Academic Enrichment Activities for Gifted Students
National Geography Bee
Each year students in the Somerset Area School District participate in the National Geography Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The contest is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography.
Students in grades five through eight are eligible for this entertaining and challenging test of geographic knowledge. All students are given a preliminary test in their Social Studies classrooms. The top ten scorers in each grade level make it to the final Geography Bee at their school. The winner at each school (Eagle View and the Junior High) goes on to compete at the state level and possibly the national level. The school level bees will run from November through January and the State-level bees take place in April. The national finals are usually held in May.
Scripps National Spelling Bee
Students in grades four through eight are eligible to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The purpose of the Bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. The top ten scorers at each grade level make it to the final Bee at their school. The finalist goes on to compete locally and then regionally and could ultimately compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.
Students in grades four through eight are eligible to compete in the Scrabble Tournament. Play usually takes place in April. Players compete against other students in their grade level and then the top four players from each grade level go on to compete at the Somerset County Scrabble Tournament against students from other schools.
Continental Mathematics League
Continental Mathematics League is a locally held national contest. Students participate in six different contests throughout the school year answering questions that challenge their higher level thinking and problem solving skills. Top scorers are recognized in each grade level and a medal is awarded to the top scoring individuals. Students in grades four through eight are chosen to participate based on their PSSA math score, teacher recommendations, and class grades.
Try-Math-A-Lot is a problem-solving contest/tournament in which students are assigned to teams consisting of four or five students from different schools. Each team competes in three events that make up the tournament. The activities include individual/group problem solving, estimation and mental mathematics, and puzzles/math relays. The problems and activities used in the tournament consist of challenging problems and activities found in some textbooks or in various sources from recreational mathematics. The activities and problems are prepared by a committee of Laurel Highlands Mathematics Alliance members. This group, or its representatives, is the arbiter in all questions regarding the scoring of the tournament.
The purpose of the tournament is to stimulate interest in mathematics among students at the middle school level, encourage the learning of problem-solving skills and techniques, and provide students with an opportunity to meet their counterparts from other schools. The event takes place at the University of Pittsburgh in May.National History BeeStudents can elect to sign up to participate in the National History Bee. The preliminary rounds consists of a written test and students qualify to compete in the oral round based on their scores on the written test. The top students in the oral round qualify to take the Qualifying Regional Exam and their score on the exam determines if they are eligible to compete at the regional competition in Pittsburgh.
MATHCOUNTSMATHCOUNTS is a program designed to increase enthusiasm for middle school mathematics. MATHCOUNTS materials help students learn problem-sovling techniques and develop critical thinking skills. The team meets through the fall after school for one hour one day each week (possibly more as it gets closer to the competition date) to prepare for the regional competition in February. The top four competitiors and the top team of four qualify to compete at the state competition in March.