Academy Courses | Programs | Institute for Educational Advancement
 

Fall 2020 – Online Summer Academy 

Please click on any class to view the full description for that course. 

Fall Academy Schedule 2020 - Online

10 am
11 am
12 pm
1 pm
2 pm
3 pm
4 pm
5 pm
6 pm
Monday
Monday
Ka-Pow! Graphic Novels and the Hero's Journey (Ages 9-12)

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. Note: Students can successfully participate in the class using household art supplies, however, a list of recommended materials will be provided in the syllabus upon confirmed enrollment in the course.

Cardiology (Ages 12-14)

Human hearts pump about 2,000 gallons of blood every day to keep every other cell, tissue, and organ in our body stocked with oxygen, free of waste, energized with sugar, and more. But how does the system of valves, muscle, electricity, veins, and arteries work cohesively to accomplish such a big job? An what are the most common problems that can interfere with heart function and what techniques and procedures have doctors developed to fix them? This course will familiarize students with the anatomy, physiology, and medical study of the circulatory system to investigate these questions and more! Mastery will be demonstrated by the student's ability to link anatomical structures with regulatory functions of a normal heart and a diseased heart.

Biology of Me (Ages 6-9)

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 lab activities.

Microbiology: Pathogens and Petri Dishes - LOCALS ONLY (Ages 9-12)

Have you ever wondered about the invisible friends and foes that make up the microscopic world around us? This course is designed for young students who want to investigate and gain in-depth knowledge of the biology of bacteria, viruses, and more. Students will explore both beneficial microbes and disease-causing pathogens while learning how they grow, multiply, and impact our lives both positively and negatively. Classes will include hands-on experiments, creative projects, and inquiry-based exploration into the microscopic world and its large-scale effects. Mastery will be demonstrated by direct feedback, question and answer sessions, and creative projects. Please note this class is marked as LOCALS ONLY. We hope to transition this class to in-person instruction if it becomes safe to do so per local authorities and health guidelines. Please only enroll in this class if you are open to attending these courses in person at our Learning Center in Pasadena.

Tuesday
Tuesday
Mammalogy (Ages 9-12)

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. We will focus on living mammals, extinct mammals, domesticated mammals, and you will even a get to create your own mammal! 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. Get ready to take an exciting journey into the world of mammals!

Universal Design (Ages 12-14)
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

It can be challenging for the differently-abled to navigate their worlds at school, home, and work. Universal Design is a set of design principles geared towards making everyday life easier for those of all abilities. This course will cover some of the basic principles of Universal Design, then challenge students to apply them to familiar home and school situations. We will prototype face masks that allow the hearing-impaired to read lips and gadgets to assist people who have use of only one hand. Students will also be introduced to math models for the visually impaired in order to develop tactile math lessons themselves. Our prototypes will combine everyday household items with 3D-printed objects that we will create through the free design program Tinkercad. Mastery will be demonstrated by the ability to discuss and apply Universal Design principles in prototype devices. Note: Tuition for this course is $470. Each session runs 75 minutes for a total of 15 hours and includes 3D-printed student products.

The Periodic Table: Essential Elements (Ages 6-9)

From aluminum to zirconium, the periodic table organizes every element that exists - and those that have yet to be discovered! This class will dive into how elements are different at the atomic level and how those structural distinctions give them physical and chemical properties we can observe. Students will explore the different groups of elements, what gives them different qualities, why they react with one another, and how to interpret the symbols and structure of the periodic table. Mastery will be demonstrated through a project that explores and explains the observable physical and chemical properties of an element or compound.

Medieval Battle Tech (Ages 9-12)
4:00 pm - 5:15 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. Note: Tuition for this course is $470. Each session runs 75 minutes for a total of 15 hours and includes 3D-printed student products.

What Would Socrates Say? (Ages 12-14)

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. Note: This course requires students to own a copy of “A Little History of Philosophy,” by Nigel Warburton.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (Ages 12-14)
4:00 pm - 5:45 pm

Are you an experienced D&D player looking to step up your game, ready to map uncharted territory alongside a cast of larger-than-life characters? If so, then Advanced Dungeons and Dragons awaits! Join the journey and 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. Mastery will be demonstrated through advancements in-game strategy and collaboration with peers. Note: This course will run 105 minutes per session from Sept. 18-Oct. 30 (7 weeks) to allow for optimal gameplay.

Wednesday
Wednesday
World Geography (Ages 6-9)

Dust off your compass for an adventure across the globe to discover the why behind the where---Geography! In this class, students will locate cities, countries and territories to examine how the natural environment impacts human culture, from the structures they build, to the resources they use and trade, to the borders they share with neighbors. By comparing and contrasting earth's physical properties in places as diverse as Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and Qatar, students will broaden their understanding of the human societies that spread across it. Mastery will be demonstrated through a final creative project that synthesizes concepts covered.

The Physics of Roller Coaster Design (Ages 9-12)

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. Note: A supplies list will be provided in the syllabus upon confirmed enrollment in the course.

Math Circle (Ages 9-12)

Mathematicians are Pattern Sniffers, Experimenters, Describers, Tinkerers, Inventors, Visualizers, Conjecturers, and Guessers (according to Cuoco, et. al in their iconic paper “Habits of Mind: An Organizing Principle for Mathematics Curricula). Math Circles allow students to establish these habits of mind in a comfortable environment while tackling ‘low ceiling, high threshold’ problems that are easy to understand but allow exploration at different levels. We revisit ideas again and again from different viewpoints. Math Circles are both a time to get together and discuss mathematics and also a time to circle around deep ideas in mathematics, seeing them from different viewpoints.

Genetics: A Splice of Life (Ages 12-14)

This class will provide students with knowledge of genetics through an overview of the history of the study of inheritance, a discussion of the origins of genetic variation and diversity, DNA replication mechanisms, and real-life applications. Students will also learn about the mutations in the human genome that cause genetic disorders, and discuss the development of genetic techniques, such as sequencing and genetic engineering, and its role scientific research and modern medicine. Mastery will be demonstrated by accurate predictions and conclusions based on genetic data, fluency in genetic terminology and pathologies, and an understanding of both the positive implications and potential problems associated with genetic engineering techniques. Pre-requisites: Students must be comfortable with higher levels of probability math problems and general knowledge of DNA as the mechanism for inheritance.

Bees and Other Builders (Ages 6-9)

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.

Organic Chemistry (Ages 12-14)

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.

