Academy Specifics | Programs | Institute for Educational Advancement

IEA Academy provides students in Kindergarten through 8th grade with advanced enrichment classes that promote exploration and application of knowledge. Courses provide compelling content and appropriate challenges taught at a flexible pace with small classes by highly qualified, dedicated professionals.

Summer 2020 Session 

Early Bird Application Deadline May 4, 2020
Application Deadline May 27, 2020
Session I Start/End June 15 – June 26, 2020
Session II Start/End July 6 – July 17, 2020
Session III Start/End July 20 – July 31, 2020
Fall Open House August 14, 2020


The new Academy Application Portal is now open! For questions about enrollment or the Summer schedule please email


2020 Summer Academy Schedule

9 am
10 am
11 am
12 pm
1 pm
2 pm
3 pm
4 pm
5 pm
Session 1 (June 15-26)
Session 1 (June 15-26)
Science Explorations (Ages 6-9)
9:00 am - 10:30 am

In this creative and hands-on course, students will be introduced to what it means to be a scientist and to see, understand, and explore science in the world around us. Students will engage in scientific labs and field studies to develop their observational and their laboratory skills. One of the main goals of the course is to develop each student’s sense of curiosity while presenting them with the tools used by scientists to explore. Mastery will be demonstrated through personal observations and data analysis, which students will record in their lab journals. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

It's Electrifying: Fueling the Future (Ages 9-12)
9:00 am - 10:30 am

It’s Electrifying! presents the problem of whether Virginia Beach, Virginia, will accept alternative energy supplies and which source of energy would be most beneficial with the least environmental impact: wave energy, tidal energy, or offshore wind farms. Students in this class will work together as engineers to select new, innovative options for energy production. Ultimately they must make a recommendation as to which form of energy would be best for the area, and they must make a convincing proposal for it. This class offers students an opportunity to explore clean energy technologies and to understand that the issues involved in implementing them are complex and multifaceted. It’s Electrifying! Fueling the Future is an NAGC award-winning curriculum designed by nationally recognized expert in gifted education and problem-based learning, Dr. Shelagh A. Gallagher. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Organic Chemistry (Ages 12-14)
9:00 am - 10:30 am

Orbitals, isomers, chirality, valence bonds, benzene rings… organic chemistry is a language all its own! Students will increase their O-Chem fluency by delving into the structure, properties, reactions, and mechanisms of organic (or carbon-containing) compounds. This class will expand upon any previous chemistry knowledge of functional groups and Lewis structures to molecular geometry, valence bond theory, and hybridization. By the end of the course, students should to be able to predict how various carbon-containing compounds will react or restructure themselves based on the chemicals and conditions present. Mastery will be demonstrated by students' ability to identify, differentiate and utilize organic compounds to generate chemical reactions through calculations and laboratory exercises.

Poetry and Drama (Ages 6-9)
10:45 am - 12:15 pm

In this workshop-style class, students will use poetry and drama as a springboard for exploring myriad ways in which language is communicated. Through experimentation in haiku, cinquain, free verse, theater games and improvisational skits, students will gain confidence in their own creative process and learn strategies to communicate with greater fluency. Mastery will be shown by the making of a book of personal poetry written during the workshop and a final skit to be performed in class.

Ka-Pow! Graphic Novels and the Hero's Journey (Ages 9-12)
10:45 am - 12:15 pm

Comics and graphic novels, or sequential art, have become some of the most accessible and engaging media for storytelling in the world. This course will provide students with the tools necessary to carefully balance art and language to construct narratives that bring the Hero’s Journey to life, from epic tales of adventure and allies, to adversity and triumph! Students will learn and apply elements of creation unique to graphic novels including storyboarding, page layout, panel transitions, text distribution, and more to develop their own characters and stories as action-packed as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. By the end of the course, students will have completed the beginning pages of their graphic novels, and will have a road map for going all the way through to a finished product. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Pillars of Architecture (Ages 12-14)
10:45 am - 12:15 pm

For thousands of years, architects have used their knowledge and creativity to build environments as varied as temples, skyscrapers, palaces, pyramids, and suburban homes. What kind of skills do architects use to bring their ideas into reality? How can they be sure their designs are going to stand tall? In this interdisciplinary class, students will become budding architects, developing their math, science, and design skills as they learn and practice the fundamentals of architectural design: brainstorming, planning, drawing, 3-D modeling, and building. This class requires a $25 materials fee.


