Students entering kindergarten through 10th grade will have the chance to explore subjects not taught in their everyday school classrooms when they attend this summer’s Threshold program at Hardin-Simmons University.
What makes us laugh: a study on creating humor is just one of several intriguing subjects gifted and talented students will study during the July Threshold sessions at HSU’s Irvin School of Education.
Hardin-Simmons University began offering the Threshold workshop for students beginning kindergarten through 10th grade more than 30 years ago. Threshold has been recognized throughout the state as an exemplary enrichment program, providing challenges for students whose abilities enable them to benefit from experiences beyond those provided by the regular school program.
“Few universities provide classes that enrich and challenge students beginning at such a young age,” says Dr. Mary Christopher, associate dean of Irvin School of Education and professor of educational studies.
Christopher came to HSU in 1995 after having taught gifted children for 15 years in Oklahoma and Kentucky, and continues as a crusader for gifted and talented children, saying, “About a third of all gifted students will drop out of high school.”
That stunning statistic is compounded even further by the fact that many gifted students continue to drop out even after high school she says. “Of the ones who go to college, about a third of them will drop out after the first year.
“We are letting some of our best minds go unchallenged, never reaching their full potential. Our schools are geared to meet the needs of the majority, who are average students. The gifted ones get bored and sometimes just quit,” says Christopher.
Those statistics are the very reasons behind the summer program that Hardin-Simmons University has been conducting for the last three decades.
The summer enrichment program for gifted children provides an opportunity for children entering kindergarten through 10th grade to explore topics with intriguing names like Hunger Games and Go Big or Go Home.
Christopher says, “Teachers in the summer Threshold program have a wealth of experience in gifted education and most hold a master’s degree in education.”
Session I is July 8-12, 2012, and Session II is July 15-19, 2012.
Students may attend one or both sessions. The fee for the younger students (entering K-5) is $95 for the five half-day sessions. The fee for the older students is $155 for the full-days sessions, which include lunch.
There are also opportunities for parents of children attending Threshold. The seminar for parents features interactive presentations based on current research and topics in the field of gifted education. The parent seminar is open to adult family members of gifted children and other interested persons. All parents and family members are invited to visit their children’s classes to view their work at the end of each session. Family celebrations will be held on Friday at the end of each week.
Threshold is open to all gifted or talented students. Those who are not currently involved in a gifted and talented program with their school can be tested for eligibility. Some of the things that set gifted children apart, says Christopher, are humor, being able to connect disciplines, asking questions, a good memory, and a high I.Q.
343 students have already registered and slots are still available.
2013 Class Descriptions
Half-day program for students entering K-5
9:30-12:15 or 1:15-4:00
Early Steps for K-1: Wonders of the World
Swinging bridges, leaning towers, ice-cold houses, sandy sculptures, castles, and buildings that touch the sky... students explore man-made and natural structures from all over the world and create 3-dimensional structures.
Primary for 2-3: Walk Like an Egyptian
Crack the code of hieroglyphics and become an expert Egyptologist. Explore giant pyramids, ancient ruins, famous Pharaohs, and some of the greatest structures in history.
Intermediate for 4-5: Could an ant take a shower?
Discover big reasons for building small and learn the little things that count when building big. Students build structures that will survive the epic battle against the destructive forces of weight, torque, and gravity and study the physics and mathematics of scale and structure.
Full-day program for students entering 6-10
Network Groups — 9:30 – 10:15
Morning Choices — 10:15 - 12:15
Study contraptions that fly through the air by analyzing Rube Goldberg’s inventions. Students create their own new and exciting gizmos, gadgets, and contraptions and take plans from an abstract idea to reality.
Students investigate mystery and intrigue in this study of crime against nature. Students discover that they can make a difference and help solve our earth’s most pressing issues.
That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It
Students learn the process of story creation, design, illustration, and publishing as they merge innovative iPad technology and storytelling.
Lunch (provided for Grades 6-10) — 12:15 – 1:00
Afternoon Choices — 1:00 – 3:00
Make Me Laugh!
Why do we laugh? What exactly is comedy? Students explore the structure of comedy while creating comedic skits, stories, memes, and videos. Discover what it takes to make people laugh.
Students form alliances, choose their weapons, and prepare to fight. Students can increase their chances of victory by reading the Hunger Games before attending this class.
Go BIG or Go Home!
Students learn how to build a tunnel that won’t collapse under pressure, a skyscraper that won’t tumble in a tornado, and how to build a dam to hold back a lake the size of England. Learn the secrets of building big.
Recreation — 3:00 – 4:00
For info on enrollment in the program: