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Robots, gems, space, skeletons … hands-on kids’ science from college profs at C-MITES

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March10/ 2011

Gifted and other high-achieving students aren’t always challenged by their everyday school projects, notes Ann Shoplik, director of C-MITES — the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary and Secondary Students. The program’s spring Weekend Workshops bring these students together from all over Allegheny County for such classes as “Build a Robot,” “Ice Cream Science,” “Inside the Beehive” and “Neuroscience and the Learning Brain.” And that’s important, Shoplik says, because “research has shown us that gifted students learn better when they are grouped with other gifted students, both academically and socially.”

Classes are also fun — and a rare opportunity for younger children to learn from university professors, in many cases, and use university software, tools and facilities, such as CMU’s machine shop and mechanical engineering software.

Robotics class students, for instance, use the Lego Mindstorm robot-building kits but also work with the CMU Robotics Institute professor who has developed the Institute curriculum. “That’s not something they can just get out of a box at a toy store,” Shoplik notes.

To see available classes, just click on “View classes with openings” on the C-MITES spring course website. Summer programs should be clickable soon on the website as well. C-MITES serves 5,000 kids a year, with additional offerings in Philadelphia and elsewhere in the state.

 

“There are just a handful of university programs for gifted students in the country,” Shoplik notes. “Pittsburgh is lucky to have such a program right here.”

 

Writer: Marty Levine

Source: Ann Shoplik, C-MITES

Image courtesy of Ann Shoplik, director of C-MITES

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