Session 2: (June 19-23)
Rising 1st Grade
Playing with Words – full, accepting applications for waiting list
Are you a teller of stories and jokes? Do you coin new phrases? Are you a fan of riddles and rhymes? If so, then you, my friend, like to play with words! In this class we’ll explore how authors use words and phrases to capture their readers through laughter and complex thought. Great authors can recognize literary strategies of others, so we will learn to identify special literary devices such as similes, metaphors, symbols, and personification as we read many well-known works. We will also investigate how literary tools, used for centuries, help writers better communicate their ideas. We will not keep our new knowledge hidden–come ready to experiment with figurative language and wordplay. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand words can paint a pretty awesome picture.
Survive and Thrive – full, accepting applications for waiting list
In this course, we will investigate the ways that animals survive and thrive on our planet. Have you ever wondered how animals can sense when danger is near? Are you curious about why groups of birds sometimes fly in formation? Do you ponder how some animals can survive in the blistering heat of the desert or in the coldest months of winter? If so, you are already thinking like an animal scientist! Together we will learn about the characteristics that make animal species different and examine the unique habitats that different animals call home. You will also study characteristics of living things by studying life requirements and life cycles through observations of your very own mealworm! You will then take on the role of scientist and animal advocate as we try to tackle serious questions related to environmental preservation and animal protection. If you love animals and enjoy science, then you will certainly thrive in this class!
Rising 2nd and 3rd Grades
Robotic Programming – waiting list closed
Computer programming! Robot mazes! Controlling robots remotely! Problem solving! This course has everything you need to challenge your mind and test your creativity. Using Sphero interactive robots, you will brainstorm hands-on solutions to real-world problems through computer programming. As you take on the role of an engineer, programmer, and scientist, you will learn how to test your robot knowledge, manipulate variables, and refine your coding to improve on your design. Your instructions control the robot and can transform it into a dancer or fortune teller, make it maneuver obstacle courses, or instruct it to perform specific tasks. In this course you will go on an exciting journey into the world of robotic programming where you will experience first hand how robots can help us perform mundane tasks that we may not want to do and difficult tasks that are extremely challenging to do. Come ready to explore how robotic programming works as you imagine how you can use coding to better our lives in the future!
Data Discoverers – waiting list closed
Do you like to ask questions and then seek out possible answers? Have you ever wanted to develop your own survey for people to complete? Are you an aspiring researcher with a desire to understand why and how data can be used to answer your most intriguing questions? If so, this course is for you! In this course you will learn how to conduct experimental research by collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data using a variety of graphs, charts, and plots. You will experience firsthand the steps of the research process, including how to formulate great research questions, design investigations, create quality surveys, collect data through questionnaires, analyze results, and present findings to a real audience. Come along for a hands-on, practical mathematical journey where you will be encouraged to ask great questions and use data to discover possible explanations. You will leave this course discovering opportunities for data collection everywhere!
Rising 4th and 5th Grades
Digging for the Past: Tennessee Archaeology – full, accepting applications for waiting list
How do we know about the past? Sure, written documents and oral histories are important, but artifacts are too! Artifacts are especially important in telling us about people who lived a very long time ago. Did you know that people have lived in Tennessee for close to 15,000 years? We can imagine what life was like for these people through archaeology. Tennessee’s archaeologists are tasked with unearthing mysteries through the excavation of sites, where they often uncover tools, architecture, and clothing that belonged to people long ago. In this course, you will learn about how to develop hypotheses, use the tools and technology of professional archaeologists, excavate your own mock archaeological site, analyze artifacts, and draw conclusions about ancient Tennesseans. Gain a new understanding of Tennessee’s history and where information about the past might be hiding. Dig for answers as you unearth clues to the past– who knows what knowledge you might uncover right in your own backyard!
Food Chemistry – full, accepting applications for waiting list
Why do apple slices turn brown when we leave them on our plate too long? What compounds make our food taste sour or salty? How are certain foods used in the body and why are particular foods good to eat before exercise? In this course, we will learn how science contributes to something we do everyday, eat! We will investigate the chemical structures of food components such as carbohydrates, lipids, and vitamins, and learn how these structures make foods look and taste different. We will then analyze the content of these components in a variety of foods, and uncover why some snacks are better for our body than others. Using scientific modeling kits, we will examine how important chemical structures in food change under certain conditions (making cooked food taste different), as well as the role enzymes and microorganisms play in some everyday food processes. Come learn how science and eating intertwine in the world of food chemistry.
Note to Parents: Heating mechanisms, such as hot plates, may be used in this course.
Rising 6th and 7th Grades
Policies and Politics: How Money Matters in Government – full, accepting applications for waiting list
The federal budget for 2016 was $3,340,000,000,000. If this budget was divided equally among the 324 million Americans each individual would receive just over $10,000. But, where does this money come from and who decides how this money is spent? What happens when local, state, or federal budgets aren’t balanced? How do funding policies developed by politicians impact our lives and communities on a daily basis? After we study how the government works and how the different branches interact to make change, we will study in depth how money and policy influence one another and examine the short and long term implications that government funding can have on us. We will explore how funds at all levels of government are raised and allocated, identify the difficulties that come with balancing a budget, and investigate the roles and responsibilities of the people who decide how this money is spent, including politicians, policy experts, and informed citizens. With our new knowledge we will then examine mock political candidate proposals for how to spend government funds and debate the fairness and impact of each proposal. After this course you will not only know the important questions to ask about candidate spending plans in the next election but may even be inspired to create your own plan and someday run for office yourself!
Me, Myself and the Monomyth: Defining a Hero’s Journey – full, accepting applications for waiting list
Who would you define as a hero from your favorite book or story?—Is Luke Skywalker a hero? What about Alice of Wonderland? Harry Potter? Dorothy from Kansas or the Cowardly Lion of Oz?—Can you prove it? What makes a hero different from the other characters in the same story? Do they have to be the main character? Do they have to save lives? Are they consistently brave and free from error? In this course we will study how critical theorists like Joseph Campbell have answered these questions by identifying common themes that link together many of our favorite heroic characters. Labeling these ideas The Hero’s Journey or the monomyth, Campbell and others have helped us define what it means to be a hero. In this course we will closely examine selections of famous fantasy texts, from authors like Ursula K. Le Guin, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, and others, as you learn to identify the universal patterns among seemingly very different heroes. After a thorough exploration of the themes that chart heroes’ journeys in literature, you will have a chance to craft your own tale as you weave together your personal life experiences and your new understandings into a unique work of fantasy. In exploring themes surrounding heroes, you may realize that you can cast yourself as the hero of your story!
Genetic Epidemiology and Beyond – full, accepting applications for waiting list
A genome is defined as an organism’s complete set of DNA and contains the information needed for an organism to live and successfully function. One key question that scientists are currently asking is—how does an individual’s genome influence his/her risk for developing disease? This is such an important question that the President got involved! In 2015 President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). This initiative involved obtaining genetic data from over one million people in order to study the biological and environmental factors that influence disease. Through the data collected by the PMI, scientists hope to use their understanding of factors to develop better treatments and cures for health concerns. In this course, you will take on the role of a human geneticist to tackle some of the same questions that researchers confront daily using data from PMI. As a budding geneticist, you will learn the basic molecular techniques common across all genetics labs, begin analyzing large genetic datasets using statistical methods, and investigate ethical decisions that continually impact scientists’ research decisions. This course will provide you with an understanding of the role of genetics in disease, teach you how to design and analyze your own genetic study, and will allow you to use molecular lab techniques to expand your results.