The Science of Plastics (Ages 6-9)

Plastics are inexpensive, durable materials that we use every day, yet environmental protection groups and plastic manufacturers both agree that marine plastic debris and microplastics cause extensive damage to marine environments all over the world. Students in this course will learn about the manufacturing and processing of plastics, how they are used to reduce energy use, improve durability, and ease maintenance, and how plastics are discarded or recycled, often to the detriment of marine ecosystems. Students will demonstrate mastery by identifying the costs and benefits of using plastic and developing solutions to reduce their environmental impact.

Rocketry (Ages 9-12)

Rocketry is on the the rise--pun intended! With Elon Musk and Space X, there is a new interest in rocketry, space and space travel. But where did it begin? The serious pursuit began with JPL in the 1940's in the Pasadena area, and from that point, research expanded and continued. When President Kennedy wanted man to go to the moon, the Space Race and building and experimenting with rockets was on. In this course, students will explore what comprises rocket-making, create their own rockets, and gain an understanding of propulsion and rocketry basics. We will also dive into historical examples of space missions, looking into what was accomplished, and what direction rockets will take us in the future.

Robotics: MakeBot Challenge - LOCALS ONLY (Ages 12-14)

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. Note: This course requires the purchase of a mBot Robot Kit. Price varies depending on the seller. Links to purchase options and tech requirements will be provided in the syllabus upon enrollment in the course. Please note this class is marked as LOCALS ONLY. We hope to transition this class to in-person instruction if it becomes safe to do so per local authorities and health guidelines. Please only enroll in this class if you are open to attending these courses in person at our Learning Center in Pasadena.

Thursday
Thursday
Harry Potter: Behind the Words (Ages 9-12)

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.

Fashion: From Seam to Scene (Ages 12-14)

Human beings have been making clothing from various materials for thousands of years -- with an eye towards beauty, as well as functionality. So what makes a good design? 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.

How to Eat a Poem (Ages 6-9)

In this class that draws on writing exercises developed by legendary poet-teacher Kenneth Koch, students will explore the five senses through the art of poetry. Together we will write Color Poems, Noise Poems, Comparison Poems, Wish Poems, and many more poems combining various strategies for entering into the world of writing. This class will encourage students to write freely and creatively, and develop an appreciation for the infinite possibilities that arise when we begin to play with language. Students will read and listen to poems by children as well as age-appropriate poems by Mary Oliver, Shel Silverstein, Joy Harjo, and more. We will also explore visual modes of art-making that complement our literary adventures. At the end of our 12 weeks, student work will be compiled into an anthology they can take home for their reading enjoyment.

Bridge Design and Building (Ages 9-12)

Bridges have connected civilizations and allowed them to survive and expand across communities and countries. In the past, people made bridges from a variety of materials, some of which have survived over the centuries. The advent of steel has changed bridge-making altogether and exceeded what was possible in the past. In this course, students will have the opportunity to understand the basic principles of bridge construction, explore architectural examples of bridge-making, and problem-solve making and designing their own bridge.

Fantastic Worlds: How to Write the Next Great Fantasy Series (Ages 12-14)

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.

Friday
Friday
Get Rolling: Robotics - LOCALS ONLY (Ages 6-9)

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. Note: This course requires the purchase of a Sphero Mini robot. Price varies depending on seller. Links to purchase options and tech requirements will be provided in the syllabus upon enrollment in the course. Please note this class is marked as LOCALS ONLY. We hope to transition this class to in-person instruction if it becomes safe to do so per local authorities and health guidelines. Please only enroll in this class if you are open to attending these courses in person at our Learning Center in Pasadena.

Stepping into History: The American Revolution (10-14) (Ages 10-14)

Have you ever wanted to be in the room where it happened? Now is your chance! Travel back in time to the 18th century as the United States becomes more than a dream. But whose dream will become reality in this role-play adventure? Students will portray different players from the era of the American Revolution, each with unique motivations. Will they successfully claim independence, establish a new government, and pave the way for a fruitful future? Only time will tell. After reading crucial literature from this period, students will author their own thought pieces and speeches to influence the Second Continental Congress as it works to shape a nation. Mastery will be demonstrated through the incorporation of historical thinking and philosophies in gameplay decision-making.

The Creative Process (Ages 9-12)

Do you have an idea that you're ready to make into a reality? In this class, students will explore cultivating creativity and how to foster all aspects of it. The class will be centered around an open exploration utilizing any and all materials, ideas and inspiration. Creativity is like anything else, it can only be awakened while practiced. Join us as we explore the mysterious and wonderful world of creativity.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Ages 12-14)
1:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Are you an experienced D&D player looking to step up your game, ready to map uncharted territory alongside a cast of larger-than-life characters? If so, then Advanced Dungeons and Dragons awaits! Join the journey and 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. Mastery will be demonstrated through advancements in game strategy and collaboration with peers. Note: This course will run 105 minutes per session from Sept. 18-Oct. 30 (7 weeks) to allow for optimal gameplay.

Astronomy Adventures (Ages 6-9)

Young 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 as they zoom in to stars and out to distant galaxies! Mastery will be demonstrated by creative projects that illustrate understanding of concepts covered.

Expository Writing (Ages 9-12)

Whether you’re a budding journalist or astrophysicist, learning the ropes of writing will help you communicate your big ideas with clarity and ease. This course will take the mystery out of learning to write well by breaking down the writing process into manageable steps. Using a program called the Hochman Method from The Writing Revolution, students will learn writing strategies that will equip them to face any blank page with confidence. Sessions will focus on specific techniques and targeted feedback that match each student's needs. At the same time, students will have opportunities to pursue content based on their particular interests, with the objective to develop enjoyment and motivation in the writing process, in addition to skill and technique.

Saturday
Saturday
Page One: Creative Writing (Ages 6-9)

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.

Secrets of the Snake (Ages 9-12)

Courage is knowing what not to fear. -Plato Snakes are some of the most feared creatures on planet Earth, and yet they are also one of the most misunderstood. In this class, students will learn all there is to know about snakes, from their evolution and biodiversity to their locomotion and senses, to their rightful place in the labyrinth of human history, religion and folklore. Students will have the opportunity to interact with live pet serpents, then build on their knowledge to construct an original serpentarium that exhibits their understanding and appreciate for what makes a snake a snake.

Medical Pathology (Ages 12-14)

Ready, set, diagnose! This course is designed for students who want to investigate and gain an in-depth understanding on disease-causing pathogens, how they impact the human body and medical treatments used to stop them. Classes will include case studies, creative projects, and inquiry-based exploration into different diseases and disease-states. Mastery will be demonstrated by direct feedback, question and answer sessions, and case study diagnosis.

