Duke TIP


CRISIS (Creative Resolutions of Impending Situations with Intelligent Solutions) is our summer residential program for current fifth and sixth graders in the 4th–6th Grade Talent Search. Through problem-based learning, CRISIS builds leadership and teamwork skills by asking students to assume the role of a professional on a research team—collaborating with team members to solve a community crisis. Participants explore a field such as engineering, law, or journalism while participating in leadership and development activities designed to help them discover more about who they are and what they want to be.

The Current Crisis: Drilling Disaster

Our oceans comprise 96 percent of the earth’s water and cover nearly 70 percent of the earth’s surface. Under the waves lies a precious commodity that connects us globally—oil. Oil platforms are located in most of our oceans and small amounts of oil from off-shore rigs spill into the water every day. However, when disaster strikes, these vulnerable work places can quickly turn deadly for workers and have long-lasting impacts on global economies, health, and the surrounding environment.

Now, catastrophe has struck the Blue Devil rig located in the Gulf of Mexico. A blowout at deep sea levels has occurred. It is a race against time to discover a solution and stop thousands of gallons of oil from leaking into the water.

Examine the effects of a large scale off-shore drilling disaster from the perspective of engineers, lawyers, researchers, marine biologists, the media, and financial institutions as you prepare a response to the spill.

What is Problem-based Learning?

Pioneered in medical school programs, problem-based learning actively engages students in constructing knowledge by:

  • allowing students to learn in the context of complex and multifaceted problems
  • leading students to see the relevance of learning to future roles
  • building motivation for learning
  • developing responsible, professional attitudes to complex societal problems

The Academic Experience

Duke TIP courses are fast-paced and intense and are designed to provide challenge, not remediation. Duke TIP instructors are committed to providing interesting, high-energy educational experiences that often differ from those students encounter in school. Instructors employ a variety of instructional strategies to engage students at a higher level. Those strategies include the following:

  • simulations of real-world activities
  • debates and roundtable discussions
  • laboratory experiences
  • interactive learning
  • out-of-the-classroom field trips

The Residential Experience

Outside the rigorous classroom atmosphere, TIP students participate in social and recreational activities that focus on leadership development and give students a chance to get to know students from other classes and residential groups. While at Duke TIP, students live in college residence halls and are assigned to double or triple occupancy rooms. Students eat meals in campus dining halls alongside residential and instructional staff members. Residential counselors chosen through a competitive application process live in the residence halls with students, supervise and organize recreational activities, serve as role models, and support students in adjusting to TIP.