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Summer SAVY 2013 Course Offerings are Here

Posted by on Thursday, December 6, 2012 in news.

Soon, Summer SAVY 2013 course books will be mailed and the new online application will be available! For now, here is a glimpse of our offerings.

Dates & Times

Session 1: June 16-21 (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Session 2: June 24-28 (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Session 3: July 8-19 (Weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with morning session 9:00 to 11:45 and afternoon session 12:45 to 4:00)

Sessions 1 and 2: Full Day Only

Grades 1-5: As part of enrollment, students will select one course from the offerings for their grade level. This course will take place in the morning. During afternoons, students will participate in stimulating enrichment activities led by educators and Vanderbilt students. Upon admission to Summer SAVY, students will receive options of enrichment activities and will be asked to rank their preferences.

Grades 6-7: Rising 6th and 7th grade students will gain experience in a pre-college environment by enrolling in an academic course taught by leading educators. These are full-day courses, which will provide an in-depth look into a discipline and expose students to habits of scholars. Students will select a course out of the three offering outlined.

Sessions 3: Full or Partial Day

Students will participate in a two-week session that with a morning and afternoon course option. Each grade-level offering couples a humanities and STEM offering. Students will have the option to enroll in morning only, afternoon only, or the full-day program.

Course Offerings

Session 1 and 2  (June 17 to 21 and June 24 to 28)

Rising 1st

Me and My Shadow

Do you ever wonder how shadows are made?  Do you know how to tell time by measuring shadows?  Do shadows change with the seasons?  How does the position of light affect shadow length?  Learn answers to these questions and more by conducting investigations to explore shadows and how they change.  create your own shadow puppet show by experimenting with light and position.

Engineering is Elementary

Problem solving, inquiry, and innovation are at the heart of this class, which uses a research-based curriculum that integrates engineering and technology concepts and skills with elementary science topics. You will not only increase science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning, but also connect with literacy and social studies. Through a hands-on engineering design challenges, you will apply your knowledge of science and mathematics; use your inquiry and problem-solving skills; and tap your creativity as you design, create, and improve possible solutions. By the end, you realize that you, too, can engineer!

Playing with Words

Do you ever wonder about the words we use to communicate ideas?  Through the study of picture books, learn how authors use special literary devices such as adjectives, similes, metaphors, symbolism, and personification to communicate their ideas.  Then write your own haikus, poems, and stories, just like the picture book authors.

Rising 2nd/3rd

Moli Stone Math

A stone tablet was just unearthed.  It is covered with unusual symbols and markings.  What does it mean?  How can you figure it out?  You’ll need your best mathematical skills to unravel the secrets of the MoLiStone.  Through this mathematical journey you’ll learn place value and number systems.  For your best chance of figuring out the MoLi Stone secret, come with knowledge of addition and subtraction using single and double-digit numbers. 

Marvelous Molecules

Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce you to the exciting world of atoms, molecules, bonds, and chemistry! This class will mix it up by teaching you how elements combine in amazing ways to make new substances through chemical reactions. You will learn the structure of the atom, how to know if a chemical reaction has happened, proper chemical and lab safety, the periodic table of elements, and chemical energy conversions.  Through safe hands-on inquiry labs, you will use their problem-solving skills and creativity to make hypotheses, observe and investigate the exhilarating and sometimes unstable world of chemistry.

Ancient China

Can you imagine what life was like in Ancient China?  What kinds of things did people eat? Where did they live?  What jobs did they have?  While learning to write Chinese characters and writing a story about the Great Wall of China, you will not only learn about Ancient China, but you will also compare Ancient Chinese traditions to those we have today.

Rising 4th/5th

Greek Mythology

Καλώς ορίσατε στον Όλυμπος*! Here you will begin your journey into the ancient world, learning along the way all about the beliefs and legends of ancient Greece. We may read the original stories of Hercules, study fearsome monsters such as the Minotaur and the Hydra, or talk about how modern stories are influenced by classic tales. After this course, you may never look at the Parthenon (or even the Tennessee Titans!) the same way again!

*Welcome to Mount Olympus!


Guten Tag! From Albert Einstein to the Brothers Grimm to Beethoven, German influences abound in American culture and society.  Did you know:  German is the most widely spoken language in the European Union with over 90 million native speakers.  Learning a second language at an early age fosters intellectual growth, promotes reasoning skills, creates cultural awareness and improves understanding of one’s native language. Join this class to learn German language and culture and why we have Kindergarten!


Get ready to explore the interactions between systems and machines while using your best problem solving skills!  In this class, you will have the opportunity to learn more about engineering and robotics.  Trained instructors will lead the class in fun, hands-on exercises designed to further critical thinking skills using the LEGO® Mindstorms® platform.

Baseball by the Numbers (Week One Only)

.406…triple plays…$5.8 million… The game of baseball is defined by its numbers. In this math course, students will study the relationship between fractions, decimals, and percentages in the context of America’s favorite pastime. After an introduction to the most common baseball statistics, you will explore the patterns we find in baseball and in American history. You will learn a valuable reasoning model to construct mathematical arguments and formulate multiple perspectives on issues surrounding America’s favorite sport such as player salaries, building new stadiums, and rehiring players. You will discuss the relative merits of various statistics and have an opportunity to apply their knowledge to frame an argument. Let’s play ball!

Rising 6th/7th

No Quick Fix

Have you ever wondered how cells play a part in the larger systems of our human body?  How do biological concepts relate to social systems within our world, such as health care and public education?  In this class, you will work to understand the causes and possible resolutions for these complex and interconnected systems through the mindset of a physician.