Cells: Under the Microscope (Ages 6-9)

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.

Fall Academy Schedule 2020 - Online

 

Summer 2020 – Online Summer Academy 

Please click on any class to view the full description for that course. 

2020 Online Summer Academy Schedule

9 am
10 am
11 am
12 pm
1 pm
2 pm
3 pm
4 pm
Monday, Wednesday and Friday Classes (June 15 - July 17)
Monday, Wednesday and Friday Classes (June 15 - July 17)
Science Explorations (Ages 6-9)

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.

It's Electrifying: Fueling the Future (Ages 9-12)

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.

Organic Chemistry (Ages 12-14)

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.

Page One: Creative Writing (Ages 6-9)

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.

Ka-Pow! Graphic Novels and the Hero's Journey (Ages 9-12)

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.

Ka-Pow! Graphic Novels and the Hero's Journey (Ages 9-12)

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)

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.

Kitchen Chemistry (Ages 6-9)

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.

Myths and Monsters (9-12)

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 in 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 discussion on cultural beliefs, and tests of acquired knowledge.

Pathology of Viruses (Ages 12-14)

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.

Break

Robotics: Get Rolling! (Ages 6-9)

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.

Sustainable Product Design (Ages 9-12)

The manufacturing of goods and products impacts the health of our planet's environments, and is a major contributing factor to global climate change. People and companies are increasingly interested in making everything from toothbrushes to children's toys more sustainable -- that is, less damaging to the environment. This involves not only making products that are more recyclable, compostable, or durable, but also sourcing the materials for products in ways that have minimal impact on our earth's health. In this interdisciplinary class that combines scientific research, problem-solving, and hands-on learning, we will learn about the key issues of sustainable design. We will then conceive, design, and model our own sustainable products. Mastery will be demonstrated by a presentation on your product what makes it sustainable.

Cells: Under the Microscope (6-9)

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.

California's Awesome Nature (Ages 9-12)

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.

Starting from Scratch (Ages 6-9)

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).

Spotlight on Innovation (Ages 12-14)

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.

Tuesday and Thursday Classes (June 15 - July 17)
Tuesday and Thursday Classes (June 15 - July 17)
Mythology of Many Lands (Ages 6-9)
9:00 am - 10:15 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.

The Ultimate Guide to Predators (Ages 9-12)
9:00 am - 10:15 am

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.

Robotics: MakeBot Challenges (Ages 12-14)
9:00 am - 10:15 am

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.

The Math Kitchen (Ages 6-9)
10:30 am - 11:45 am

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!

Robotics: Ramping Up (Ages 9-12)
10:30 am - 11:45 am

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.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Ages 12-14)
10:30 am - 12:15 pm

Are you an experienced D&D player looking to step up your game, ready to map uncharted territory alongside a cast of larger-than-life characters? If so, then Advanced Dungeons and Dragons awaits! Join the journey and 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. Note: This course will be held for 4 weeks (8 class meetings) at 105 minutes each session to allow for optimal gameplay.

Break

smARTy Science (Ages 6-9)
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

What chemical reactions can make pigments for painting? Why is it evolutionary advantageous for flowers to be beautiful? What kind of intricate patterns can we observe through a microscope? 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 that students will be taking home, and artistic concepts (like balance, harmony, and pattern) through observing the natural world.

Cenozoic Life (Ages 9-12)
12:30 pm - 1:45 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!

Programming with Python (Ages 9-12)
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

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.

Hacker Calculus (Ages 12-14)
12:30 pm - 1:45 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.

Bees and Other Builders (Ages 6-9)
2:00 pm - 3:15 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.

Harry Potter: Behind the Words (Ages 9-12)
2:00 pm - 3:15 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.

Medieval Battle Tech (Ages 9-12)
2:00 pm - 3:15 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.

What Would Socrates Say (Ages 12-14)
2:00 pm - 3:15 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.

2020 Online Summer Academy Schedule

 

Spring 2020 Courses 

View more information about our class held at Sierra Madre Elementary on Tuesdays from 2:30 to 3:30 starting January 28!

Please click on any class to view the full description for that course. 

 

Spring Academy Schedule 2020

10 am
11 am
12 pm
1 pm
2 pm
3 pm
4 pm
5 pm
6 pm
Monday
Monday
Lego Robotics (Ages 6-9)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Come and have your world stretched with having fun learning coding, engineering, coding language (Block coding based on Scratch), with programmable multi-port Hub motors and actuators. We will research and test designs and build our bots to overcome challenges. Students will become confident learners who know how to undertake real world 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 will require an additional robot materials fee.

Science Explorations (Ages 9-12)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

What is the difference between a tornado and solar windstorm? Is Earth the only celestial body with plate tectonics? How do natural disasters and environmental issues advance land, ocean and space exploration? In this class, students will gain in-depth knowledge of earth’s systems and processes including earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes while investigating the physical, chemical and engineering concepts that make space exploration possible. Students will be challenged to step up their application of the scientific method (think 2-stage balloon rockets!) and hone their critical thinking skills through inquiry-based investigations. Disaster control preparedness and assessment of environmental impacts will also be covered. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the scientific method to lab and field experiments, and developing constructive projects and analysis. This class requires a $25 materials fee. Please report any allergies to food and plant material.

Ka-Pow: Graphic Novels and the Hero's Journey (Ages 12-14)
4:00 pm - 5:30 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.

Tuesday
Tuesday
Intro to Algebra at Sierra Madre Elementary (Grades 3rd-5th)

This class will run for 8 weeks (March 3-April 28) at Sierra Madre Elementary School. This course is designed to give students a foundation for all future mathematics courses. Through a "Discovery-Confirmation-Practice"-based exploration of basic concepts, students are challenged to work toward mastery of computational skills, to deepen their understanding of key ideas and solution strategies, and to extend their knowledge through a variety of problem-solving applications. Course topics include integers, the language of algebra; solving equations with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; fractions and decimals; measurement; exponents; solving equations with roots and powers; multi-step equations; and linear equations. Students will build the habits of using precise language, practicing, and sharing their thoughts. Course objectives will be achieved using computer-assisted learning, group discussions, and individual /group projects. Students are ready for this course if they have mastered basic arithmetic and operations with fractions.

Introduction to Electronics (Ages 6-9)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Learn how and why the world of electronics, smartphones and computers work. This extremely hands-on class will help students explore the basic principles of electronics and conduct experiments using Manipulatives. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the scientific method in the lab and building experiments, and the construction of creative projects. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Cenozoic Life (Ages 9-12)
4:00 pm - 5:30 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)
4:00 pm - 5:30 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.

