Challenging Units for Gifted Learners: Teaching the Way Gifted Students Think (Grades 6-8)

Challenging Units for Gifted Learners: Teaching the Way Gifted Students Think (Grades 6-8)

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Gifted students have the potential to learn material earlier and faster, to handle more complexity and abstraction, and to solve complex problems better. This potential, however, needs stimulating experiences from home and school or it will not unfold. These books are designed to help teachers provide the stimulating curricula that will nurture this potential in school. The units presented in this series are based on research into how these students actually think differently from their peers and how they use their learning styles and potential not merely to develop intellectual expertise, but to move beyond expertise to the production of new ideas.

The Math book includes units that ask students to develop a financial portfolio that includes high- and low-risk stocks, options and margins, AAA and junk bonds, mutual funds, and money markets; use math, science, engineering, technology, and art to design and build a miniature golf course; develop games based on probability; and run a real-life small business.

Grades 6-8




I've recently become acquainted with a Prufrock Press title for math that feeds both my inner bibliophile and interest in education. The 2011 math edition of Challenging Units for Gifted Learners: Teaching the Way Gifted Students Think(Smith, Kenneth J., Ph.D. and Susan Stonequist) is an excellent tool for homeschoolers, after-schoolers, and classroom instructors alike. Providing both a road map for instructors who may not be familiar with mathematical precocity as well as engaging math units that incorporate financial planning, the building of a miniature golf course, and the probability of winning carnival games, Challenging Units provides real-life challenges for math smart middle schoolers who may not be motivated by traditional math units.,Susan Hyde,Raising Maine, 1/21/11
Smith takes each of these complex, "ill-defined problems" and breaks them down into well-constructed units. He introduces each unit with a research-based "cognitive connection" and then transitions into step-by-step, teacher-friendly lessons...I really appreciate the creativity of the units combined with the simplicity of the daily lessons. It's the exact formula that I feel teachers need. Plus, these units will truly challenge my 6th graders. I'm so used to having to increase the rigor of all my curriculum, it's quite a great feeling to plug something right into my schedule and not feel like I'm shortchanging my students.,Ian Byrd,Byrdseed Gifted, 2/9/11
Having personally witnessed Dr. Smith and Mrs. Stonequist's outstanding gifts in the implementation and teaching of many of these units first-hand, I was excited to learn that the units were committed to a formal writing process and published so that students across our county might benefit from their wisdom. Drawing upon his research work in cognitive psychology from Columbia University in New York, Dr. Smith enlightens readers on the different ways in which gifted learners think and process information and how to reach gifted learners in different ways.,Dr. Howard J. Bultinck,Northeastern Illinois University, 3/14/11


About the Author

Kenneth J. Smith, Ph.D., works at Sunset Ridge School District 29 in Northfield, IL, a suburb of Chicago. He currently runs the district-wide enrichment program. In 1995, Ken earned his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Columbia University in New York. He was an American Memories fellow for the Library of Congress, and his articles have appeared in The Middle School Journal and Gifted Child Today.