Fall 2020 – Online Summer Academy
Please click on any class to view the full description for that course.
Fall Academy Schedule 2020 - Online
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mammalogy (Ages 9-12)2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Universal Design (Ages 12-14)2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
The Periodic Table: Essential Elements (Ages 6-9)4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Medieval Battle Tech (Ages 9-12)4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
What Would Socrates Say? (Ages 12-14)4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (Ages 12-14)4:00 pm - 5:45 pm
World Geography (Ages 6-9)11:30 am - 12:30 pm
The Physics of Roller Coaster Design (Ages 9-12)11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Math Circle (Ages 9-12)1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Genetics: A Splice of Life (Ages 12-14)1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Bees and Other Builders (Ages 6-9)2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Organic Chemistry (Ages 12-14)2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
The Science of Plastics (Ages 6-9)4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Rocketry (Ages 9-12)4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Robotics: MakeBot Challenge - LOCALS ONLY (Ages 12-14)4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Harry Potter: Behind the Words (Ages 9-12)2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Fashion: From Seam to Scene (Ages 12-14)2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
How to Eat a Poem (Ages 6-9)4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Bridge Design and Building (Ages 9-12)4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Fantastic Worlds: How to Write the Next Great Fantasy Series (Ages 12-14)4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Get Rolling: Robotics - LOCALS ONLY (Ages 6-9)11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Stepping into History: The American Revolution (10-14) (Ages 10-14)11:30 am - 12:30 pm
The Creative Process (Ages 9-12)1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Ages 12-14)1:00 pm - 2:45 pm
Astronomy Adventures (Ages 6-9)3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Expository Writing (Ages 9-12)3:00 pm - 4:00 pm