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Grades 6-8

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Courses Made for Advanced Learners in 6th to 8th Grade

Your child stands out in so many ways. Now they can experience online courses that take their academic talents and love of learning to new heights. The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth offers gifted and talented courses that match your bright learner’s interests, lets them learn online with other academically advanced students, and empowers them to accomplish the exceptional.

Build on your child’s interest in programming with courses focusing on computer science, web design, and more. They can also learn Python and create dazzling games and animations.

Grow your child’s interest in history and geography with advanced courses. They’ll have a chance to preview high school studies with enriching geographic lessons that delve into culture, economics, and beyond.

Empower your child to develop a distinct writing style as they learn to think critically about reading, advance their understanding of grammar, and refine their prose through courses delivered by professional writers.

Build on your young learner’s mathematical prowess with online courses in algebra, calculus, geometry, and more. They can advance in honors courses and take chess classes to develop their logic and decision-making skills. We also offer some AP courses at the eighth-grade level.

Enable your bright student to reach their potential through an advanced study of biology, chemistry, forensics, or physics. They will learn from expert instructors leading online honors courses.

Introduce your middle schooler to Arabic, Chinese, or Spanish languages and cultures — and enable them to build their fluency. They can engage with instructors during online sessions and take part in group discussions.

Find the Best Learning Format for Your Young Scholar

Session-Based Online Courses

CTY’s deadline-driven courses accelerate your child’s development and growth. Courses include Arabic Language, Art Meets Science: Literature, Visual Literacy, and more.

Individually Paced Online Courses

Your child can enroll in these courses any time and then learn on the schedule that suits them. Courses include Honors Algebra I, Earth and Space Science, Writing Analysis and Persuasion, and more.

LIVE Courses

Your child joins real-time virtual courses for collaboration and advanced learning. Available courses include: Taking a Chance: Mathematics of Game Shows, Statistical Reasoning in Sports, Polymers to the Rescue!, Model UN: Institutions and Global Health, Fantasy Worldbuilding, and more.

Problem-Based Courses

Your seventh- and eighth-grade child engages in real-time collaborative, student-directed learning and independent exploration to solve real-world challenges. Courses include Alternate Realities, Colonizing Space, Designing Inclusive Algorithms, and Everything Is Connected: Solutions for a Warming World.

Explore our New Problem-Based Courses

Discover what makes our NEW Problem-Based courses for seventh- and eighth-graders special at CTY. Watch a recent presentation from our students.

INTERVIEWER: When the webinar ends, you will be directed to a CTY recorded webinar page, which is where this recording will be posted once available. Students in CTY virtual programs receive support, guidance, and individualized feedback from instructors who are subject matter experts and who have expertise working with gifted and talented students. We have a wide range of social activities for students enrolled in our virtual summer courses this year, including karaoke, poetry slams, discussion groups, and virtual game shows.

We offer courses in a wide range of subjects, such as computer science, language arts, mathematics, science and engineering, and history and the social sciences. CTY is a accredited for students in K through 12, so you can earn school credit for a number of our online courses.

Our focus today is CTY’s new problem-based learning program. CTY’s problem-based courses are open to students in grades 7 to 12 and provide students the opportunity to collaborate with their peers in real-time through synchronous class sessions and asynchronous project time. Students drive their own learning as they work in project teams to develop solutions to complex real-world problems. They engage in interdisciplinary inquiry, independent research, creative problem-solving, teamwork, and project management.

Each problem-based course is structured around a specific guiding question that focuses on an authentic real-world issue. How can we use fictional narratives to create real world change? How can we design algorithms that are free of any inherent biases? What is our next health care crisis, and how do we prepare for it?

To share the work they have done in their problem-based learning courses from this spring, I’d like to first introduce Tian Lao, Zhaoyi Meng, Henry Singh, and Serena Southern from Colonizing Space.

SUBJECT 1: All right, I guess we can start. If she could go to the next slide, we can just begin then. So we were given the planet of Wurru, which was a desert planet. It has a breathable atmosphere and ozone layer. It also has underground water. It’s mostly composed of sand and rock.

