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2014-2015 GATE/Enrichment Projects


Here are just a few of the many projects we completed in GATE and enrichment classes!



All GATE students began the year by making mini-totem poles. Students learned how totem poles fit into the culture of Pacific Northwest native tribes, and how each animal symbol on a totem pole represents a personal attribute. Students constructed totem poles that embodied their own character traits.


First graders studied presidents. They made symbolic statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Barack Obama to represent them and highlight their great accomplishments.

First graders also explored holidays around the world. They created their own original holidays to show that every day can be an occasion to celebrate.

The enrichment group surveyed the many ways we power our planet by reading My First Energy Book. Activities included running in place to estimate the amount of energy used by various types of bulbs, hand-generating electricity, and “strip-mining” coal.

Second graders learned about the circulatory system and how to keep themselves heart-healthy. Following that study, the group took a trip to outer space by creating travel brochures to other planets.

The math enrichment group wrote word problems. Here’s a sample:

I have two types of bunnies. The two types have a different number of whiskers. Some have 2, others have 7. There are 10 bunnies in the group. The whiskers all add up to 45. How many bunnies of each type?

To find the answer, ask a second grader!

Grades K-2 also visited Phipps Conservatory and ate lunch at the Cathedral of Learning.

Students who visited Phipps
Illustrated story excerpt


In third grade, students examined the invisible world of the microscope. To celebrate their discoveries, they used their observations as clues in an original mystery story.

Sherlock Carter found a microscopic dot on the desk and took it to the lab. "Why, we've our first clue!" Sherlock said in an excited voice.

"What is it?" the store manager said in a strange voice.

"It’s a fish scale." Sherlock said when he came back from the lab. "We better find more clues."

He looked around; he found something. It was ANOTHER clue! “J All these clues, they’re everywhereJ!”He said with glee. “I think I know what we’ve here!!!!!!!!!”

The grade three enrichment group learned the art of descriptive writing. They created portraits of musical instruments designed to appeal to deaf people. They anthologized these in The Magical Concert. Here are three excerpts.

The harmonica comes on stage and looks very shy.

The harmonica looked like a golden rectangle, pretty and shiny.

It sounded like a sparrow whistling as proud as can be.

It smelled like a rose, a beautiful plant,

Like the footsteps of a fire ant.

Now the smell of the rose in bloom,

Brings happiness, not so much gloom.

It tasted like ice cream, bread, and honey.

It didn’t taste funny.

It felt furry, smooth, and cold,

Like a dog in the winter, like a secret to unfold.

It moved like a robin flying in the wind,

Like it escaped from a capturing bin.

It was sad like melted ice cream.

In fact, it was very mean!

It was a lost and lonely swan,

Lonelier than a lost fawn.

It reminded me of rain,

I always feel the pain.

I feel sorry for it;

I would actually jump into a bottomless pit.

It was upset, like it had no friends.

This poem has come to an end.

The harmonica bowed,

And walked off with a tear that fell from its eye to the stage floor.

*   *   *

The violin started to play. It was a shiny, dark wooden color with crystal white strings. It was smooth and clean! I heard a lovely song that made me feel happy! The sound was slow. The violin reminded me of a light snow in the sunset. It smelled like a meadow. I could imagine it turning into a sweet hummingbird. As it filled the room, I could taste a sweet taste from the violin. As the Violin walked off the stage, I bet it felt proud, and great at playing.

*   *   *

The flute played, high and loud, fortissimo was its sound. Quick and swiftly, it zipped around, a lovely canary singing its song. The wooden stick was like a garden growing, the flute was very quickly going. As clueless as a flea, the flute smelled like vegetables, as tangy as can be. A soft pillow, the clouds, moping around, going cross-country in a car. The flute reminds you of Ireland, snakes, when the farmer wakes. The garden is growing at its every sound. The designs are passionate, like a canary. It’s as soft as the sky, it will never say bye. The flute left the crowd, happy and proud. The flute was so pretty, that no one could take pity. Its beautiful sound, still going all around. The best thing of all, was that it didn’t stall. At all.

