The Drawing Board

“Back to the drawing board” as they say… Watch as we develop our ideas for CIM Kids programs.  Feel free to email us your feedback.

Gifted Children’s Program Activity Ideas

Behind the Scenes at the Zoo and/or Night at the Zoo
It is likely that most gifted students have been to the zoo, but how many have actually had the chance to go behind the scenes, feed the animals, and possibly help administer and analyze test results?  What’s it like to actually work at a zoo?  I’ve heard of student groups spending the night at the zoo.  Might that be a possibility?
Air Traffic Control Tower Tour
Indianapolis has a brand new airport classified as “International”, so there is bound to be an abundance of technology to marvel at.  I personally know engineers who helped design the airport.  It’s an exciting place!  The air traffic control tower will make a great tour.
IUPUI Science Workshop
I have connections in the IUPUI science department who have offered to do a science workshop with our kids.  The university has many resources, so this is an exciting opportunity.
Events Sponsored by Gifted Organizations
Organizations like Purdue (GERI), Ball State, and the Sycamore School might enjoy the opportunity to sponsor an event (and get free publicity).
Lilly – Chemistry is a Blast!
Two years ago we invited Lilly’s K-12 science outreach program to do an explosive “Chemistry is a Blast” presentation for our RG.  This was easily one of the most popular events that year for kids and adults.  Now that we have more kids, we should do it again.  We need a venue like IUPUI where we can get a bunch of people together.  This should be combined with another event because the show is only an hour long.  If we did it at IUPUI, we might ask them about giving a tour of their science facility.  This would be good publicity for the IUPUI science program and Lilly.
Mammoth Cave
It’s almost four hours south of Indy, but the road trip could be half the fun.  After all, one of our goals is for the kids to connect.  I’ve heard of groups spending the night in the cave itself.  I think the temperature underground is the same year-round, so we could do this whenever.
Indiana Lost River
Indiana has a unique phenomenon of rivers mysteriously and abruptly stopping and falling into sinkholes only to resurface hundreds of miles away.  Alan, one of our resident scientists, is a huge fan of this and could lead the expedition for us.  This trip involves hiking, so we should do it on a good weather day.
Chicago Museum Excursion
Chicago has some great museums.  The Museum of Science and Industry is a favorite of mine.  Lots of stuff for kids to explore.  There is also the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum.  I’m wondering if the Chicago SIGHT Coordinator could find a home the kids could spend the night at to make it a two day trip.  This would be a great summer event.
Parent Workshop
Parents of gifted kids could use some support from other adults scrambling to meet the needs if their gifted kids.  I believe Kenosis had something in mind already.
Camping & Survival Training
Load up each kid with a backpack including only the essentials.  After a healthy hike, set up camp and learn how to survive off the land.  I know an expert guide who can join us on our expedition.
Rural Indiana Photography Roadtrip
Grab your digital camera, and get ready for a new perspective on Indiana.  Join your GCC who is also a professional photographer and learn how to take outstanding pictures in rural Indiana.  We’ll pack a picnic lunch to eat along the way.  At the end of the day, we’ll head back to the lab and critique our best photos.  We can show off our best work on the CIM Kids web site.
Invention Fair
What can be more fun than being armed with a full toolbox in a room full of junk parts?  Necessity AND creative kids are the mothers (and fathers) of invention.  What will we come up with?  Who knows?  What we do know is that it’ll certainly be unique and fun!

Gifted Children’s Program RG Events: (RG = Regional Gathering, or annual weekend conference that we host that people from other states journey to attend in January.)

Presentations on Giftedness (RG)
Dr. Jean Peterson from Purdue and possibly Christine Turro-Shields will dazzle us with presentations about giftedness, especially as it relates to children.
Siege Weapon Lab (RG)
I’ve always arranged a kid-focused  science/technology event for past RGs.  I’ll do this one myself this year instead of having a guest speaker come in.  It’ll be for kids and teens, but of course everyone is welcome to attend.  I’ll start off showing how various siege weapons (like catapults, trebuchets, etc) work, we’ll design our own from paperclips and have a contest, and finally we’ll finish with an indoor trebuchet battle with soft marshmallows being flung at each others teams.

Q: What does “Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscripti catapultas habebunt.” mean?

A: In Latin, it says, “When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults.”

iPod Singalong (RG)
I did this with my youth group, and I think gifted kids could bring it to the next level.  You give someone an iPod with well known songs on it.  They get up on stage and sing along with the music they can hear, but no one else can.  Points are awarded for best singing, best dancing, and best overall performance.  This could be an addition to the talent show.
Are You Smarter Than a Gifted 5th Grader (RG)
Exactly how it sounds.  We’ll follow the format of the TV show the best we can, but have harder questions that both kids and adults will have a balanced chance at getting.

