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About Paul Fleisher
Paul currently serves as assistant to the director of the Richmond Peace Education Center. Previously, he taught gifted elementary and middle school students in the Richmond, Virginia Public Schools for almost 30 years. During that time, he helped develop numerous interdisciplinary instructional units on topics including Humor, Justice, Engineering and Design and The Art and Science of Music. Paul also spent five years as adjunct professor in the school of education at Virginia Commonwealth Universit, and as an writing instructor in the University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies.
Paul was in the vanguard of teaching educational technology in Richmond Public Schools, teaching computer programming and web design to his students. He has led many workshops on team-building, thinking games, teaching writing and other topics at educational conferences.Paul remains an activist for peace and social justice. He has served terms on the boards of directors of the Richmond Peace Education Center, the Virginia Forum and the Virginia Museum of Natural History and the ACLU of Virginia, as well as the Virginia Education Association's Fitz Turner Commission for Human and Civil Rights.
In 1988 Paul received the Virginia Education Association Award for Peace and International Relations. In 1999 he was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Natural Science Education.
It is Paul's good fortune to be married to fellow educator Debra Sims Fleisher. Paul spends his spare time gardening, cooking, reading, swimming, and playing music in a community gamelan ensemble.
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Cordelia Lea Patterson is a country girl with more than her share of curiosity. But something sinister is threatening the fields, woodlands and ponds she's known her whole life.
Huge, darkened trucks are rumbling past her grandmother's house in the middle of the night. Fish are dying in her favorite fishing hole. There's a strange smell in the air.
Cordelia and her friend Ricky have to find out what's ruining the countryside they love. But that brings them face to face with more danger than they bargained for.
Like the nationally known Destination Imagination competition, Mind Builders offers simple engineering problems to be solved by student teams. It begins with a few exercises to introduce the team concept. These are followed by ten warm up problems that can be completed within an hour or less, with little advanced preparation. Finally, teachers choose one of 12 engineering challenges to be completed by teams over an extended period, and presented to judges on Challenge Day.
For more than twenty years, the Richmond, Virginia Public Schools' program for gifted students has conducted an interscholastic competition similar to the nationally known competition, Destination Imagination. In the featured contest of this yearly event, teams of five students present solutions to engineering problems that they have worked on for several weeks or more. The problems are multidisciplinary, including elements of research, writing, mathematics and science, and a creative dramatic or musical presentation. Each challenge requires just a few inexpensive materials and a minimum of equipment.
In addition to their use with gifted students and others in interscholastic competitions, these problems make excellent challenges for classroom use, or even for use with extracurricular or recreational organizations such as Scout groups or Boys and Girls Clubs. They are written to include basic skills from the core curriculum, and require students to work cooperatively to solve problems with multiple solutions. This book offers 12 simple engineering problems plus ten warm up problems to be solved by student teams. Each challenge includes detailed specifications, hints for teachers and coaches, scoring rubrics, a list of references that will help students get started on the problem, and a check-list for administering each competition.