Wednesday
Wednesday
Design Principles in Engineering and Art (Ages 6-9)
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Time to rise to the challenge! Students will work within the given criteria and constraints to meet a challenge each week. Classic engineering challenges will be mixed with structural art and a few longer-term projects. Some weeks the challenge will be more functional in nature and others will have aesthetic requirements. In either case, students work through the design process (Explore à Plan à Create à Test -->Refine) to solve the challenge. Materials range from recycled materials to standard craft materials and occasionally fine art supplies. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

We The People (Ages 9-12)
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

As we enter an election year, we should understand how our country was designed to work. This nonpartisan course explores how intelligent people with very different beliefs worked together to design a government that was more just than any in existence at that time. In this class, students will learn about what each branch of government can and cannot do, and why we chose to design it this way. We built in the ability to change our Constitution, and we began to add to it before it was the law of the land. We will look at these changes and discover the reasons why they are important.

Forensic Science (Ages 12-14)
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Forensic scientists use biology, chemistry, logic, and even computer science to crack cases and solve mysteries. In this hands-on course, students will learn and apply techniques such as hair analysis, untampered evidence collection, and DNA fingerprinting. Through the power of observation, logical reasoning, scientific tests, and modern DNA technologies, students will learn how crimes are solved and test their own detective skills. Mastery will be demonstrated through the successful solving of a simulated case involving all skill types developed over the course of the session. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Creative Math Problem Solving (Ages 6-9)
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

This course provides an exploration of mathematics as a science with an emphasis on problem solving techniques. A good math puzzle or magic trick can stimulate a child’s imagination much faster than a practical application. Students will discover the diversity of the puzzles and the various approaches to solving them, and as a result it will improve the student’s problem​ ​solving skills, as well as the general thinking skills required for subjects outside of mathematics. ​Mathematical literacy will be addressed through group work, research, and presentations. Topics include basic elements of statistics and probability, number theory and computational skills, logic, Venn diagrams, and graph theory.

Rube Goldberg: Machines and Mazes (Ages 9-12)
12:30 pm - 2:00 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 that optimizes potential and kinetic energies. Mastery will be demonstrated by designing and constructing an original Rube Goldberg machine that successfully illustrates an understanding of concepts covered in class. This class has a $25 materials fee

Global Awareness (Ages 12-14)
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

In this increasingly interconnected world, what happens in one place can influence events halfway around the world. Sometimes it can seem too complicated to understand. This class shows how what happened in the past and the places where it happened shape what is happening today.

Biology of Me (Ages 6-9)
2:15 pm - 3:45 pm

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 lab activities. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Harry Potter: Behind the Words (Ages 9-12)
2:15 pm - 3:45 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.

Pre-Calculus (Ages 12-14)
2:15 pm - 3:45 pm

This course is a thoughtful introduction to advanced studies leading to calculus. It will briefly review linear equations, inequalities, and systems and move purposefully into the study of functions. Students then discover the nature of graphs and deepen their understanding of polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions. The course focuses on the mastery of critical skills and exposure to new skills necessary for success in subsequent math courses. The concepts learned in Pre-Calculus are essential for careers in engineering, mathematics, the hard sciences, finance and some design fields. Course objectives will be achieved using computer-assisted learning, group discussions, and individual /group projects.

Intro to Physics (Ages 6-9)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

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! This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Robotics (Ages 9-12)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Aeronautics and Astronautics (Ages 12-14)
4:00 pm - 5:30 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.

Thursday
Thursday
The Periodic Table (Ages 6-9)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

From aluminum to zirconium, the periodic table organizes every element that exists - and those that have yet to be discovered! This class will dive into how elements are different at the atomic level and how those structural distinctions give them physical and chemical properties we can observe. Students will explore the different groups of elements, what gives them different qualities, why they react with one another, and how to interpret the symbols and structure of the periodic table. Mastery will be demonstrated through a project that explores and explains the observable physical and chemical properties of an element or compound.

The Creative Process: Research and Development (Ages 9-14)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Do you have an idea that you're ready to make into a reality? In this unique class, we will explore cultivating creativity, learning to foster all aspects of it. The class will be centered around an open exploration utilizing any and all materials, ideas and inspiration. Creativity is like anything else, it only gets awaken while practicing or working. Please join us as we explore the mysterious and wonderful life of creativity. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Friday
Friday
World of Science (Ages 6-9)
11:00 am - 12:30 pm

In this exciting class, 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. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Math Circle (Ages 9-12)
11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Mathematicians are Pattern Sniffers, Experimenters, Describers, Tinkerers, Inventors, Visualizers, Conjecturers, and Guessers (according to Cuoco, et. al in their iconic paper “Habits of Mind: An Organizing Principle for Mathematics Curricula). Math Circles allow students to establish these habits of mind in a comfortable environment while tackling ‘low ceiling, high threshold’ problems that are easy to understand but allow exploration at different levels. We revisit ideas again and again from different viewpoints. Thus our math circle is both a time to get together and discuss mathematics and also a time to circle around deep ideas in mathematics, seeing them from different viewpoints.

What's Your Strategy: Board Game Design (Ages 12-14)
11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Students in this class will be challenged not just to learn the rules and structures of games such as "Settlers of Catan", "Coup", "Power Grid", "7 Wonders", but also to analyze how the game was designed, and how to think about game systems. Strategy, negotiation, probability, and player interaction will be investigated through gameplay, discussion and prototyping. Mastery will be demonstrated through assessing strategy, adapting systems and designing game components to make an all-original board game that is playable from start to finish. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

How to Eat a Poem (Ages 6-9)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Bite into a juicy poem in this multi-modal unit to explore poetry with food and art. Students write their own poetry with attention to author’s craft in a variety of forms. The relationship between food and writing is explored with sensory lessons and examples, and the art of Eric Carle and Henri Matisse are studied to create a hybrid style for illustrations.

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

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. We will focus on living mammals, extinct mammals, domesticated mammals, and you will even get to create your own mammal! 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. Get ready to take an exciting journey into the world of mammals!