Building STEAM! (Ages 6-9)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Ready, set, build! In this course, students will hone their creative engineering skills by building, testing, and improving upon their original designs for marble runs, bridges, catapults, and more. We will use the engineering design process, integrated with both artistic elements and advanced physics topics to create products that meet specific guidelines. Each product will be evaluated through quantitative testing and qualitative evaluation to ensure every student is continually challenged and improving upon their designs. By the end of the course, students will have developed their creativity and engineering intuition and be equipped with ideas to keep building at home! Mastery will be demonstrated by completion of a final independent STEAM challenge where students will invent a structure to accomplish a specific task, then show they can test and improve upon this product. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Myths and Monsters (Ages 9-12)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Cultures all around the globe feature fantastical creatures, including fire-breathing dragons, bizarre chimerical hybrids, quasi-humans, and multi-headed monstrosities. Behind the myth, however, there lies a kernel of truth based on biological fact. In Myth & Monsters, we will separate fact from fantasy as we uncover the real-world origins and scientific explanations behind some of the world’s best-known mythical beasts, including dragons, unicorns, Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, werewolves, Pokemon, and more. Mastery will be demonstrated through hands-on observation of fossils and animal artifacts, in-depth group discussions on cultural beliefs, and tests of acquired knowledge.

Robotics: MakeBot Challenges (Ages 12-14)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Students in this class will be presented with advanced robot challenges through research, testing and building designs using multi-port Hub motors and actuators. Skills will be higher ordered thinking, group cooperation, and problem solving. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the engineering and coding methods in field challenges, and the construction of creative projects. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

The Math Kitchen (Ages 6-9)
2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

Learn about fractions through edible math in this integrated (reading, writing, math, cooking) unit. Students explore fractions and food to learn concepts like equivalent fractions, mixed numbers and improper fractions. Through authentic problem solving with popular, kid-friendly recipes, students learn to multiply and divide fractions and work with ratios. Students will scale recipes to a large amount and an individual portion to create a class ecookbook with “Monster Recipes” and “Dinner for One” recipes. Of course, we will cook the monster version of a recipe, too! This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Robotics: Ramping Up (Ages 9-12)
2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

Step up your robotics skills by researching, testing and building bots to overcome various field challenges. Students in this class will hone their skills in engineering and coding to expand what a robot is and can do! Skills will be higher ordered thinking, group cooperation, and problem solving. Mastery will be demonstrated by the construction of independent and group projects. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

The Ultimate Guide to Predators (Ages 12-14)
2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

No animals evoke a sense of wonder and fear as the world’s greatest carnivores. From the domesticated hunting beasts we keep as pets to the toothy killers of the prehistoric past, get ready to learn the ins and outs of being a meat-eater. This class will allow students to gain a better understanding of predatory animals, extinct and extant, on an anatomical, behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary level, while interacting with real fossils, animal artifacts, and live reptiles. Prerequisites: This class includes up-close interactions with live animals. If have you any animal-related allergies or phobias, or are otherwise uncomfortable handling/being around reptiles, please let the instructor know.

Session 2 (July 6-17)
Session 2 (July 6-17)
Mythology of Many Lands (Ages 6-9)
9:00 am - 10:30 am

Are you enthralled with exciting stories, fantastical creatures, and other cultures? You are not alone! Humans have been telling stories for 3,000 years. Prepare to journey around the world, through time, and in and out of reality as you explore the mythology, folklore and fairytales that have shaped cultures and imparted words of wisdom! Students will listen to, read, write and tell stories from near and far while practicing grammar, vocabulary, and presentation skills.

