Click on a block for a class description and more details!
IEA Academy is excited to offer a robust schedule of both in-person and online courses for the Spring 2023 session.
In-person classes are held at our Learning Center in Pasadena Monday through Saturday in 75 or 90 minute meetings. Classes are offered afterschool as well as throughout the day on Wednesdays and Fridays. In-person classes take full health precautions. Please see our COVID landing page for more information on policies and procedures.
Online classes are held throughout the week in live online video sessions for 60 or 75 minute lessons.
IEA is committed to providing the best possible Academy program for your family. All courses will offer hands-on learning and high-level content that fit with IEA’s mission to serve the whole gifted child. In an effort to provide compelling and safe classes, we are committed to maintaining small and intimate classes sizes for both online and in-person course.
Financial aid is available for families in need.
Financial aid is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis to qualified applicants.
Click on a block for a class description and more details!
In this class students will conduct hands-on experiments to investigate questions that span across divisions of science. Explore the world of innovative science, art and engineering through exciting scientific projects. From how to design rovers, to building with straws, to dissecting an owl pellet to exploring our solar systems, this class will inspire the curious young mind to discover through questioning, gathering and evaluating evidence, and communicating to others their scientific findings. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the scientific method to lab and field experiments, and the construction of creative projects. Please report any allergies/medical conditions or sensitivity to food and plant material. MATERIALS REQUIRED: This class requires a $25 materials fee.
What is it like to plan a mission to Mars? In this class, students will delve into the world of interplanetary exploration as they investigate the surface of Mars and plan their own missions to the Martian surface. Students will learn to access and analyze data from NASA spacecraft and gain an understanding of the variety of techniques and data available to study planetary surfaces. With an understanding of relevant scientific techniques and current questions about the Martian surface, students will not only outline their own mission, but select a landing site and scientific instruments within engineering constraints. Mastery will be demonstrated through a set of mission planning exercises that will lead to development of a mission plan that is scientifically viable and possible. MATERIALS REQUIRED: This class requires a $25 materials fee.
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! MATERIALS REQUIRED: This class requires a $25 materials fee.
After the extinction of the mighty dinosaurs, it was mammals that rose to dominance and inherited the planet. In this class, you will learn all about the wonders and mysteries of the world of mammals. Over the course of this class, you will get the opportunity to examine and handle real animal artifacts and fossils. We will cover mammal morphology, anatomy, behavior, evolution, ecology, and more. You will even get the chance to create your own mammal species. Get ready to take an exciting journey into the world of mammals!
The sit-down, stand-up, inverted, and pipeline are just a few types of roller coasters engineered to be exhilarating and terrifying all at once. But what brings riders back again and again? Students will explore the principles that make roller coasters so thrilling, including inertia, gravity, centripetal forces, and the conversion of potential to kinetic energy. By applying these laws to the analysis, design, and manufacture of rides, students will discover how material science has led to faster and more complex coasters over time, from the switchback of 1809 to Wonder Woman’s Golden Lasso in Six Flags Texas. Mastery will be demonstrated by students’ ability to analyze the motion of gravity-driven coasters and by the creation of models that illustrate concepts covered. MATERIALS REQUIRED: This class requires a $30 materials fee.
Without the help of spellcheck, it can be easy to feel lost in letters! In this class, students will learn mnemonic devices and rhymes that make spelling fun – and more accurate! Rules will include the ubiquitous “I before E, except after C” and tips for spelling words like “friend” (“Your friend is your friend till the END, so the word ends with END”) as well as many others. Topics will also include etymology, covering Greek and Latin roots, and how to use their newfound knowledge to expand vocabulary and aid in reading comprehension.
CoderZ is an engineer’s dream, an online platform where students will build and program virtual robots. Through engaging activities, students will explore the world of engineering and coding language (block coding based on MIT’s Scratch), as they animate their programmable robots. We will research and test designs and develop our bots to overcome field challenges with obstacles and turns such as “Adventure Peak”. Each class will provide students with the tools to define a problem, create a solution and share their results. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the engineering and coding methods in field challenges, and the construction of creative solutions. MATERIALS NEEDED: Students must purchase a $40 CoderZ license in order to access and engage with the course material. Details will be provided upon your child’s confirmed placement.
