April 8, 2021

Photo: Beau Bussell designed a pop-up card for his mother based on one of his favorite animals—his cat!

This year with its difficulty of transporting students to challenge events, the George-Little Rock gifted and talented middle school students completed virtual “TAG Challenges” along with other middle school students in the region. The challenges were designed by Sue Chartier and her team at  Northwest Area Education Agency (AEA). Locally the assignments were altered based on the availability of materials and classroom goals. Students sometimes worked independently and sometimes collaboratively, pictures of the projects were submitted to the AEA’s website, and the students received certificates for their efforts.

“It wasn’t a competition, but the ‘challenges’ have encouraged the students to budget their time as well as think differently and more creatively with specific purposes in mind,” said G-LR gifted and talented specialist Tina Sherrill-Range.

In November, the students designed working candy machines from Lego bricks. The Santa’s Sleigh Challenge in December encouraged the students to design “sleighs” from egg cartons, popsicle sticks and ribbon. The classes then tested their designs with weights from the science department to determine durability and sturdiness. Using a couple of rolls of duct tape, the students created different items in January. Clothing, flowers, wallets, and toys were popular choices for the duct tape. Kindness Cards with pop-up designs were the focus of February’s work. During that challenge, the students were challenged to design a card for a specific person.

“The students said they were sometimes surprised about the time it took to invent the items from research to design to creation,” said Sherrill-Range.

“This type of open-ended, problem solving is good experience toward practicing future job skills everyone needs,” she said.

Submitted by Tina Sherrill-Range, gifted and talented specialist at George-Little Rock

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