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Roughly 52% of the world's population is under 30. What is best way to harness the energy and ideas of youth?

Working for a youth development organization we are always looking for ideas about how to engage young people and create programs to effectively involve youth in their own development. Our cornerstone is peer to peer non-formal education. We believe youth innovation drives change.

We are looking for programs, project models, web resources, implementation techniques, big ideas and inspiration to share with our online community. Basically anything to spark a great conversation!

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  • Feb 1 2012: I myself am a "bright" student. I score among the 99th percentile in Math, Science, and Reading tests. I am currently in a program specifically designed for students like myself. Everyone in the program tested in the 97th percentile or higher, so the teachers use material many (grades) above our level. We, as 6th graders, learned Algebra I and were taking a (supposedly) college-level course. We, whenever we can, discuss whatever interests us, which in almost all cases is someone's brilliant theories in the field of cosmology, or someone else's newest computer program which they made themselves. If someone were to listen to these students' approaches to a problem there would be no worries for prices of inventions, no need to have a team of the greatest minds to solve a problem. Just propose it to the kids. The point is, kids who are intelligent talk about intelligent things. If you have all that great conversation, you have a great resource for practically anything.
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      Feb 4 2012: Very understandable and a great comment. However, even the gifted children need leadership and mentoring. There are other things that children need to be prepared for outside in the real world other than being intellectual, many of the things I am talking about should and mostly will be taught by parents. However, we also know that many gifted children may not have the support system, and some might even need to be found, due to poverty or other circumstances. If you truly are a six grader, you have a bright future ahead of you.
      Good Luck in all you do Ethan,
      • Feb 4 2012: Eighth, but I do understand that. Sorry, I may not have expressed correctly: My point was, purely for the intellectual aspect, more advanced kids need more advanced work. They can deal with it, and will far exceed standard expectations if they are provided with a fun way of doing this work. For example, my humanities class is taught in three ways: notes, reading, and simulations. While taking notes, the teacher is engaging. When reading, we often read primary sources or literature reflecting the politics of the era we are discussing. Simulations is just what it sounds like. We play out the civil war on a game board, and we learn to march. We are required to act for two months as soldiers otherwise we lose "combat points". In science, the teacher always brings something to demonstrate the concepts. For physics, we have made bottle rockets, and the teacher has used a Frisbee and a gun to demonstrate newton's laws. The mentors are a huge part of our success, because they keep us involved and progress quickly through curriculum.

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