The Ripple Effect:  The Study of Water
Students will learn about the properties of water and the issues regarding the quality and quantity of water  sources.  Students will investigate a solution for preserving the local water supply and brainstorm ways to promote conservation.

Third Grade - Mathematics in Nature
Students will explore mathematical patterns found in nature including tessellations, the golden ratio, the  Fibonacci sequence, and pi.  

  Fourth Grade - We Are Texans
 Students will explore the population groups that settled Texas and their contributions to  our state.  

PT Ponderments

" When I first started researching, I wrote down everything I was reading, even if it didn't go along with my topic.  Now I know that need to focus my search on information that is related to my subject.  I also know that I have to be able to understand the information well enough to share it with others."
~ Parkway Elementary 4th Grader

"I couldn't sleep last night because I knew we were  having GT today!" 
 ~ Birch Elementary 4th Grader