Science Fiction: Build Your Own Solar System (Ages 12-14)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Dare to go beyond the outermost boundaries of our solar system in this creative writing class designed to engage learners interested in both science and science fiction. In this interdisciplinary course, students will first learn the astronomy necessary to dream up and construct their own realistic solar system. Then, students will consider biology as they inhabit their terrestrial planets with zoological and botanical life. Taking inspiration from epic science fiction storytellers such as Gene Roddenberry, Philip K. Dick, George Lucs, and Frank Herbert, students will develop alien societies and technology, while creating individual characters within these societies. Students will finish the course by writing and editing a short story featuring these characters in the solar system they created. This course is designed to allow students to freely explore and expand their creativity while helping them develop their research, project management, organizational, and writing skills.

The Math Kitchen (Ages 6-9)
3:00 pm - 4:30 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! 

Cultural Anthropology (Ages 9-12)
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Famed travel writer Rick Steves said, “Rather than fear the diversity on this planet, celebrate it. Among your most prized souvenirs will be the strands of different cultures you choose to knit into your own character.” While many of us do not often get the chance to wander the world, we can always study other countries and cultures to get a deeper understanding of those whose customs and behaviors might differ from our own. Each week, students will be introduced to a new country and the unique culture and history found within its borders. They will examine the values, traditions, art, food, media, and people of each country through researching, watching, eating, listening, and reading. Students will write in a weekly journal and show mastery of the content taught in course through a final project and presentation on a specific culture of their choosing. Those with food allergies and restrictions should know there will be weekly culinary activities in this class. This class requires a $25 material fee.

Marine Biology (Ages 12-14)
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Life began in the oceans millions of years ago and to this day the sea still hold uncountable mysteries. We will be taking an in-depth (pun intended!) look at the amazing and diverse animal species that inhabit the ocean. Over the course of this class, you get the chance to examine and handle real animal artifacts and fossils and learn amazing facts about animal morphology, anatomy, evolution, behavior, ecology, and more. Each lesson will focus on a different group of marine organisms and our curriculum will cover the following subjects: sharks and rays, bony fish, marine mammals, sea birds, marine reptiles, invertebrates, and even sea monsters. We will also take a look at the impact humans have had on the marine environment. Grab your scuba mask, hold your breath, and get ready to take the plunge into marine biodiversity!

Saturday
Saturday
Page One: Creative Writing (Ages 6-9)
10:00 am - 11:30 am

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. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Medical Pathology (Ages 9-12)
10:00 am - 11:30 am

Ready, set, diagnose! This course is designed for students who want to investigate and gain an in-depth understanding on disease-causing pathogens, how they impact the human body and medical treatments used to stop them. Classes will include case studies, creative projects, and inquiry-based exploration into different diseases and disease-states. Mastery will be demonstrated by direct feedback, question and answer sessions, and case study diagnosis.

Electronics and Arduino I (Ages 12-14)
10:00 am - 11:30 am

This class is an introduction to electronic circuits and the programming of microcontrollers. Students will learn about the basic components of circuit design (resistors, capacitors, etc.) and how they are used to create a variety of devices. Using the popular Arduino platform, students will learn how to build devices with lights, sensors, motors and more. Emphasis will be placed on how to read and understand standard design schematics, and build circuits to match. Mastery will be demonstrated by the creation of original circuits and functional codes that reflect understanding of components and schematic, and understanding of Arduino programming. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

The Penguin Predicament (Ages 6-9)
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

When a little girl finds a stranded penguin on a beach in Wellington, New Zealand, she writes to a team of zoologists at the Wellington Zoo for advice. Students in this class take on the role of “zoologist” to determine what kind of penguin it is, and ultimately, what is best for the wayward animal. In the process, they will learn about animals’ physical and behavioral adaptations to their environment, as well as the importance of species’ natural habitats. The Penguin Predicament is an NAGC award-winning curriculum designed by nationally recognized expert in gifted education and problem-based learning, Dr. Shelagh A. Gallagher.

Programming with Python (Ages 9-12)
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Learning to code is learning how to solve problems. In this course, we will explore the basic concepts of computer programming – algorithms, loops, conditional statements, etc. – using the popular Python language. Emphasis will be placed not just on the code, but the why behind the code, setting a strong foundation for future growth. Students will learn how to manipulate numbers and text, draw images on the screen, and create a variety of fun projects, such as games and animations. Mastery will be demonstrated through understanding of fundamental programming concepts and familiarity with Python language syntax. Pre-requisites: Basic computer use and typing ability. Math level: pre-Algebra I.

Dungeons & Dragons (Ages 12-14)
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Are you a fan of fantasy, monsters, and magic? Have you ever dreamed of going on an adventure in which you starred as 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. Mastery will be demonstrated through advancements in game strategy and collaboration with peers.

Art in Life (Ages 6-9)
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

This class is designed to help improve students’ basic art skills: drawing, painting and sculpting, design artwork using a variety of media and techniques, develop students’ creativity and self-expression, and recognize and use the art elements (line, shape, color, value, form, texture and space), and design principles (rhythm, balance, proportion, variety, emphasis, harmony and unity).

Secrets of the Snake (Ages 9-12)
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Courage is knowing what not to fear. -Plato Snakes are some of the most feared creatures on planet Earth, and yet they are also one of the most misunderstood. In this class, students will learn all there is to know about snakes, from their evolution and biodiversity to their locomotion and senses, to their rightful place in the labyrinth of human history, religion and folklore. Students will have the opportunity to interact with live pet serpents, then build on their knowledge to construct an original serpentarium that exhibits their understanding and appreciate for what makes a snake a snake.

The Science of Plastics (Ages 12-14)
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Plastics are inexpensive, durable materials that we use every day, yet environmental protection groups and plastic manufacturers both agree that marine plastic debris and microplastics cause extensive damage to marine environments all over the world. Students in this course will learn about the manufacturing and processing of thermoset and thermoplastics, how plastics are used to reduce energy use, improve durability, and ease maintenance, and how plastics are discarded or recycled, often to the detriment of marine ecosystems. Students will demonstrate mastery by identifying the costs and benefits of using plastic and developing solutions to reduce the damage caused by plastic on marine environments.

Spring Academy Schedule 2020

 

A sample list of past Academy courses can be found here.

Fall 2019 Courses 

View more information about our class held at Sierra Madre Elementary on Tuesdays from 2:30 to 3:30 starting October 8th! 

Please click on any class to view the full description for that course. 

 

10 am
11 am
12 pm
1 pm
2 pm
3 pm
4 pm
5 pm
6 pm
Monday
Monday
Hacker Geometry (Ages 9-12)
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Can classic geometry proofs be made with 3D prints? Starting with triangles and circles and going on to conic sections, probability, and more, we will reimagine classic and new geometry proofs. 3D printed models will be created in OpenSCAD (www.openscad.org) which is an open-source, free CAD program. Students will learn the basics of OpenSCAD, and start with existing geometry puzzles and design their own. Some coding experience will be very helpful, but is not required. This course requires a $25 materials fee.

