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In my work with gifted students, I am mindful of the distinction to be drawn between the words "simple" and "simplistic." In Spring 2003 I developed and taught "Click|Quick" - Classical and Quantum Information and Computing For Kids - as part of the Montclair State University Academic Gateways Program for gifted students. This course was offered to a group of 4th-6th graders and to a group of 7th-8th graders.

How does one go about exploring the thermodynamics of computation with elementary and middle school kids? Certainly not simplistically! One can't "dumb down" the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, because these "Laws" are nothing more or less than a fundamental  simplification of our entire experience of the physical universe. What seems to work best is to challenge the students to deeply appreciate the simplicity of these basic conceptual building blocks. This is, as it turns out, a difficult challenge for some of the brightest students, who revel in sheer virtuosic intellectual extrapolation.

Our classroom discussions included lively debates about how a refrigerator cools its contents and how the sun heats the earth. Eventually, as I had hoped and expected, an exasperated student finally asked, "Yeah, but what does all this stuff have to do with computers?" A golden moment - "Well, I'm glad you asked..." More information is available at the "Click/Quick" Web Site.

Another guiding principle for my work with gifted kids is the distinction between the student as consumer, and the student as producer. To see a concept map of "Learning Through Productivity", click on the thumbnail to the left.



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Email: ramsey.ameen@resolutioncorp.org

Last Updated: 2004-07-15     2003 by Ramsey Ameen and Resolution Corp.      All rights Reserved