Temperature swings and the lack of water will be the biggest issues when colonizing this planet. The initial settlement we planned for it to be built by rovers and robots and resemble a small town inhabited by a small number of humans who will go on to colonize the planet. And you can go to the next slide.

So our technology– so first of all, we have used quantum entanglement for instantaneous communication. Our main source of power is cold fusion. We have matter converters that can convert any matter into any other form of matter that you want. And those basically give us unlimited food, water, and other resources. And then we use robots in place of humans when it’s too dangerous.

And our city is laid out in a grid pattern. Each family gets 1 square. They also get one base house in that square, and there will be other areas for recreation, like parks and stadiums. Next slide.

SUBJECT 2: When we began writing our constitution, we used the US Constitution as an example. We gave people other rights as well, like the right to be exempt from violence during warfare, as well as a new branch that regulates and checks for imbalances in other branches and illegal uses of technology.

The government will supply a lot of public services, including education and health care. A minimum of K through 12, as well as an extra two years of higher education or a specialized training, are required, and elections will be run and organized mainly by the state. This was a constitution we wrote.

SUBJECT 3: The economy on Wurru is a much more regulated capitalist market. We split purchases into a few different branches, such as designs, services and research, and imports. There’s also restrictions on the type of designs and service that can be bought and sold on Wurru. Thank you for listening to our presentation. I hope you enjoyed.

INTERVIEWER: No, thank you so much for colonizing space. Next, I’d like to introduce Dylan Baker, Lennon Kinbrel, Sarah Tulu, and Malcolm Wilson-Allstrom from Everything is Connected– Solutions to a Warming World.

MALCOLM: In our CTY problem-based course, we were given the task to formulate a mitigation and/or resiliency solution against climate change, and we decided to tie it to the present pandemic. COVID-19 has really heightened the impact that gasoline-fueled vehicles have on carbon emissions, and we’ve interpreted this to mean that carbon emissions can be drastically changed by policy. Next slide, please.

SARAH: So now we’ll talk a little bit about our actual solution. So we identified our solution as a mitigation strategy, meaning that we’ll prevent air pollution from the root source. Our general goal is to reduce carbon emissions by means of limiting gasoline fuel transportation through companies and their office buildings. Our outline is that we’ll provide motivation data to the public, to companies, and just the overall population as incentive to follow our plan of suggesting that workers drive to work only a small fraction of the year, or just rather work from home overall.

The decrease in driving would result in a significant decrease in carbon emissions. And now Lennon and Dylan can elaborate a little bit on our project parameters, including the cost-benefit, governmental, and environmental analysis. Next slide, please.

DYLAN: In my group’s cost-benefit analysis, we knew that having people work from home will change many things in the workplace. So we decided to make a cost-benefit analysis. What we thought was that companies that would work from home will have to supply resources to people working from home. These resources will include a computer, paper, pen, and staples. This would cost about $10,800.

Along with this, companies would save money. They would save money because they would not have to pay for things such as business trips, and they would also not have to pay for company cars and office space, which would save the company even more money. Lastly, companies will get tax cuts determined by how many people work from home and how long they work from home. This is our group’s cost-benefit analysis for companies working from home. Next slide, please.

LENNON: I’m now going to talk about how our solution impacts the government, environment, and employees. So if the company transitions from working from home 50% of the time, there will be over 500,000 fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere each year. Also, due to less people in the office, there will be less space needed, which will reduce the amount of area needed to be heated and cooled.

We would also have the government take part in our solution. As Dylan previously mentioned, there will be tax cuts. In addition, the government will add further incentives.

However, there will be a negative effect on mental health due to most people get a lot of their social interaction from work. So if you go to work less the time, you’ll see less people. And there will be less people working in the office, so the real estate market will change for offices. Thank you.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you so much to everyone from Everything is Connected. Now, dates and deadlines for this summer session are the following– Session 1 is from June 21 to July 16. Session 2 runs from July 19 to August 13. Registration for Session 1 ends May 18, and registration for Session 2 ends June 8.