Math for Future Engineers (Ages 6-9)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

How do engineers design strong bridges, efficient transportation, and sturdy skyscrapers? Math! This class will explore the foundations of math that relate to engineering and will apply those topics to building projects. Students will become adept at finding dimensions, taking measurements, interpreting engineering word problems, and using their math skills to continually improve the products they design and build. pre-requisites: Students should be familiar with some multiplication. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Ka-POW! Graphic Novels and The Hero's Journey (Ages 9-12)
4:00 pm - 5:30 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.

Hacker Calculus (Ages 12-14)
4:00 pm - 5:30 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.

Tuesday
Tuesday
Math for Future Scientists at Sierra Madre Elementary (Grades 3rd-5th)

This course runs 8-weeks from October 8-December 3 and takes place at Sierra Madre Elementary School. All Academy students are welcome. Students in this class will go beyond grade level science standards by diving into challenging concepts that integrate mathematical applications across scientific fields. Through hands-on, inquiry-based activities, students will learn to convert miles to light years as astronomers, balance equations as chemists, calculate ratio and proportions as medical doctors, learn coding as computer scientists, and more! Mastery will be demonstrated by the ability to problem-solve across scientific disciplines using math, and the creation of a final project illustrating concepts covered. Prerequisites: Students should be comfortable with multiplication and division.

Seeds of Science (Ages 6-9)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

In this class, students will learn the fundamentals of science; chemistry, physics, geology, environmental science, life science, and more through hands-on experiments! Starting with fundamental principals like the scientific method and discovery though questioning, students will learn about the micro and macro of science across divisions. From sunlight and photosynthesis to the origin of our Earth and solar system, this class will build a foundation for learning by gathering and evaluating evidence, communicating scientific findings to others, and instilling a quest for knowledge. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the scientific method to lab and field experiments, and the construction of creative projects. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Secrets of the Snake (Ages 9-12)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Courage is knowing what not to fear. -Plato Snakes are some of the most feared creatures on planet Earth, and yet they are also one of the most misunderstood. In this class, students will learn all about snakes, from their evolution and biodiversity, to their locomotion and senses, to their transfixing colors and patterns and rightful place in the labyrinth of human history, religion and folklore. Students will have the opportunity to interact with live pet serpents, then build on their experience and knowledge to construct an original serpentarium that exhibits an understanding and appreciation for these fascinating and resilient creatures.

Anatomy and Physiology (Ages 12-14)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Anatomy and physiology are the foundation of all health professions. Students will learn to identify body systems while tracing the specific regulatory pathways and mechanisms to show the cooperative functions of the human body. The curriculum will introduce the anatomy (structure), physiology (function) and pathology (disease) of the pulmonary, and neurologic systems through case studies, clinical simulation, modeling, and dissection. Students will learn and practice monitoring and intervention, as well as how to conduct a physical exam. Mastery of this course will involve a demonstrated understanding of each system and its link to cooperative functions that control the human body to help identify the effects of drugs and trauma to each system. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Wednesday
Wednesday
And Then What? Improv 101 (Ages 6-9)
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Look no further than your internal toolbox to transform fears of "What should I do?" into "Let's go with it!" Students in this class will survey the history and grandmasters of the art of improv, then dive into experimentation with basic techniques and forms by crafting their short sketches. Whether inspired by the miraculous or deceptively mundane, students will be challenged to think on their feet and to tune in to their fellow collaborators and the "game" of the scene.

Govern and Sustain Your Own Country: Systems and Sovereignties (Ages 9-12)
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Congratulations! You have your own country. Now you must think about how to keep it going. What will make people living in your country want to stay and become your citizens? What laws does your country need, how will you make them, and what system will you have in place to make sure people follow them? How will you defend your country if threatened? In this class, we will look at examples of how other countries have solved these problems as you determine what will work best for your country. Mastery will be demonstrated by students presenting their vision of how their country will sustain itself and will be assessed by the practicality and completeness of their plans.

Rocket to Calculus (Ages 12-14)
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

This class makes use of actual rockets and simulations to teach students the basics of algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus. Students will simultaneously learn conceptual physics and the corresponding intuition behind the math. Mastery will be demonstrated by solving math problems, building a model rocket, and witnessing a successful launch. pre-requisites: Students in the class should be comfortable with the fundamentals of algebra. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

World Mythology and Fairy Tales (Ages 6-9)
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

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.

Active Algebra 2 (Ages 9-12)
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

When it comes to finding the values of unknown quantities, Algebra does some heavy lifting! So why not condition your brain and body to help solve X? In this continuation of Active Algebra 1: Solving for X, students will supplement mathematical exercises with brain breaks that support concentration, memory, and relaxation. Algebra concepts such as solving inequalities, factoring and building fluency with math symbols will be practiced with puzzles and independent exercises, while breathing techniques and movement exercises will be introduced at optimal intervals to bring body-mind awareness into the equation. While Active Algebra 1 is not a prerequisite for Active Algebra 2, incoming students should have comfort with arithmetic through multiplication and division, fractions, and knowledge of solving multi-step and straightforward equations. This class requires a $10 materials fee.

Medieval Science and Machinery (Ages 12-14)
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

The Middle Ages has been branded unfairly as the “Dark Ages,” a time in which little academic progress was made. However, the advances made in science, technology, and learning at this time demonstrate otherwise! In this class, we will learn about the various ways in which medieval scholars advanced knowledge in the fields of machinery, architecture, botany, mathematics, and chemistry (alchemy). We will learn the history of science at this time, along with engaging in hands-on experiments and constructions. We will also learn about how medieval science and modern science overlap. Activities will include learning about botany, astronomy, and alchemy, building and testing miniature catapults and trebuchets, simulating medieval chemistry experiments, and building models of Gothic arches. Mastery will be demonstrated by completing class assignments and participating in and reflecting on experiments and constructions throughout the course. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Math for Future Architects (Ages 6-9)
2:15 pm - 3:45 pm

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 math games and 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! This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Final Appeal: To Kill a Mockingbird and the First Amendment (Ages 9-12)
2:15 pm - 3:45 pm

Using Royal Fireworks Press curriculum, students will investigate a court case in which a teacher has been fired for using the novel To Kill a Mockingbird in her class. Students will take on the role of members of the court of appeals who must decide the case by diving into the nuances of the First Amendment. Framed around the concept of continuity and based on a real court case, this class will demonstrate how court decisions are made as students address the same questions facing real judges. What speech is protected, and what is not? What are the rights of employers and employees? This class will follow award-winning curriculum by Dr. Shelagh Gallagher, which incorporates case study and problem-based learning specifically designed for gifted learners. This class requires a $10 problem log fee.