Sustainable Product Design (Ages 9-12)
9:00 am - 10:30 am

Course description coming soon!

Pathology of Viruses (Ages 12-14)
9:00 am - 10:30 am

The goal of this class is to instruct students on the molecular biology and biochemistry of viruses and virus infection. Students will learn the fundamentals of virus structure, virus multiplication (lytic and lysogenic cycles), disease mechanisms, prevention and intervention of infection, and how viruses pose threats to human and animal health through emergence and evolution. We will discuss selected examples of viruses that impact our world and everyday life. The first week the course will focus on viruses pathogenic to animals and during the second week we will focus on learning a "bug (virus) per day.” At the course’s conclusion, students will understand principles and themes in modern-day virology, including virus pathogenesis, vaccination, anti-viral drugs, and gene therapy.

Cells: Under the Microscope (Ages 6-9)
10:45 am - 12:15 pm

Fire up your brain cells and get ready to explore a fascinating microscopic world! Though cells are tiny, they are complex machines with moving parts and unique jobs to do based on their structure. Students will become cell experts through hands-on activities, discussion, and using a microscope to see living cells in action. This class will investigate single-celled organisms such as amoebas and bacteria, animal and plant cells, cellular processes, and even how some of our own uniquely structured cells work together to keep our bodies healthy. Mastery will be demonstrated by the creation of a project on the cell cycle of a specific type of cell of the student’s choosing. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Medieval Battle Tech (Ages 9-12)
10:45 am - 12:15 pm

Technology is often driven by the need to defend territories or the desire to conquer new ones. Students will learn about offensive and defensive techniques in medieval warfare, and learn Tinkercad to design and 3D print defensible castles. Students will then take on the role of military advisors and invent “secret weapons” that would have been plausible at the time but were not invented until much later. For the final few sessions of the course, we will table-top play the Battle of Agincourt, a famous battle where the English prevailed over a far larger French force and won because of superior technology and tactics. We will however add a twist, adding in the student-developed secret weapons to the respective sides. Mastery will be demonstrated by being able to discuss strategy and technology appropriate to the period. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Dungeons & Dragons (Ages 12-14)
10:45 am - 12:15 pm

Are you a fan of fantasy, monsters, and magic? Have you ever dreamed of going on an adventure in which you starred the hero who achieved the impossible? Would you like to discover your inner strengths while journeying alongside a cast of larger-than-life characters? If so, then Dungeons and Dragons awaits! But do not expect D&D to be a mere game, for it is so much more! Discover what it means to be a true hero, to face one’s fears and to work as a team to achieve a common goal.


Robotics: Get Rolling! (Ages 6-9)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

What is a robot, and how does it work? Stretch your imagination by having fun with engineering and coding to explore the world of robotics! In this class, students will become confident learners as they undertake real-world solutions. Skills will be more complex thinking, group cooperation, and problem-solving. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the building and coding methods to construct independent and group projects. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Cenozoic Life (Ages 9-12)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

When it comes to prehistoric beasts, dinosaurs tend to hog the spotlight. For over 150 million years, they were the dominant animals on this planet. Then all of that changed and a new Age of Mammals began. Welcome to Cenozoic Life, where we will examine the animals that evolved after the dinosaurs went extinct. Prepare yourself for a paleontological journey featuring real fossils and animal artifacts where you will learn about everything from familiar Ice Age staples like mammoths and saber-toothed cats to megafauna species you may never have heard of, including a few that aren’t even mammals!

Hacker Calculus (Ages 12-14)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

When Isaac Newton developed calculus in the 1600s, he drew a lot of pictures and saw it as a tool to study how things move and change. After that, it got buried in a lot of algebra and symbols. Suppose Newton had owned a 3D printer? Maybe calculus would still be taught with pictures and models. We will take an intuitive approach to calculus with minimal algebra and lots of 3D prints. Students will start off with models the instructors have developed, and go beyond by learning to modify them and develop their own. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Art in Life (Ages 6-9)
2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

This class will inpsire students to express themselves through art while advancing their skills in drawing, painting, and sculpting using a variety of media and techniques. Students will learn design principles such as rhythm, balance, proportion, variety, emphasis, harmony and unity as they experiment with line, shape, color, value, form, texture and space. This class requires at $25 materials fee.