Tired of someone else making the rules? Think you could organize a better way of living? Want to be a king or queen? Here’s your chance! In this class you will choose where your country will be and what it will be called. Big cities? Small towns? You decide. Students will go step by step to create their own countries. They will draw a map of it, make a flag, choose their laws, and write a constitution. Mastery will be demonstrated by students displaying their countries for a gallery walk and writing about their favorite part of each student’s country.
Have you ever wondered why Earth is so different today than it was millions of years ago? Students in this class will explore Earth as a dynamic and living planet as they conduct lab experiments and fun activities that investigate questions spanning geologic time, from the emergence of life on the earliest Earth, to its occurrence in weird, wonderful, and extreme environments today. From geology and biology to the in-between of geobiology, students will discover how natural forces and humans impact the Earth’s landscape and livability, including some of the greatest examples, right here in California!
Are you enthralled with exciting stories, fantastical creatures, and other cultures? You are not alone! Humans have been telling and listening to stories for thousands of years. Prepare to journey around the world and through time as you explore the folklore and fairytales that have shaped cultures and imparted words of wisdom! We will explore their universal themes, discuss their different interpretations, and see how elements from ancient stories are used and adapted in modern versions. Mastery will be demonstrated by the production of a written or visual work of art inspired by each story.
Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging,” wrote Joseph Campbell. In his book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Campbell explains his philosophy of the hero’s journey as a formula that all adventure stories follow. George Lucas’s Star Wars is one of the most famous expressions of this narrative framework, but it can be seen in countless other films and pieces of literature including The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and many more. This class will feature film clips and excerpts from widely and lesser- known works that inspire discussion around such questions such as: Are heroes born or made? Must they always be larger-than-life? Students will also be encouraged to explore their own story arc as they consider each hero’s path of adventure and eventual transformation.
Are you hungry to explore science through hands-on experiments using food you might find in your fridge or pantry? In this class, students will learn the fundamentals of biology, chemistry, microbiology and more as they investigate how common household ingredients can be combined to yield interesting and surprising results. This class will offer a fresh batch of experiments for students who have taken Kitchen Chemistry 1 and 2, as both new and returning students are welcome to join. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the scientific method to projects using hypothesis, experimentation, observation, analysis, conclusion and discussion. Get ready to put your chef hat and lab coat on for some kitchen-meets-the lab fun! MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $25 materials fee is required.
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. Instructors will prepare a list of suggested household items or toys for each week (e.g. paper towel tubes, paper plates, string, dominoes), and students will combine these to learn about simple machines like the lever, inclined plane, and possibly wheel and axle. Mastery will be demonstrated by designing and constructing an original Rube Goldberg machine that successfully (and creatively!) illustrates an understanding of concepts covered in class. MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $15 materials fee is required; students also may be asked to bring in some common items like paper towel tubes, cereal boxes, etc for constructions.
Do you know how to handle your money? What is a good deal or what is a scam? How do banks work, and what is the deal with taxes? Welcome to Smart Money, an exciting exploration of the concepts of how money works. This course is designed to promote personal financial education so not be fooled or left behind in the fast world of finance. We will use engaging and enriching activities to learn financial literacy and economics while helping you build the foundation to become financially responsible adults. Some of the topics that we will engage in include the economy, money skills, money math, money-management, savings, investing, scams, identity fraud, credit cards, and insurance.
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. MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $55 materials fee is required for the purchase of a Sphero Mini robot.
Junior astronomers prepare to blast off into a deep exploration of all things outer space! This hands-on course will have students act as experimenters, scholars, and theorizers as each lesson takes them deeper into the field of astronomy. From the Ancient Greeks to modern day, students will investigate how astronomers have come to understand the scientific principles that govern our universe. Topics will include The Big Bang, stars and constellations, black holes, the solar system, the structure and evolution of galaxies and more! Mastery will be demonstrated by creative projects that illustrate understanding of concepts covered. MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $25 materials fee is required.