Algorithms: Processes & Pathways (Ages 12-14)
2:15 pm - 3:45 pm

Algorithms exist in technology, but they can also be found outside of computers, ruling endless natural processes! Explore a variety of algorithms that govern computer science programs (e.g. search engines, sorting), robotics (wayfinding, computer vision), and animals (e.g. insect navigation, game theory). The goals of the course include learning what makes an algorithm successful, what professions and endeavors use algorithms, and how to express, describe, and implement algorithms. Students will be introduced to a range of subjects, including programming, artificial intelligence, psychology and zoology. Mastery will be demonstrated by the student’s classroom presentation of an algorithmic analysis of robot or animal behavior.

Rube Goldberg: Machines and Mazes (Ages 6-9)
4:00 pm - 5:30 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 combining engineering, math, and science concepts, students will propel themselves through new information as they work to create a final project that optimizes potential and kinetic energies. Mastery will be demonstrated by designing and constructing an original Rube Goldberg machine that successfully illustrates an understanding of concepts covered in class. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Shark Tank (Ages 9-12)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Are you a budding entrepreneur? Do you enjoy brainstorming and sketching out new ideas? The next great invention, product, or service is just waiting to be created – by you! If you have an interest in business and marketing, here's your chance to hone your skills. You'll delve into product design, market supply and demand, focus groups, overhead costs, and much more. Whether you are looking to create something from scratch, or simply improve upon an existing product, you will have the chance to see it through from conceptualization to completion. A culminating pitch, including a prototype, business plan, and marketing campaign will demonstrate mastery to a panel.

Black Death: Problem Solving the Plague (Ages 12-14)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

The Black Death, otherwise known as The Plague, has held its place as the greatest pandemic in human history—and in no small part to the common belief that “Ring around the Rosy” is a telling of the tragedy. But what are the facts? Students will delve into what has gone down in history as one of the most influential diseases that, apart from its enormous death toll, resulted in major social, political, and economic change. This class will follow award-winning curriculum by Dr. Shelagh Gallagher, which incorporates case study and problem-based learning specifically designed for gifted learners. Students will take on the roles of decision-makers in a European town attempting to plan for and against the coming plague. Students will uncover just how much is unknown about the effects of the Plague, and how those unknowns still affect us today. This class requres a $10 program log fee.

Thursday
Thursday
Bees and Other Builders (Ages 6-9)
4:00 pm - 5:30 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.

Scientific Explorations in Nature and Technology (Ages 9-12)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

What is the difference between a tornado and solar windstorm? Is Earth the only celestial body with plate tectonics? How do natural disasters and environmental issues advance land, ocean and space exploration? In this class, students will gain in-depth knowledge of earth’s systems and processes including earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes while investigating the physical, chemical and engineering concepts that make space exploration possible. Students will be challenged to step up their application of the scientific method (think 2-stage balloon rockets!) and hone their critical thinking skills through inquiry-based investigations. Disaster control preparedness and assessment of environmental impacts will also be covered. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the scientific method to lab and field experiments, and developing constructive projects and analysis. This class requires a $25 materials fee. Please report any allergies to food and plant material.

From Script to Screen: Writing the Next Great Movie (Ages 9-12 and 12-14)
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

From Script to Screen takes a peek behind the curtain of what makes great cinema "Classic." Students will learn about the creative process through the use of cinematic elements like conflict and characterization as they work to craft their own story into a compelling screenplay. By studying successful writers, directors, and actors, students will identify their style and voice which they will learn to pitch to a producer. Mastery in this class will be demonstrated by the creation of a final draft screenplay that illustrates concepts covered in class.

Friday
Friday
Primary Math with Beast Academy (Ages 6-9)

This class, which will use the challenging yet accessible Beast Academy curriculum by Art of Problem Solving, is for advanced first- through third- grade students who are excited to dig deeper into the world of math. Students will have all their math questions answered and use a creative, inquiry-based approach to become experts in topics such as fractions, graphing, measurement, place values, multiplication and division, order of operations, and mathematical reasoning. Mastery will be demonstrated by an ability to explain one of the concepts covered in a creative, thorough way to the rest of the class. Pre-requisites: Students should feel confident with addition, subtraction, and recording their answers.

Roller Coaster Design (Ages 9-12)
11:00 am - 12:30 pm

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. Students in this class 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 Over 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. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Executive Functioning: Training the CEO of Our Brain (Ages 10-14)
11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Executive functioning is a set of mental skills that help all of us get things done. In many ways, it acts as the CEO of our brain, helping us organize, prioritize, and manage the activities and tasks we must complete on any given day. During this course, students will gain empowering tools on how to approach their academic and personal lives with a sense of purpose, passion, and fulfillment. We will cover topics such as learning styles, motivation styles, time management, stress, effective leadership, communication, and how to break down goals into positive, sustainable action steps within the student's control. With increased self-awareness, students will gain the confidence needed to be able to better handle the academic and personal challenges of school and life.

Periodic Table: Essential Elements (Ages 6-9)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

From aluminum to zirconium, the periodic table organizes every element that exists - and those that have yet to be discovered! This class will dive into how chemical elements are different at the atomic level and how those structural distinctions give them physical and chemical properties we can observe. Students will explore the different groups of elements and what gives them different qualities, why they react with one another, and how to interpret the symbols and structure of the periodic table. Mastery will be demonstrated through a project that explores and explains the observable physical and chemical properties of an element or compound. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

A Short History of Nearly Everything (Ages 9-12)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

When did the Big Bang occur? What first sparked life in the universe? How did man go from barely surviving in caves to building advanced societies? These are some of the questions we will be addressing as we explore the established understanding of the universe, life, and nearly everything else around us with Bill Bryson's bestseller A Short History of Nearly Everything. Employing Bryson's interdisciplinary approach, students will learn about the history and foundational concepts of anthropology, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and astronomy. Through storytelling, discussion, and experimentation, we will trace the footsteps of the great thinkers of our past and discover the what, when, where, and why's that make our reality possible. Designed to allow for different learning styles and fluidity of expression and creativity, this course will culminate in an in-class presentation by students on an influential thinker of their choice featured in the book.