Harry Potter: Behind the Words (Ages 9-12)
2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

Where does a world like Harry Potter's come from? It seems so complete, fans can believe they really are living there -- and yet it all springs from one person's imagination. In this class, we're going to not only play games with Harry Potter trivia, but also delve deeper into what makes JK Rowling's creation so engaging, and how we can harness those same tools. We will write our own stories, in the Wizarding World, or in worlds of our own creation: What if Harry had been a Slytherin? What if Voldemort had a crisis of conscience and tried to undo his wrongs? In the second half of the class, we will imagine that we were creating our own alternate universe Harry Potter miniseries. Students will get the experience of what it's like to be on the creative team that brings a grand project like this to life.

Robotics: MakeBot Challenges (Ages 10-14)
2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

Students in this class will be presented with advanced robot challenges through research, testing and building designs using multi-port Hub motors and actuators. Skills will be higher-ordered thinking, group cooperation, and problem-solving. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the engineering and coding methods in field challenges, and the construction of creative projects. This class requires a $25 materials fee. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Session 3 (July 20-31)
Session 3 (July 20-31)
Kitchen Chemistry (Ages 6-9)
9:00 am - 10:30 am

You don’t need an expensive laboratory to challenge your chemistry skills -- look no further than your kitchen cabinet! By combining everyday ingredients, you can create exciting colors, weird sounds, creepy textures, and sometimes – explosions! In this class, students will learn essential scientific equations and elements, conduct safe and fun experiments, and watch different materials react in surprising ways as they explore the exciting world of science! Mastery will be demonstrated by a project using the processes of the Scientific Method: hypothesis, observations, experiment, analysis, results, conclusions and discussions. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Programming with Python (Ages 9-12)
9:00 am - 10:30 am

Students in this class will advance their skills in Python by creating games and animations using algorithms, loops, and conditional statements with increased sophistication. Students will manipulate numbers and text, draw images on the screen, and deepen their understanding of the *why* behind the code. Mastery will be demonstrated through the understanding and application of programming concepts and fluency with Python language syntax. Pre-requisites: Basic computer use and typing ability. Math level: pre-Algebra I.

Global Climate Change (Ages 12-14)
9:00 am - 10:30 am

Description coming soon.

Starting from Scratch (Ages 6-9)
10:45 am - 12:15 pm

It’s never too early to start learning how to code. Specifically, for younger students who aren’t quite ready for the advanced concepts (and lots of typing) that “regular” programming entails, but really want to start learning how to code. Using the Scratch language from MIT, students will drag-and-drop “program blocks” to build up instructions - allowing them to focus on their goals instead of hunting for the right key. Through the course of the class, they’ll create animations, interactive stories, and simple games to challenge their friends (and parents).

California's Awesome Nature (Ages 9-12)
10:45 am - 12:15 pm

Where can you swim at the beach, ski an alpine slope, raft down a river, and camp under a starry desert sky? In this class, students will discover what makes California’s geography, climate and weather so diverse and appealing to its 39 million-plus residents. By charting California’s four distinct geographical regions and the critical role that water plays in shaping the mountains, deserts, valleys, and coastlines , students will build key vocabulary related to topographical features, geologic processes, and weather patterns unique to places like the Salton Sea, where both human and natural forces impact landscape and livability. Get ready for all that California's beaches, cliffs, lava beds, valleys, waterfalls, and dunes can teach! Mastery will be demonstrated in a comprehensive final project where students present the history, a model of the topography, and the impact of water, weather, and humans on a particular geographical region of California.