In the future, will humans evolve new capabilities using electronics and artificial intelligence (AI)? Many storylines in the cyberpunk genre of science fiction present scenarios where this occurs, with good or bad results. Students in this class will build actual electronic devices that react to their environment by lighting up or otherwise signaling what the device is detecting. They will also learn about the reality and possible future of artificial intelligence, and experiment with freely available, open-source AI software. We will also learn about how these technologies might give humans more abilities, just like cochlear implants today use electronics to let deaf people hear. Some coding knowledge in a programming language like C, C++ or Java will be helpful but not absolutely required. MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $35 materials fee is required.
Up, up, and away we go! This course will explore how balloons can be used to power a vehicle, absorb chemicals, or propel a hovercraft. Students will experiement with physics, chemistry, aerodynamics, and more using ordinary balloons. MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $25 materials fee is required.
Welcome to Jurassic Life, the class 65 million years in the making! Get ready to separate the science fiction from the science fact as we take an in-depth look at one of the greatest film franchises in history, Jurassic Park. Students will have the opportunity to learn about dinosaur evolution and biology, all while examining real fossils and paleontological artifacts. We’ll discuss what the movies got right, what the movies got wrong, and even have a chance to create some of our own Mesozoic movie monsters! If you haven’t seen any Jurassic Park flicks, start watching! Students will need to be familiar with the films to get the most out this class.
In this class, students will study the history and ongoing issues in the Environmental Justice movement and investigate case studies of communities struggling with environmental inequities. Students will develop critical-thinking skills by analyzing how pollution and environmental harm connect to injustice. Students will demonstrate mastery by “building” their own city and considering where they will establish different elements, from parks and libraries to waste facilities and industrial plants, then compare their city design with those in the real world.
Music and math may seem like an odd couple, but they actually have a lot in common! This course will allow students to explore the intersection of these two disciplines through creative, hands-on activities that enhance computation, spatial reasoning, and creative problem solving… as well as unleashing musical self-expression! Music topics will include note value, meter, tempo, scale, intervals, harmonics and more. Whether you are a budding musician, or simply interested in new ways to exercise your math chops, music and math will soon be your forte!
Are you fired up to power the future? Students in this class will combine scientific study and hands-on learning to find innovative solutions for sustainable forms of energy. Students will investigate the ever-evolving challenges, costs and benefits of transitioning to safer, cleaner and more affordable energy by surveying both widely used technologies such as solar, wind and hydro energy, as well as cutting-edge innovations still in the early stages of development. Students will develop their creativity and engineering skills as they collaborate to create their own green-energy prototypes. Completion of Think Tank 1 and 2 are not required. MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $35 materials fee is required.
In this class, students will be introduced to some basic laws of physics through hands-on projects and experiments. Students will discuss and debate the different sources of energy that can be converted into electricity and they will conduct experiments to determine the effects of momentum on collisions. Students will engage in demonstrations of Newton’s three laws of motion, and they will discover how to do science–physics style! MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $25 materials fee is required. Materials fee is required.
Students in this class will learn to think and communicate as journalists, observing the world around them to uncover stories inspired by their passions and interests. Guided by the principles of the Journalist’s Creed, students will learn how to communicate their findings in print, online or broadcast media and across a variety of journalistic forms including investigative, watchdog, opinion, entertainment and more! By digging into the who, what, when, where, why and how of their chosen topics, students will develop their critical thinking skills and expand upon their research tools to communicate effectively with their audience.
Human beings have been making clothing from various materials for thousands of years — with an eye towards beauty, as well as functionality. What makes a good design? How has fashion impacted society, and how has society driven fashion over time? In this course, we will dive deep into the artistry and principles of fashion design. We will cover the basics of garment construction, the vocabulary of clothing design, the history and variety of textiles, and trend forecasting. Students will exercise design principles through sketching, storyboarding, and pattern-making. Mastery will be demonstrated through a final creative project that synthesizes concepts covered in class. *A sewing machine is not required for this class, and no previous sewing experience is needed.