Genetics: A Splice of Life (Ages 12-14)
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

This class will provide students with an overview of the history of the study of inheritance, a discussion of the origins of genetic variation and diversity, DNA replication mechanisms, and real-life applications. Students will also learn about the mutations in the human genome that cause genetic disorders, and discuss the development of genetic techniques, such as sequencing and genetic engineering, and its role in scientific research and modern medicine. Mastery will be demonstrated by accurate predictions and conclusions based on genetic data, fluency in genetic terminology and pathologies, and an understanding of both the positive implications and potential problems associated with genetic engineering techniques. Pre-requisites: Students must be comfortable with probability math problems.

Inventioneers (Ages 6-9)
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Calling all inventors and engineers! Where would we be without Thomas Edison’s lightbulb, Marie Curie’s X-rays, or Alan Turing’s machine that led to modern computer algorithms? Did you know that some of the world’s favorite toys and products were created completely by accident? Students will dive into pioneering inventors throughout history and will use these design processes to develop their own amazing inventions. Each invention will be tested and modified just like real-life prototypes. Mastery will be demonstrated through the execution of the engineering design process and ability to produce a novel creation that will somehow fill a need observed by the student. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Myths and Monsters II (Ages 9-12)
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

In this sequel to Myths and Monsters I, students will delve even deeper into the realm of mythical beasts as they uncover the origins and scientific explanations behind some of the most otherworldly imaginings of Greek, Egyptian, Viking, and Native American creators. From Medieval bestiaries and mythical birds to demi-humans, ghosts, and zombies, students will explore the people and cultures responsible for entities that have transcended realities of the real-world since ancient times. Mastery will be demonstrated through in-depth group discussion on cultural beliefs, hands-on analysis of fossils and animal artifacts, tests of acquired knowledge, and the creation of an original 21st-century beast. Prerequisites: Myths and Monsters I is recommended, but not required.

The Power of Speech and Debate (Ages 12-14)
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

This course is for the student who desires to express themselves effectively and confidently in any situation, socially or academically. Students will develop and improve their public speaking, argumentative, and critical-thinking skills through their presentation and participation in several in-class speeches and debates. We will explore and research a variety of formats, including educational and persuasive speeches, and Lincoln-Douglas, cross-examination, and academic debate. In addition, students will develop their ability to critique, analyze, and question speeches and debates delivered by others. Mastery will be demonstrated through the development and presentation of an independent speech and participation in a group debate. Students will be invited to choose their topic matter for speeches and debates appropriate for a classroom setting.

Saturday
Saturday
The Plot Thickens: Creative Writing (Ages 6-9)
10:00 am - 11:30 am

This sequel to Page One and The Next Chapter: Creative Writing invites new and continuing students to further explore their interests in writing and to develop new creative ideas. Students will continue to participate in the Writing Process through Writer's Workshop to develop their use of narrative, vocabulary, and dialogue in genres of their choice. At the beginning of each class, new subject matter will be introduced to enrich students' passion and interest in the written word. Students will create a final project, which will challenge them to plan and execute an original idea. Prerequisites: Page One: Creative Writing is recommended, but not required.

Scientific Literacy: Genetic Technologies (Ages 9-12)
10:00 am - 11:30 am

The science of genetics is everywhere, even in the news! In this era of abundant new genetic discoveries and technologies, students will learn to explain modern DNA technologies, evaluate the ethical dilemmas surrounding genetics, and accurately interpret evidence and data. Students will look at the most pertinent genetics issues such as GMOs, gene editing, and at-home DNA testing kits through both discussion and hands-on experimentation. Does the public have a full, accurate picture of these issues, and if not, where do their conceptions go wrong? After investigating the facts of each issue and how they are often presented to the public, students will be able to form their own ideas and spot when the media isn’t telling the whole story. Mastery will be demonstrated by sharing with the class about a modern genetics topic of the student’s choice, including common misconceptions.

Siri: What is Natural Language Processing? (Ages 12-14)
10:00 am - 11:30 am

As our interaction with machines steadily increases, computer intelligence becomes more fluid, intuitive, and intelligent. We are now reaching the point of being able to communicate with our devices in the same way we engage with people through talking and writing, as demonstrated by voice-based assistants like Amazon Alexa, or writing support apps like Grammarly and Google Translate. This course will introduce students to the endeavor of using computers to analyze human language. Students will apply simple techniques in math, logic, and computing to intuitive exercises such as judging whether a word in an essay is misspelled or determining whether a social media post conveys positive or negative emotion. Mastery will be demonstrated by an independent project that illustrates the analytical problem-solving skills essential to all programming frameworks.

Biology of Me (Ages 6-9)
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

What's Your Strategy? Board Game Design (Ages 9-12)
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Students in this class will be challenged not just to learn the rules and structures of games such as "Settlers of Catan," "Coup," "Power Grid," "7 Wonders", but also to analyze how the game was designed, and how to think about game systems. Strategy, negotiation, probability, and player interaction will be investigated through gameplay, discussion, and prototyping. Mastery will be demonstrated through assessing strategy, adapting systems, and designing game components to make an all-original board game that is playable from start to finish.

Zoo Design (Ages 12-14)
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Zoos make it possible for humans to have up-close encounters with virtually any animal on the planet. But how and why are zoos designed the way they are, and what improvements could be made to even the most state-of-the-art habitats? Students in this class will explore all types of zoos, whether urban, safari park, or wildlife preserve to create their own original human-made habitat. Topics will include the history, evolution, and ethics of zoos, considerations for sustaining diverse species and the design components that make them educational, socially conscious, and visitor friendly. Mastery will be demonstrated through the creation of an original zoo design illustrating an understanding of concepts covered in class.

STEAM Building (Ages 6-9)
2:00 pm - 3:30 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.

Dungeons and Dragons (Ages 9-12)
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Are you a fan of fantasy, monsters, and magic? Have you ever dreamed of going on an adventure in which you starred as 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. Mastery will be demonstrated through advancements in game strategy and collaboration with peers.

Take Shape! 3D Design and Printing (Ages 12-14)
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

It's been said of 3D printing that "If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a thousand pictures." In this course, students will enable their ideas to take shape by learning to design and print using advanced modern technology. Students will use our Original Prusa i3 MK2S printer, which was voted 3D Printer of the Year in 2017 and 2018 by MAKE: Magazine and supports a wide range of materials for endless creativity! Mastery will be demonstrated through the independent design and printing of an original and useful product that can be used in students' daily lives. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

 

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