Chemistry at Work – Waiting list only
Did you know that the world and everything in it is made up of particles so small they can’t be seen? Did you know these particles are always moving, changing, and combining? There’s a whole world hiding within everyday things, and this course will teach you all about it! In this class, we will learn about atoms and how they combine to form molecules, how the four states of matter differ, and what causes chemical changes. Science is also about big words. Can you say osmolarity? You will learn how to use scientific vocabulary as you explore the chemistry behind crystals, floatation, water, and much more! Chemistry is everywhere you look. After this class you will be able to recognize and explain the chemistry happening around you!
Discovering the Third Dimension – Waiting list only
You know about rectangles, triangles, circles and squares–let’s kick it up a dimension! This course will explore the geometry of 3-D objects like cubes, pyramids, prisms and spheres. Geometry is an important part of the design process for every building you see and toy that you play with. In this class you will discover more about numbers, algebra, and measurement, and find out how geometry is used in real-world engineering as we create our own unique designs. You’ll see just how exciting geometry can be!
City Engineering – Waiting list only
What does it take to build a modern-day city? In this class you will seek to answer this question and many more as you engineer your own model city from the ground up! You will use your creativity and apply new engineering knowledge to plan, design, and construct a city complete with roads, bridges, homes and other buildings. You will explore some of the challenges that engineers must overcome to create a modern-day city in order to meet the demands of a growing population. Many of the issues you will explore are issues that policy-makers and engineers are experiencing close to home in Nashville and other cities around Tennessee. To cap off our session, you will put on your work boots to see how engineers design, mix, and select one of the most important building materials in the world: concrete!
The World in Miniature: Creating Very Short Stories – Waiting list only
Let your imagination take you on adventures—and create new worlds out of words on the page! In this class you will explore the art of (very) short fiction as you write stories that pack a punch in a very small space. Together we will look at examples and talk about how published authors dazzle us with their characters, settings, crisp details, and command of language. Then you’ll do some story crafting of your own. You will learn the elements of a writer’s toolkit and how to use them to create compelling characters, vivid worlds, and storylines that surprise and delight. Everyone will contribute to a class anthology you’ll get to take home and share with your family and friends.
Astronomical Adventures – Waiting list only
In this course you will be introduced to the incredible study of astronomy! Get ready to go on a galactic adventure through the universe as we start by exploring the amazing objects in our Solar System. You will then investigate celestial bodies such as stars, galaxies, and nebulae in our galaxy (the Milky Way) and other galaxies in order to learn about the history of our Universe. Through discovery, observation, and research you will take on the role of a real life astronomer as you learn from one! The cosmos is awe-inspiring and after this class you will inspire the awe of all with your stellar knowledge!
Fiction in a Flash – Limited availability
Some of the most exciting fiction happens very fast. Writers of flash fiction stories (sometimes called short short stories) have to build a world, characters, and a narrative in under one thousand words, and make it compelling. In this class, students will explore the many varieties of flash fiction, and learn how digital media has helped this genre grow. Students will read flash fiction stories, explore the form in writing exercises, and work on their very own flash fiction pieces. Later, students will workshop their stories with the class and learn about the many venues for publishing flash fiction, including how to submit their finished work for publication.
Social Psychology 101 – Limited availability
From speaking Spanish to cooking your dad’s signature spaghetti sauce, much of learning involves social interaction. Human beings are savvy socializers and learners long before reaching adulthood, adjusting how closely they follow the instructions of others or imitate their behavior depending on the situations they’re in. But it’s a fine line to walk – imitate your Spanish teacher too loosely and you’re unintelligible, but follow your dad’s recipe too closely and you’ll never invent your own signature dish. How do people decide when, what, and who to learn from? When does social learning lead to cooperation and consensus, and when does it lead to conformity or negative peer pressure? In this course, we will explore and analyze the psychology of social learning from infancy to adulthood, discovering how the psychology behind social learning can be useful or problematic – and sometimes both!
Microbe Mythbusters – Waiting list only
Do microbes live everywhere? Do you leave a microbial fingerprint? Can microbes make us skinny? In this course we will explore common perceptions, and misconceptions, about our interactions with bacteria and other microbes in everyday life. Some topics you will learn about in this class include the scientific techniques used to study microbes, where microbes live and flourish, and how microscopic organisms impact us on a daily basis. Every week, you will evaluate a “hot topic” in microbiology and decide for yourself whether it’s fact or fiction. Get ready to bust some microbe myths!
Ecological Anthropology – Limited availability
We hear a lot about environmental change, but have you ever wondered how scientists measure and study the changes taking place around us? Would you like to learn how to determine what is causing changes we observe, how those changes impact the way we live today, and what they mean for the future of our planet? In this course, you will dive deep into issues of ecology and modern anthropology, learning about the satellite imaging technology that scientists use to track human activity and ecological change on a global scale. Using critical thinking, creative problem solving, and data analysis techniques, you will even have the chance to design and propose your own policies for some of the Earth’s most pressing environmental issues. By the end of this course, you will have some great ideas on how to save the world!
Apocalypses in Pop Culture – Waiting list only
The Apocalypse—it’s the end of the world as we know it….Or maybe not! Although many movies, television shows, comic books, and other pop culture artifacts feature the apocalypse, we can learn more about it by tracing the term to its origins in ancient texts. We’ll discover the roots of some of the ideas and images about the end of days while creating a foundation to explore the apocalypse in other cultures and religions. Along the way, we’ll examine the hopes and fears of different generations as we seek to understand why various apocalyptic scenarios pervade modern day popular culture.
The Ordinary and Extraordinary: Magical Realism – Limited availability
What would you do if a very old man with enormous wings appeared in your backyard? How about if you woke up one day to find you had turned into a gigantic insect? In this class, you will read stories and poems in which characters encounter the magical and the strange within their ordinary lives. These creative works, which are often classified as “magical realism,” challenge us to think beyond the limits of our reality, into the realm of the fantastic. We will not only look at the way fiction writers and poets blur the borders between the ordinary and the extraordinary, we will also investigate why authors might want to blur these borders in the first place. As you read these daring writers, you will have the opportunity to craft your own creative writing pieces, embarking on a journey to find the magical in your everyday reality.