Nebraska Association for Gifted Conference  

April 25, 2014
The Nebraska Association for Gifted Conference was held in Omaha on February 20-21 at the Embassy Suites in downtown Omaha. STEM education and Gifted Education have had a long relationship of providing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to our most talented students and to the teachers that teach them. The addition of the ARTS to build STEM to STEAM was one of the objectives of this year’s conference. Presenters provided opportunities for participants to witness how STEAM skills and 21st century skills can inspire and challenge our most able students and their teachers.

Emily Jameson and I were honored to be selected as presenters for this year’s spring conference. Our presentation was based on Carolyn Coil’s Questivities. Questivities consist of an interdisciplinary Project Activity along with a series of Thinking Questions that stimulate creative & critical thinking & give practice in research skills. By using Carolyn Coil’s Questivities, students go beyond just working on a project to thinking about the project ideas in more depth and greater detail. The following example was used to expose the conference participants to higher levels of thinking and rigorous learning.

Designing a Structure Using Three-Dimensional Geometric Figures

Project Activity:
Design and draw a structure made from combining at least 4 three-dimensional geometric figures or shapes. Indicate area, volume and surface area of each shape. Label each geometric shape.

Math Domain: Geometry
(Common Core Standards)
   •Draw geometric shapes with given conditions.
   •Solve real world and mathematical problems involving area, volume and surface area of two-and three-dimensional objects composed of triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, cubes and right prisms.
   •Draw, construct and describe geometrical figures and describe the relationships between them.

Assessment Mini-Rubric:
1.  Design has at least four different three-dimensional shapes
2.  Each shape is correctly labeled
3.  Shapes are combined to form one structure
4.  Shows area, volume and surface area of each shape
5.  Design is original and could work in the real world

Project Questions (Essential Questions answered through the Project Activity):
What three-dimensional geometric shapes can be used to create an original structure?  How can we design and engineer structures to work in the real world?

Questivities Thinking Questions:
1.  List all the geometric figures you know (at least 10).
2.  Compare/contrast two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometric shapes
3.  What would happen if the shape of the earth were a cube?
4.  Would you rather be a triangle or a prism?  Why?
5.  How would you feel if all buildings were constructed in the form of pyramids?  What would life be like?
6.  Why are some structures in real life designed using one specific geometric shape? Discuss with an example.
7.  How will you design your structure using four geometric shapes?

Active Question:
Make a list of questions a Cone might ask a Pyramid.

-by Dallas Lewandowski, Professional Development Coordinator

Coil, C. (2011). Differentiated Activities & Assessments Using the Common Core Standards. Saline Michigan:Pieces of Learning