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Pet mosquitoes, abstract thinking in 3rd grade physics

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Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 4:00 am

Serei Kay, an administrator at Accelerated Learning Laboratory (ALL), smiles as she explains, “Not long ago, many educators claimed that exposing children to abstract concepts at too young an age would damage intellectual development and rigorous expectations would damage self esteem. We now know that exposure to abstract concepts in early childhood actually enhances intellectual development and a rigorous curriculum builds confidence. Unfortunately, there is a long delay between research and application in the normal classroom. This is why most schools are operating on false assumptions.”

Serei dips her head slightly as she picks-up a fat binder. Her eyes flash as her face warns she is about to show me something that will rattle my assumptions about appropriate educational practices. Her voice has an air of concern as she declares, “In childhood, we have sensitive periods. If educators do not take advantage of these periods, they lose the best opportunity they have to enhance fluid intelligence and cognitive functioning.” Serei points to a page and chimes in an almost mocking laugh, “This binder has examples of a physics curriculum, based on research in the cognitive sciences, developed at ALL for 3rd and 4th grade students. These problems are not difficult for our students. Would you like a go at it?” I‘m confident I can do 3rd grader work, so I go on to read the problem she points to,

“Hidden in the vastness of space, is Henry the enigmatic sphere. He is so dense that not only is it a challenge for him to do 4 dimensional math but his gravitational field has a force of 30m/s/s. If 32 marbles, half of them 2m in diameter and the rest 6mm, are dropped 637m above his surface, how fast will they be traveling after each second for the first 10 seconds? How far will the marbles have traveled after each second?”

A little bewildered, but still confident, I go on to read, “Froga Anura has the most interesting abilities. She can breathe through her skin and her tongue can flip out 3 inches (7.6 cm) and snap back in .15 second. When supercharged with 954 of Thomas’ pet mosquitoes, she can leap 25m from a dead stop to 80 m/s in 0.2 second. What is Froga’s rate of acceleration?

If mercurial Froga is able to catch one of the 214 annoying fuzz-orbs that pester her, she will throw it off Victoria Falls, 108 meters straight down. Froga can instantly propel any fuzz-orb she catches to 25 m/s straight down before Earth’s gravity takes over. Although one would expect fuzz-orbs to experience wind resistance, turbulence and the Coriolis Effect, they magically do not. If Froga catches an orb and its 75 dung beetle friends are unable to intervene, how fast will the orb be going as it impacts the water at the bottom of Victoria Falls?”

For more information about ALL’s curriculum, call 743-2256 (High School/Middle School) or 743-1113 (Elementary), or visit  www.allgrades.com.

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