What Would Socrates Say (Ages 12-14)
10:45 am - 12:15 pm

Students in this class will be introduced to foundational philosophy concepts while learning how to question, reason and debate in the tradition of Socratic thought. Drawing from influential thinkers chronicled in Nigel Warburton’s "A Little History of Philosophy” and poignantly illuminated by children's authors Shel Silverstein and others, this course will guide students to discover their own insights as they hone their verbal and listening skills in spirited dialogue. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of concepts in discussion and the construction of a creative project. This class requires a $10 materials fee.


smARTy Science (Ages 6-9)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Description coming soon!

Batteries Required (Ages 9-12)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Have you ever wondered how a battery works? This class will introduce students to the fundamentals of electricity and the main components used in everyday electronics. Not only will the students learn the function of resistances, capacitors and transistors, they will also be introduced to the physics behind them. We will learn how to build our own practical circuits, including motion detectors, light arrays, and whatever else the imagination will allow us. The class will culminate with the construction of a working radio. Electrical safety will also be addressed on the first day. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Aeronautics and Astronautics (Ages 12-14)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Do you want to be a rocket scientist, or to build and test your own airplane wings? Students will create and test 3D printed models of classic wings and analyze them. Then they will start from this base and create and test their own wings for different applications. Next, we will leave the atmosphere to develop models of orbits, gravity wells and gravitational waves, and understand how some simple rules determine how planets and spacecraft fly around our solar system. Finally we will move out into the galaxy a little farther and find out how scientists know that there are planets around other stars. Students will demonstrate mastery by creating and being able to explain various kinds of physical and software models. A little coding experience is helpful but not essential. This course has a $25 materials fee.

Bees and Other Builders (Ages 6-9)
2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

The animal kingdom is buzzing with amazing architects of structures and systems! City-like beehives, earthworm tunnels, termite mounds, weaver bird nests, and beaver dams are examples of spectacular structures designed and built by animals. This class will look not only at animals' impressive structures, but also how some species help keep nature in balance through pollination, decomposition, and more! Students will learn from and about animal builders, demonstrating their mastery by building a product inspired by an animal architect. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Rube Goldberg: Machine and Mazes (Ages 9-12)
2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

Over the course of this class, students will become modern day Rube Goldbergs as they design and build a machine named after the American cartoonist and inventor. Students will first learn the history and mechanics behind popular Rube Goldberg machines and then set off to build their own contraption that relies on a chain reaction to do simple tasks. As part of an interdisciplinary class which combines engineering, math, and science concepts, students will propel themselves through new information as they work to create a final project: an original Rube Goldberg machine! Mastery will be demonstrated by designing and constructing an original Rube Goldberg machine that successfully demonstrates an understanding of the different forces while optimizing potential and kinetic energies. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Spotlight on Innovation (Ages 12-14)
2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

From cement to satellites to cyberspace, innovations have paved the way for human progress on earth and beyond. But who came up with these “big ideas”, and what challenges did they overcome to succeed? Students in this class will delve into the lifework of modern and historic figures to discover the drivers behind innovation: vision, viability, and social relevance. Mastery will be demonstrated by the creation of a project or presentation that illustrates concepts covered.

2020 Summer Academy Schedule


Would you like a printable version of the schedule? Click here to download.

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$350 per 90-minute course




    • Early Bird Discount for registration before May 4, 2020: $20 off total tuition.
    • Sibling Discount: $20 off total tuition per child.
    • Multiple Course Discount: $50 off total tuition per course, after the first class.
    • Referral Discount: Refer a family, and they will receive $20 off total tuition. For every family referred, you will receive $20 off total tuition (up to $100). Referring and referred, students must enroll in the same Session.


Financial Aid Available!


 Financial aid is available for families in need. Please email to request information on how to apply. Financial aid requests for the Summer 2020 sessions must be submitted by Friday, May 29th.



Tuition may be paid by Visa, MasterCard, or check (made payable to Institute for Educational Advancement).


IEA works with the following homeschool charter vendors:


  • Epic
  • Excel
  • Golden Valley
  • iLead
  • Inspire
  • Peak Prep Academy
  • Sage Oak
  • Sky Mountain

Classes for gifted children

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