ACE eXploration (ACE X) is an inquiry-based guided independent research program in which students are explicitly taught specific skills and strategies of how to do powerful research in order to apply those skills and strategies to self-chosen projects based on their own passions.
ACE eXploration offers students protected time every week to focus on pursuing their personal areas of interest. It's modeled on the workshop approach and is based around all teachers sharing a common curriculum towards a goal focused on the learning and research process rather than a final product or presentation.
In ACE eXploration, students learn how to effectively analyze source credibility, how to use databases and public library resources and tools for research, how to appropriately cite sources using MLA format, how to create an annotated bibliography, how to implement meaningful and ongoing reflection as an essential part of the learning process, how to document and communicate learning as a work in progress, how to work with and learn from mentors at school and in the larger community, how to use executive functioning skills to take ownership of their learning, and more.
Gifted students need opportunities and time to expand on their interests in a structured yet flexible environment. Throughout any given day, students are exposed to countless new concepts, alternative perspectives, and complex ideas that require time for discussion, reflection, and expansion. Gifted students in particular thrive when they are allowed to pursue their interests and build complex and detailed connections. ACE eXploration is replacing ODIM this year to better meet the unique needs of gifted learners based on current research about best practices in gifted education.
Students will be taught specific research skills each class period, which they will put into practice and apply on their own independent research projects on topics of their choosing as they work to eXplore an essential question they design with support from teachers. Students will practice executive functioning skills and apply intrinsic motivation to better discover the potential for depth and complexity within the learning process.