August 27, 2015

Student building Web ExportedSome of the Bay Area’s brightest students challenged themselves academically this summer while participating in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth camp at Nueva’s new Bay Meadows campus.

Nearly 200 students, in grades 2–6, wrote their own stories in a fantasy writing workshop, learned how to use microscopes, created inventions, participated in a model United Nations to learn parliamentary procedure, and built rockets after receiving a quick physics lesson.

“We advocate a lot of hands-on work,” site director Tya Washington said.

This is the first time the day program has been offered in the Bay Area, Washington said. The program identifies and develops the talents of the most advanced K–12 learners worldwide,” with the goal of “preparing students to make significant future contributions to our world,” according to its website.

Before being admitted to the program, the students were required to score in the 90th percentile on a standardized test in science, math, or social science.

“Most kids, if they qualify for one, they qualify across the board,” Washington said. “But there’s usually one area they’re interested in.”

Students then pick which class they want to take for one of two three-week sessions. Courses range from “Geometry and Spatial Sense” to “Through the Microscope” to “Writing Workshop: Modern Fantasy.”

In the invention class, students excitedly brainstormed different types of inventions one day — such as light bulbs, airplanes, and automobiles — before creating their own inventions. In years past, one student made a car seat and another disassembled a microwave to get parts for her own brainchild.

Upstairs in “Physics of Engineering,” students learned the equations needed to launch rockets and construct roller coasters.

Across the hall in “Numbers: Zero to Infinity,” campers were taught how to convert different scales of measurement systems.

Fifth-grader Annli Z., visiting the Nueva campus for the first time, said she chose the class because she likes solving problems.

“It’s more challenging than school,” Annli said. “I like the teacher.”

In addition to academics, the students also spent time building their social skills each day. Oftentimes these students are excluded and not a part of the “in crowd,” Washington said. At CTY, they could be themselves.

“They get to be these different, brilliant kids and be celebrated for it,” she said.



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