Eligibility for city CTY’s virtual programs is based on grade level and scores on a designated standardized test. APY accepts a variety of tests your child may have already taken at their school. Your child can also take an advanced assessment from home to determine their eligibility for CTY. Your next step to joining one of CTY’s problem-based learning courses is to visit our website to see what courses are available. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

And now, we’d like to spend some time answering questions that have come in from those of you who are in the audience. So if I could ask a question for students first from Colonizing Space– and any of you may answer– what are the things you felt you learned the most about class? What did you really enjoy doing? Serena?

SERENA: I think the teamwork element was one of the most important, as well as just having to do the research, brainstorm ideas, and actually create a project. All four of those were really important skills that I think were really good practice– and just figuring out during this course.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Serena. Someone else from Colonizing Space would like to weigh in? Zhaoyi?

SUBJECT 2: A lot of stuff you really don’t see in advance. So just like figuring things out as they come up. You can’t see every problem that comes up, and that sort of makes it really fun. But at the same time, it adds a different type of challenge to the class. So that’s kind of like a thing I learned.

INTERVIEWER: Let me ask the same question. I’m sorry– Henry, did your hand go up?

HENRY: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Please, sir.

HENRY: I liked seeing how all the parts fit together and they could interact, and finding solutions to where things didn’t really go together.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you. From those of you who are in Everything is Connected, what did you find the most engaging about class? What did you feel you learned the most about, or the most exciting to you? Sarah?

SARAH: I think one of the aspects I really enjoyed about our class was how diverse of a group we were. And we had really multiple perspectives about climate change as a topic. And we had a lot of different routes that students had and our peers had gone through. So I think that really made our conversations richer. And it also played into the collaborative aspect of making our project.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Sarah. Lennon?

LENNON: I also enjoyed that on top of making our project, we spent a lot of time covering different topics of climate change, such as the environmental justice aspects and just different examples.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you. Now, let me ask this– and this can be for students from any group– why would you recommend someone take a problem-based learning course like the ones that you did? What do you think is really valuable about that experience? Serena?

SERENA: I think it teaches you something that can’t really be taught at school. Because when you’re at school and you’re in a classroom and they’re teaching you formulas and facts, it’s not the same as when you’re given a topic and the resources of how to solve that problem and actually have to put in place those facts that you’ve learned. And that’s a really important skill now and for the rest of your life that you’ll use. That, and also having to do it as a team with people that you don’t really know, was very useful and will be useful in the future.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Serena. Malcolm, I thought I saw you getting ready to speak.

MALCOLM: Yeah, I think it also forces you– given the problem, it forces you to come up with new ideas, and challenge yourself, and say, is this the best idea? Is there something more maybe that we haven’t thought of? And it also promotes learning about the topic that you’re given, which I think is a really good thing to have.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Malcolm. Anyone else from the class want to share anything about why you would recommend these classes to someone else? Sarah?

SARAH: I think one really valuable aspect was that you’re in an environment with like-minded peers and you’re all working together to address real-world change. So I feel like these problem-based courses– the goal is really to address something that’s directly occurring, or has occurred, or will occur in the world. So I think the real-world change aspect of the problem-based courses is an important element of why I would recommend it to somebody else.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Sarah. I appreciate that. Anyone else have anything they would like to share about as far as recommending courses to someone? If I could ask a question and kind of shift gears a little bit to both of the instructors– Emily Creegan taught everything is connected, and she’s with us. And Alex Sloane taught colonizing space, and she is with us too. Emily, what would you say is the most rewarding aspect of teaching a course like this?

EMILY CREEGAN: Oh gosh– the most rewarding? I have to think about that. I just felt it was a very rewarding course, I would say, overall. I guess the most rewarding was just being able to experience just the collaborative research of, as Sarah was saying, as multiple people coming together and really focusing on a very large problem in our world. And then coming up with a very creative, very collaborative, and very innovative solution. So just really witnessing and experiencing, I think, the processes of their project development was the most fulfilling for me.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you. Alex, what about you with Colonizing Space?