Psychology and Persuasion

Have you ever wanted to change someone’s opinion or to motivate someone to do something? Understanding psychology can help you accomplish this goal! In this course you will begin to explore human psychology, delving into such topics as feelings and motivations. By understanding what motivates people to act and by exploring other writers’ ability to persuade, you will be well on your way to creating your own persuasive arguments. Television commercials and sparkly ads will never trick you—you will be able to see past others’ persuasion too!

Physics 101

From the smallest subatomic particle to the largest star, everything in the universe is governed by physics. In this class, you’ll take on the role of a physicist, making observations and performing experiments to figure out how the world works–and why! How light travels, what makes gravity work, why your GPS knows where you are…the possibilities for inquiry are limitless, so grab your clipboard and join us in the lab!

Session 3  (July 8 to 19) Morning/Afternoon Course Descriptions

Rising 1st

AM: Budding Botanist

You’ve just discovered a professor’s old journal and notes.  They outline ideas about plants and the possibility of using plants as an alternative fuel source.  Get your lab coat ready!  You will be taking on the role of a scientist to figure out what these journals mean as you learn about the life cycle and structure of plants, as well as conducting experiments to discover the role of plants in the environment.

PM: Book Vacations

Do you love to read and talk about stories? Do you like to create projects and conduct research about the books you read? Books can take you on a journey to faraway places and introduce you to interesting people. Through the magic of books you will journey to distant lands, get stuck in a board game of amazing twists and turns, and meet mysterious characters such as Soloman Singer, and Fritz, a dog who vanished in plain sight.

Rising 2nd/3rd

AM: Reading Navigators

As a reading navigator you will analyze and interpreting literature. You will explore the themes and concepts and literary elements as you make real world connections. By exploring and emulating the language and style of different authors, you will begin to develop your own vocabulary and sharpen your writing skills.

PM: Engineering 101

Are you fascinated with building and with taking things apart to see how they work? You are already an engineer! In this hands-on engineering class, students will experience real-world engineering projects. Students will learn the skills of the professionals by engaging in project-based learning, hands-on construction, and three-dimensional function. Problem-solving skills, including problem formulation, testing of alternative solutions, and evaluation of data to guide decisions, will develop as the class progresses. Imagine and improve your solutions; come discuss what works, what doesn’t, and what could work better!

Rising 4th/5th

AM: Computer Programming

Whether you’re an expert at BASIC or new to the world of programming, SAVY’s Computer Modeling class is for you! In this class, Vanderbilt’s Dr. Pratim Sengupta takes you through a series of programming adventures which challenge you to use the ViMaP language (developed in Dr. Sengupta’s lab) to model the world around you.

PM: Genetics

Ever wonder why you look or act like you do? This Genetics course will introduce you to the cells in your body and how a special molecule called DNA plays a role in making you! You will learn the basics of Mendelian genetics, the double helix, investigate natural selection, and begin to understand how scientists use genetics to investigate human disease.   You will also design your own creature using the “rules” of genetics.  Lastly, you will use your knowledge of DNA to become the forensic scientist that solves a crime!

Rising 6th/7th

AM: Something Fishy

Oh no! Your local pond used to be a thriving habitat for diverse aquatic plants and animals, but lately the water has turned brown and sludgy and all the fish are dying! It’s up to you to find out what’s polluting the pond, figure out who’s behind the destruction of this water ecosystem, and decide how to clean up the mess. In this problem-based course, you’ll learn about chemical reactions, government systems, economics, and all the other real-world concerns involved in cleaning up a polluted ecosystem.

PM: In the Mind’s Eye: Truth vs. Perception

What is reality? Just because we perceive something to be realm is it actually real? How do we know? Join us this philosophical exploration of the relationship between truth and perception. We will use concepts from Plato’s “allegory of the Cave” to discover how reality is presented and interpreted in fiction, non-fiction, art, and media. We will engage in activities such as Socratic seminars, literary analysis, skits, art, and creative writing to understand differing perceptions of reality. We will conclude with a critical evaluation of how modern media present reality to us, and how we can train ourselves to be smart consumers of media. Test yourself—are you perceiving the world for what it is, or are you only seeing only the shadows of reality?


  • Natasha schneider

    January 1st, 2013

    We had our Daughter, Diem Schneider, tested for giftedness in the fall. At that time she qualified for gifted. We were told that the summer school offerings would include kindergartners. But on your website I don’t see any sessions for rising kindergartners. Is there a session for rising kindergartners? Thanks so much!

    Natasha Schneider

  • Joan Haynes

    January 18th, 2013

    I would like information on your summer programs for kids in the 6th grade going to the 7th grade. I have a dsughter in encore and she is in a magnet school.
    Thanks in advance for your assistance………..

  • davidjdunn

    January 22nd, 2013

    The person to talk to is Sarah DeLisle. Her contact information can be found here.

  • Megha Talati

    January 21st, 2013

    My son will be a rising 5th grader. Please let me know if can apply for SAVY program. Thanks


  • davidjdunn

    January 22nd, 2013

    He can apply for SAVY. See for info.

  • Amy

    January 31st, 2013

    My daughter will be a rising 6th grader but is interested in genetics which is a rising 4th and 5th grade class. Can she participate in the genetics class despite her grade level?

  • davidjdunn

    February 18th, 2013

    Hi Amy,

    If you have not already, I would ask this question of Sarah DeLisle, whose email address can be found on our contact page.