June 23, 2018, 10:39 am
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Child genius (1)

I AM very familiar with the plight of a mother, me, who had to drag my child away from his practice of magic tricks some mornings in order to get him ready for school. This boy hopes to be a magician--“An outstanding one…” he insists. With expert guidance and encouragement, he could be an outstanding anything. My boy is gifted.

Who are the gifted? Every spring, US pupils in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 were given scholastic aptitude and achievement tests, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Pupils scoring in the upper 8th and 9th Stanine range (test results are divided into nine equal parts ranging from a low score of 1 to high score of 9) are nationally considered gifted. An IQ of 130 and over indicates giftedness. Other gauges are used to confirm the infallibility of these two tests. There are about two million pupils in this category, about 3 percent of the elementary and high school levels in the US at that point of this study.

From that 3 percent of the population--two million gifted--by process of testing and elimination, a MENSA-supervised competition to label that one “Child Genius” by screening hundreds of gifted pre-teens, ages 8 – 12, nationwide in America.

CNN had on the series on TV of the 20 finalists/competitors now together on a stage. Racially diverse kids from all across the country, competing for the title “Child Genius” with a $100,000 college fund prize.

Amazing to watch those 9- to 12-year-old boys and girls, take their turn on the microphone, instantaneously answer correctly tough question in math, arts, geography, science, history--16 rigorous tests in front of their anxious parents delivered as rapid-fire questions by former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin. Knowledge most of which I wasn’t asked and hadn’t learned in my 22 years of K to post-graduate schooling in Manila and America.

Sample of questions asked at this competition: Calculate 14 times 8 minus 11 and multiply by 2? What is the official currency of Bulgaria? Add 39,553 and 2,302. What is the tallest waterfall in the world? If you flew east from New York City, what would be the first country you’d fly over? What is the most densely populated country in the world? What prevents blood from flowing backward in veins? Who developed the processes allowing the mass production of ammonia for use as fertilizers and explosives? The flexor carpi radialis muscle is located where?

Which component of blood aids in clotting? What part of the neuron picks up impulses of neighboring neurons? What is the world’s largest living bird? How many humps does a dromedary have? What are deer antlers made of? What is the deepest point in the Pacific Ocean called? What country is directly north of Cyprus? What is the official currency of Kenya? What godson to Queen Elizabeth I invented the first flushing toilet in 1597? Born in Mesopotamia in 1136, what was the name of one of the Islamic empire’s greatest technical geniuses?

Who invented the steam-powered rotary printing press? Which artery supplies blood to the thighs? Which part of the brain coordinates muscle contractions and balance? During WWII, Alan Turing developed what machine to decode encrypted messages sent by the German military? What Austrian biologist discovered blood groups and developed their classification system? Spell: triskaidkaphobia, exphthalmic, extemporaneous, shadenfreude, supercilious. [More next column.]

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Dahliaspillera@yahoo.com
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