Welcome to page one, where writing springs from imagination! This course will draw inspiration straight from the stories, poems, lyrics and even comic books that students love most. Through short reading and writing exercises, students will learn how word choice, syntax, rhythm and rhyme bring setting, characters and plot to life. Interactive games and creative projects will build skills and confidence through exploration, experimentation and play. Mastery will be demonstrated by the creation of a short written work in the student’s genre of choice, which illustrates independent thinking and progress in reading, writing, and verbal expression.
Ready to compete in a worldwide STEAM challenge? The Fluor Engineering Challenge invites students across the globe to put their problem-solving skills to the test! Students in this class will join as a team to hone their skills in problem solving and innvoative design as they construct past engineering challenges such as the Cricket Wicket and Marble Machine, then tackle this year’s challenge to be released in January 2023. Are you up for the Fluor Challenge? Join the team and find out! MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $25 materials fee is required.
Calling young mycologists! Come and explore the ancient origins of fungi and amazing ways that fungi could save our planet for future generations. Through experiments and field science, students will explore different ways that fungi can be both helpful and harmful, then come up with their own ideas for fungi-based inventions. MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $25 materials fee is required.
Calling all engineers, inventors, and builders! Get ready to take on exciting challenges that will put your innovation to the test. This course will present students with a task that combines science, technology, engineering, art, and math, then they’ll work to creatively accomplish the feat while following the guidelines. These challenges support both independence and teamwork skills while strengthening engineering intuition and hands-on building techniques. Mastery will be demonstrated by completion of a final independent STEAM challenge that will show students’ abilities to create a prototype and improve upon it based on its success. MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $25 materials fee is required.
What chemical reactions can make pigments for painting? What kind of intricate patterns can we observe through a microscope? Why is it evolutionarily advantageous for flowers to be beautiful? Scientists of all kinds are inspired by the beauty and order of the world around us, and artists have always used technology and scientific processes as part of their creative endeavors. In this interdisciplinary class, we will become both scientists and artists as we learn scientific concepts through hands-on art projects, and artistic concepts (like balance, harmony, and pattern) through observing the natural world. MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $25 materials fee is required.
It’s time to focus our chemistry knowledge inward and explore the world of biochemistry! We will study the chemistry that takes place in living organisms, such as metabolism, respiration, and photosynthesis. There is an emphasis on the molecular structure of life (DNA, RNA, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids) and how such large and complex molecules can be created and used in pathways and cycles that happen in the cell. We will explore the structure and function of Adenosine Tri Phosphate (ATP), the citric acid cycle, and the importance of enzymes in the inner workings of a typical organism – humans like us, for instance! Mastery will be demonstrated through assignments and reviews. Prerequisites: Students should have an understanding of general chemistry, organic chemistry, and/or molecular biology. MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $25 materials fee is required.
Did you know that the link between math and architecture goes back to ancient times, when the two disciplines were virtually indistinguishable? Pyramids and temples were some of the earliest examples of mathematical principles at work. Today, math continues to feature prominently in building design, from the Kunsthaus Graz in Austria, to Seattle’s Central Library, to LA’s Disney Concert Hall. Through hands-on projects, students will advance their application of geometry concepts such as dimensions and conversions, area and volume, shapes and angles, 2- and 3- dimensional pictures, rays, lines, segments, and more! Mastery will be demonstrated by students’ ability to independently construct and create structures, building on their intuition that Math + Design = Awesome. MATERIALS REQUIRED: A $25 materials fee is required.
What if you knew that every time you played your favorite game, you would win? The game would be no fun! Probability is essential in game design—it can impact gameplay in powerful ways by keeping players on their toes and making each move more exciting than the last. In this course, students will learn about probability’s greatest role in game design through a combination of strategy, mathematical problem solving and spirited play using board games and other engaging activities.