The group also breathed life into fire through personification.

The owner of the house started a bonfire in their fireplace. Then, they started playing on their phones. I, the fire, wanted attention. I burned brightly. I started to glow. I screamed, “Burn, burn, burn!” I was very angry. I started to cackle. Then, I made a crashing sound, and I burned hotter than ever before. My feet started to pop and shoot sparks out. My eyes were glowing red like the devil. I hopped out of the fireplace. I struck the grass with my hand. The sound of the “whip” made the owners look up from their phones. They freaked out, they panicked, and threw water at me. They put me out.

*   *   *

It was a starry night. The campers were enjoying some s’mores over a fire, but it was hungry. The fire wanted some, too. The campers ate all of them and that made him ANGRY. The bricks of the fireplace started melting, it started getting warmer, then hot, then burning. The fire was alive. All we could do was leave and watch him start destroying the forest in misery. He made crackling sounds we heard miles away, destroying trees by the second. We thought he was far away, so we started walking back to the site. “I’ll destroy this county as fast as a cheetah!” we heard him say angrily.

He got angrier by the second. I searched for him but he was gone. Gone. Gone. Gone. He had returned to the site and apologized to the campers and, of course, had marshmallows and everyone lived happily ever after, until we heard a sound. I t was coming from the forest. It was ANOTHER fire, but we couldn’t stop it this time. “It’s my brother!!!” the fire said.

He was stronger and growing bigger. We all grabbed water and headed downhill to stop him, but when we got closer, we got warmer, then hot, then burning! SPLASH!!!


720 square miles were destroyed. “Good thing we all survived!” I said happily.

We heard another fire.

“Or…will you?”

*   *   *

The fire crackled with confidence. His face looked burnt up with scars. He was mad, cranky, and furious. His legs were swaying in different ways. “Swish, swash.” He sounded grumpy, as if the forest had done something mean.

“His sparks hit me as I ran away!” a little girl said sadly.

The fire spread quicker and quicker as the forest burnt down. The fire reached the top of every tree in the forest.

Just then, it reached a little town. He saw tiny people running around in fright. Then suddenly, he felt a sting in his back. “Augh, it’s water!”

Then he felt a million other stings. The people cheered as the fire shrunk down. Soon, it was small enough to make some s’mores. “Well, let’s get some,” a townsman said.

The people got chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows. The people enjoyed their delicious s’mores with delight.


Grade 4 GATE students explored the world of simple machines, putting their physics skills to good use by lifting Mr. Richter off the ground. (Luckily, they tried it before lunch!) Fourth graders also worked with complex gear systems to learn how the individual gears interact.

The group quickly put their knowledge to use, producing designs for Rube Goldberg-style contraptions to make life easier.

Grade 4 also used geometric principles to create designs inspired by Islamic art.

The advanced math group did mirroring activities to experience reflectional symmetry. They also played a round of Protractor Treasure Hunt using the original West View set of rules. Teams solved the map puzzle, then sped to the physical classroom to collect their valuable treasure.

Constitution of an imagined civilization


Fifth graders created their own cultures, pondering issues such as the value of conformity and each aspect’s impact on other dimensions of the society. Here is a Constitution written for one society.
Below, you will see part of a powerpoint teaching about the Cakeling civilization, as well as two games that illustrate the adventures of warlike cultures.
The enrichment group read an anthology of tales by Isaac Bashevis Singer, and illustrated a story using style aspects of Marc Chagall.
Book cover illustration

In sixth grade, GATE students studied myths of many world cultures to discover the links between a society’s surviving folklore and its core values.

The enrichment group echoed the theme through its careful study of The Adventures of Ulysses, emphasizing timeless characteristics of effective leaders.

For 2007-2008 projects, click here!
For 2008-2009 projects, click here!
For 2009-2010 projects, click here!
For 2010-2011 projects, click here!
For 2011-2012 projects, click here!
For 2012-2013 projects, click here!
For 2013-2014 projects, click here!
For 2015-2016 projects, click here!
For 2016-2017 projects, click here!
For 2017-2018 projects, click here!
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