IMPACT

IMPACT
Instructional Model for Programming Applied Critical Thinking

     The Medford Township Board of Education has adopted the educational philosophy that as an ultimate goal, the maximum development of the individual student in all phases of growth - intellectual, physical, social, moral, and emotional, should be attained. As such, they have recognized that there is a small segment of our student population which has outstanding intellectual, academic, and creative abilities and that these attributes create developmental needs which must be challenged.

     In a continuing effort to meet these needs, parents, educators and administrators have offered input into developing a special program for these students. This program, which is called I.M.P.A.C.T. (Instructional Model for Programming Applied Critical Thinking), is offered to fourth and fifth graders who have already proven to be extremely successful in our school approved curriculum.
 
     I.M.P.A.C.T. was adopted to identify and meet the needs of Medford's highest achieving, intellectually mature, academically talented, and creative students. The methods of identifying those eligible for I.M.P.A.C.T. include criteria combining both objective and subjective measures. School achievement and intelligence, as well as, creativity and leadership abilities are skills which are considered for participation.
 
In order to meet the needs of these children, the following objectives were developed:
  • Critical and creative thinking through the use of logical reasoning, imagery, and activities that engage divergent processes
  • Methods and techniques used for problem solving
  • A higher level of thinking skill through a variety of activities which engage divergent and accelerated thinking
 
     The I.M.P.A.C.T. Program focuses on the higher levels of thinking: analysis, synthesis and evaluation, as well as developing creativity. Topics are taught through the application of these thinking processes. Topics for instruction may vary from year to year based on student interest and program evaluation.

Identified students meet with the IMPACT (Instructional Model for Programming Applied Critical Thinking) teacher outside the regular classroom twice a week. Students are engaged in material that develops and expands high-order thinking skills.  Through interdisciplinary studies, students expand their creative thinking, critical thinking, and problem-solving strategies. 

The following topics are explored during the year:

  • Communication: How does effective communication ensure that the intended message is delivered and received within meaningful contexts?
  • Breaking the Code: How does cryptology influence everyday life?
  • Logical Reasoning to Solve Word Problems: How does apply logical reasoning strategies influence problem-solving skills?
  • Scientific Experimentation: How do scientists create and prove or disprove hypotheses? How does scientific experimentation impact our lives?
  • EiE Earthquake STEM Challenge: Students plan, design, and create earthquake-safe buildings.

Identified students in both 4th and 5th grades meet together as one group. Students meet with the IMPACT teacher outside of the regular classroom two days a week for 60 minutes every week for the duration of the school year.


Since these grades are combined there are multiple units of study that are rotated from one year to the next.  By the end of fifth grade, students will have had both extensive, interdisciplinary units of study. These units enable students to delve into the topics with in-depth reading, higher-level thinking skills, and hands-on applications. 

 

Unit of Study may include:


  • Sustainable Energy

Students will explore, read, investigate, and research answers to acquire a deeper understanding of sustainable energy [i.e. wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, tidal, bio, etc.] in their lives.

  • Stock Market

Students will build a fundamental understanding of investing with real-world skills and practice in math, English language arts, economics, social studies, and other subjects.

  • Asteroid Math

Students will use problem-solving, multiple outcomes, making connections, discussion skills, presentation skills, self-expression, evaluation of ideas, collaborative work to create inventions.

  • Simple Machines

Students will explore, read, investigate, and research answers to acquire a deeper understanding of simple machines [i.e. Pulley, gears, wedge, screw etc ] in their lives.

  • Design Thinking

Students will use problem-solving, multiple outcomes, making connections, discussion skills, presentation skills, self-expression, evaluation of ideas, collaborative work to create inventions, gadgets, and buildings.

  • Iditarod

Students will research and learn about the history, culture, geography, and effects of climate change during the annual Alaskan Iditarod Race.

  • Forensic Science 

Students will examine and analyze forensic evidence to solve the mystery of the broken cookie jar.  The unit facilitates scientific observation, sample examination, analysis, lab work, testing, interviews, and fieldwork.