Your team of investigators has been called to take a case at the City Museum where the current museum director has uncovered evidence of a rare and valuable item hidden in the museum, and it is up to you and your team to find it. Together, you will gather the information and clues necessary to solve puzzles and problems, reveal passwords, and decipher codes. Clues and hints could be anywhere. Solving one puzzle may provide the clue to unlock another! The mystery will be impossible to solve without the help of your investigative team, so collaborating, communicating, and sharing with your teammates will be an important part of successfully advancing through the case; however, you must also keep your discoveries safe from prying eyes! In order to ensure only your team will be able to access important information, you will need to create your own codes and puzzles for your teammates to solve before they can safely unlock the information you want to share. Can your team solve the mystery in time? This escape-room inspired course will encourage students to observe, gather and evaluate evidence, think critically (and laterally!), communicate findings, and problem solve in a collaborative setting. Mastery will be demonstrated through ongoing group problem solving and development of original puzzles. Prerequisites: Students must be comfortable working in groups and communicating with peers.
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.
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 their original characters and stories to life. Students will learn and apply elements of creation unique to visual storytelling, including drawing and inking techniques, character design, narrative rules, sequencing, page layout, text distribution, and more! By the end of the course, students will have completed a full-length comic, and they will have a roadmap to continue on to even longer visual stories.
The human body can do amazing things! How does it taste and digest food, observe the world, breathe air, and pump blood? In this class, students will interactively learn about the systems of the human body and gain a deep functional knowledge of how different organs work together. Through hands-on projects and lab activities, students will better understand how the various human body systems work both independently and together. In addition, students will investigate how things like poor food choices can damage these vital systems, as well as the strength of the body’s healing power when put to the test. Mastery will be determined by hands-on projects and virtual lab activities.
Have you ever read a book and wished you could walk around in the world it created? From Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings to Star Wars, a great fantasy or sci-fi series can change even how we look at the real world around us. In this class, we’ll be looking at these series, figuring out what makes them so engaging, and using those tools in our own writing. We’ll write our own parodies and spin-offs of our favorite stories, and work on developing our own fantastic worlds. Through learning writers’ secrets, we’ll find out how to banish writer’s-block, support our fellow authors, and bring people into our stories the same way the best fantasy authors do.
Some additional materials fees and supply purchases may apply and will be listed in the course description. A full supplies list will be provided in the syllabus upon your child’s confirmed enrollment.
Spring 2023 Discounts
FINANCIAL AID IS AVAILABLE!
In an effort to ensure all qualified families have access to programming, IEA has increased our overall financial aid packages for families in need.
Financial aid is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis to qualified applicants. Please click here to fill out a Financial Aid Request form to receive IEA’s Financial Aid materials.
Tuition may be paid by Visa, MasterCard, or check (made payable to Institute for Educational Advancement).
As soon as your child’s courses are confirmed with the minimum number of enrolled students, a $75 enrollment deposit per confirmed course is due. Enrollment deposits are non-refundable and non-transferrable should your child withdraw their enrollment prior to or after the first class meeting. The remaining tuition balance less the deposit amount and applied discounts will be posted to your account and due after the first class meeting. There are no refunds for withdrawals after the second class meeting.
If you will be paying tuition in part or in full using charter school funds, please contact us at email@example.com. IEA is an approved vendor with many charter schools, including:
–– Academy Parent
“WE DO UNIQUE, FUN EXPERIMENTS AND ACTIVITIES TO FURTHER OUR UNDERSTANDING OF DEMANDING CONCEPTS, SUCH AS CREATING A DIAGRAM OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM MADE OUT OF DIFFERENT FOOD ITEMS TO HELP DEMONSTRATE EACH PLANET’S QUALITIES.”
– – Academy Student
“THE CLASSES AT IEA ARE CONTENT RICH. THIS IS IMPORTANT WHEN YOU NEED TO FEED AN INTELLECTUALLY HUNGRY STUDENT WHO THRIVES ON LEARNING.”
–– Academy Student
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