APEX Mission Statement:
The Merrick Union Free School District is committed to an educational program recognizing individual student abilities, strengths, and needs. Children who demonstrate superior cognitive abilities, critical and creative thinking, exemplary academic performance, and motivation to be an independent learner require supplemental instruction and exposure to a variety of challenging and higher-order critical thinking experiences. Providing students with enhanced differentiated instruction enables us to nurture and develop students’ higher-level thinking skills. The Merrick UFSD meets the needs of these targeted students through differentiated classroom instruction, participation in our APEX program, and additional enrichment opportunities.
APEX Program Objectives:
● Foster social-emotional well-being in all students
● Encourage students to become self-motivated learners while fostering independent responsibility and accountability
● Enhance and demonstrate divergent and creative thinking through fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration to develop new ideas
● Develop metacognitive skills through real-life problem-solving
● Utilize communication skills that will enhance group interaction and student learning
Students are identified for the APEX program through multiple measures, including the results of the OLSAT, the NWEA, and teacher input. Students in third grade are identified in September, and students in fifth grade are identified during the summer prior to their fifth-grade year.
The APEX program offers supplemental instruction to qualifying third through sixth-grade students. APEX students meet with their grade-level peers in a pull-out format for one instructional day.
The APEX curriculum is meant to be an enrichment experience that exposes students to more complex and diverse topics. The curriculum allows students to examine topics in depth and with more rigor. Instruction in productive thinking skills is integrated into the curriculum to help students develop their creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills.
Topics of study may include the following:
Stock Market Game
All APEX fourth, fifth, and sixth graders participate in the Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools (MOEMS). Math Olympiads provides opportunities for children to engage in creative problem-solving activities that develop a child’s ability to demonstrate ingenuity and creativity in solving problems.
Students will participate in five monthly Olympiad contests. The competitions will be held during APEX time in November, December, January, February, and March.
Through collaborative group activities, students take on the role of entrepreneurs as they research, design, develop, and market their own toy products. In addition, students will have various opportunities to think critically as they design, develop, and test their own recycled racers in an engineering unit. While learning to think critically and creatively, students will become confident and creative problem solvers.
Acting as archeologists, students will investigate cultural universals. Working in collaborative groups, students will design and develop their own cultures and create their own individualized artifacts. Through robotics, students will have numerous opportunities to problem-solve in real time as they design, test, record, and improve their robotics designs.
Fifth-grade students will explore the value of money as they take on an identity and participate in a simulation of real-life events. Students will learn how to save money, pay “bills” and account for financial surprises. While investigating the stock market, students will have the opportunity to form an investment company. Throughout the year, students will stay on top of current events, invest, and monitor their progress. Through robotics, students will problem-solve in real-time as they design, test, record, and improve their robotics designs.
Students will delve into the world of inclusivity and universal design. While investigating prosthetics and architecture, students will have opportunities to design and develop their ideas to provide for a more inclusive and adaptive world. Students will investigate the features of a prosthetic and determine which should be included in their own prosthetic models. Working in design teams, students will learn about architectural features and design an ADA-compliant public space. In robotics, students will have numerous opportunities to solve problems in real time as they design, test, record, and improve their models.