ALEX SLOANE: Hi, thanks. I really liked how the course was so interdisciplinary. And it’s a really different model of teaching. I come from a science teaching background, so having the opportunity to bring in a lot of resources from political science, and economics, and social sciences into a scientific problem I think was a really interesting approach to teaching the course and designing the course. And I really just loved the aspect of giving students a complex problem and really seeing where their research took them– seeing all the exciting solutions and potential avenues to explore as they looked 500 years in the future what colonizing a new planet might be like.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Alex. Now, I have a general question, again, for students in either class. What would you say is the most challenging task you had to deal with in the course? What was something that was really challenging for you? Serena, then Dylan.

SERENA: I think the most challenging was taking the research and the brainstorming that we had done and then actually putting it into a final project and actually putting it into a presentation at the end was very difficult. And I think it was an interesting challenge to have to try to make it easy to understand without having sat through the hours worth of conversations that we have had over this topic. And putting it in a way that was really easy to understand was probably the most challenging.

SUBJECT 3: I think Dylan was next.

DYLAN: Yeah. So one challenge for our group was that when we were close to presenting, we had many slides and we were over time by almost 2 times the amount that we had to be. So we had to spend lots of time cutting out things that we worked on. And it’s a little hard to do that because we’ve worked so hard, and just taking away some of it is a little painful.

INTERVIEWER: But you still have the whole thing somewhere, correct?

DYLAN: Yeah, we have the whole thing. But we just couldn’t present all of it.

INTERVIEWER: No, excellent. Henry?

HENRY: I think one of the hardest things was knowing when to stop going down one specific thing. Because we would talk about the economy or the government almost the entire class, and then we realized you should probably work on some other things too. You just got very immersed in some parts.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much. Anybody else with anything they wanted to comment on that they found challenging? So let me wrap things up by one more general question for, again, any students in either project team. What was the experience of working with your peers virtually like? Because it’s very different than you being in the same classroom space where you see each other every day in a physical space and interact. What was it like to do this virtually? Serena and then Dylan.

SERENA: I think it had its pros and its cons, just like anything. It was definitely an adjustment to make to get used to not basically seeing a person. But it did definitely help with some things– like when we were doing slides, we could all be looking at the same slide or the same Google Doc. And we could be looking at the same website. And it was kind of difficult in the beginning, but towards the end it became a lot easier as we kind of got used to it and we kind of developed a process and streamlined how we did stuff.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Serena. Dylan?

DYLAN: Yeah, I agree that it has its pros and cons. But probably one pro of it is that you get to work with people who are all over the world, and you can’t really do that in a classroom. But here, you can. And I think that’s special because you can get multiple perspectives on a topic.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much. Anything anybody else would like to share regarding teamwork– working with people virtually? Well, I would like to thank all of the students and the instructors for participating with us tonight. Colonizing Space and Everything is Connected were the first two problem-based learning courses that CTY has ever developed. And everybody in here did a great job participating in the program, and making the program a success, and helping us test it.

It is now, of course, something that we are working on expanding. And we have, in addition to the original two courses, we have eight other courses that we’re rolling out this summer. Again, I really appreciate all the hard work that each project team put into the projects– not only in their class, but for being here tonight. And the work of the instructors as well.

And I want to thank all of those of you who joined us tonight for the webinar. Please remember– when we adjourn momentarily, you will be directed to a CTY web page, which is where the recording of this webinar will be posted once it’s available probably early next week. Thanks again to everyone for being here. Have a good evening. Take care.

Start With the CTY Talent Search

We’ll help you discover if our courses are right for your child through our Talent Search. An advanced assessment will identify your child’s abilities and help them find the right level of challenge.

We offer an online version of the School and College Ability Test (SCAT) that your child can take from home. We also accept scores from a wide variety of other tests, many of which are commonly administered in U.S. schools.

Empower Your Advanced Learner
to Reach Their Full Potential

CTY’s gifted education courses nurture growth and achievement for bright students in sixth to eighth grade. See how your child can join other gifted and talented students in our online or in-person programs.

Learn More