Gifted Children’s Program Long Term Projects

Mensa TARC Team
In talking with parents of gifted kids, especially those interested in science and engineering, there seems to be a shortage of brainy team events they can be a member of.  I’m talking long term projects, not just a single weekend event.  TARC is one possibility.  Team America Rocketry Challenge is a national contest for students in 7th through 12th grade to build a raw egg-carrying payload to a specific altitude for a specific duration.  The top 100 teams with the best score get to go to the national competition.  The best teams win huge scholarships.  “The application for a team must come from a single school or a single U.S. incorporated non-profit youth or educational organization”.  I think we qualify.  November 30th is the deadline to register a team, so this may be something we could look into for next year unless we can pull it off quickly.  We can start a team this year and launch rockets just for fun.
Advertising and Promoting the Gifted Children’s Program

IAG Conference
As I stated earlier, the Indiana Association for the Gifted will be in town (Indy) December 2-4.  600 teachers, parents, and administrators who work with gifted kids will be there.  I can’t think of an easier and more cost effective way to advertise.  Mensa members will man the booth to answer questions and promote our events.
GCP Web Site
I need to get to work on developing a GCP page for  It will highlight the latest events, and possibly give a way to sign up online.
Advertising on Other Web Sites
I am contacting IAG, NAGC, and other web sites to see if we can be listed as a resource for gifted kids in Indiana on their web sites.
An Evite is like an invitation by email like those birthday cards you get links to.  On our web site, we can have a place where people can invite others to the GCP events.  To prevent spamming they would have to verify their email address, but this would enable them to send a richly formatted event invitation from us with a personalized message from them.  There is free software we can install on our web server that can do this.
TV or Newspaper Report on GCP event

I’ve heard that most television stations have a reporter specifically for education related news.  If we can get one of our events aired across the state, that would be some great exposure.  We should look into a newspaper report as well.

Facebook Page
This would have to be for the older teens and parents.  We would need to discuss a policy on doing this and what we would want from it.  People could use this to discuss events, share their own pictures, and keep track of what is going on.  Since many people are on Facebook every day, this would be a great way to stay in touch.
Twitter Updates

Twitter is popular these days and would be an easy way to send out invitations and reminders of events.  I don’t think there is an age restriction on Twitter, and with Twitter on everything from PDAs to cell phones, it’s a great way to be at the forefront of peoples minds.

Parent Email Listserv
As we grow, we’re going to have to find a way to manage email subscriptions.  This list can announce GCP events, coordinate helpers for events, and keep everyone connected.
MIND Newsletter Articles
There is a page in the Central Indiana Mensa newsletter devoted to something about gifted children.  The newsletter is mailed out to quiet a few people around the state, so this would be a great way to spread the word about our programs and promote interest in gifted kids.
Letter From the GCC
I have a letter that I’ve been sending out to people interested in our program.  You can view it here:

Promotional Postcards
A 4×6 photo would make a perfect promotional postcard.  They are printed in glossy color and are less than 10 cents each to print.  We can mail them out or have them at our IAG booth.  I’ve drafted a few designs for consideration at:

If you think our program might be of interest to a bright young person you know in Central Indiana, please have their parents contact me so I can add them to our list.  We don’t have much of an advertising budget, so word of mouth will make this program happen!  Send them a copy of my “Letter from the GCC”.  You can either link to it or download it.

Gifted Children’s Program Services

Mensa Scholarships
Mensa offers scholarships to promising young people in need.  We need to be sure this is promoted
Gifted Counseling
Central Indiana Mensa is looking into partnering with local professionals who specialize in counseling the gifted.

Gifted Services Directory
Complete and current list of schools that offer gifted curriculum, gifted summer/weekend programs, and other services we see fit to print.

Gifted Library
Links to sites like Hoagies Gifted, NAGC, and the Ball State / Purdue gifted library.

General Questions
Many parents of gifted kids don’t know who to ask for help when they find out their kid is gifted.  The GCC (me) has a college degree in gifted education, so I will try my best to answer questions.

This is just a starting point.  We’ll be flexible and see where the tides of interest take us.  The goal is to serve the kids, not to have a great program for us to marvel at.  If the kids are happy, things will grow.  If we lose sight of our goal, then we’re wasting our time.

David Bonner
Gifted Children’s Coordinator
Central Indiana Mensa
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