Magazine article Parenting for High Potential

Saving the Planet, Stretching Their Skills: Using Environmental Science Investigations to Challenge Gifted Children

Magazine article Parenting for High Potential

Saving the Planet, Stretching Their Skills: Using Environmental Science Investigations to Challenge Gifted Children

Article excerpt

Gifted children are often highly sensitive to their surroundings and are able to readily identify potential solutions to challenges that imperil the environment in which they live.1

In fact, many gifted children are strong advocates of sustainable living, caring deeply about the world around them and its health in the future. For this reason, parents and families interested in helping their gifted child fully develop his talents would do well to support the child's guided investigations into the environment and sustainability.

What Is Environmental Science?

Environmental science represents an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical, biological, and information technology sciences to the study of the environment and the development of potential solutions to problems facing the local, national, or global community. Sometimes also referred to as "environmental studies" (which also includes related disciplines such as anthropology, economics, ethics, geography, philosophy, policy, politics, sociology, and the like), the field provides rich and ample opportunities for gifted children to engage in integrated, interdisciplinary, and innovative projects that utilize their quantitative and qualitative research skills. During the scope of their work, environmental scientists appraise alternative energy sources, engage in pollution control and mitigation, examine the effects of global climate change, and devise green solutions to problems facing communities.

Gifted children's strong interest in the ecological health of the world in which they live and the sustainable nature of their actions and activities make explorations of environmental science topics an ideal match. A variety of organizations, associations, museums, and other groups provide programs that are ideal for a gifted child with a keen interest in the environment. In addition to these, a plethora of print and electronic resources make it easy for parents to create such programming at home for one or more of their children.

Helping Gifted Children Explore Environmental Issues

Parents seeking to create environmental explorations for their children have an almost unlimited variety of ways to proceed. A young gifted learner, for example, might measure the amount of rain or snow that falls for a week, and then graph this data and compare it with that a few weeks before and after. …

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