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Session 3: June 22-26

June 22-26

Rising 1st Survive & ThriveDive into Design
Rising 2nd/3rd BioengineeringX Marks the Spot
Rising 4th/5th Media ManiaPuzzles & Problem Solving
Rising 6th/7th Written in BonesSpatial SmartsGraphic Literature

Course Descriptions


Survive and Thrive

Have you ever pondered how animals know when danger is near? Have you ever wondered what animals do in a thunderstorm? Have you questioned how animals survive in the blistering heat of summer or in the coldest months of winter? If so, you are thinking like a scientist. In this course, we will delve into these questions and many others as we investigate the habits of animals, learning more about their unique characteristics and habitats. Throughout the class, you will investigate serious questions related to preservation and animal protection, so get ready to take on the multi-faceted roles of scientist and animal advocate.

Dive into Design

What did it take to create your favorite swimming pool? Did you know that architects and engineers used principles of mathematics and measurement to ensure that your favorite swimming pool is a fun and safe place? In this course, you will become engineers as you learn to use measuring and modeling to create the perfect swimming pool. As you work through the design process you will learn to answer lots of important questions – Why do we measure? Why is accuracy even important? What should you consider when choosing a measurement tool? Get ready to dive into the deep end of a problem-based task that requires critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and lots of fun with measurement.



Think engineering is all about machines? Not true! Come and learn how the world of biology and engineering combine to answer some of our most complex biological questions! In this class you will become a biological engineer as you study how the body works, developing ways to help it work more effectively. In order to begin devising solutions, you will learn about the parts of the cell and how they work together to make a body function. You will explore the role of DNA and genetics and learn how engineers and scientists use this knowledge to understand and treat disease. By using both the scientific method and engineering design, you will employ problem-solving skills and creativity to observe, formulate hypotheses, and investigate real life problems.

X Marks the Spot

Let’s go treasure hunting! While some ancient treasures have been found using modern technology—answering some of histories deepest secrets—there are many legendary lost treasures still waiting to be discovered. In this class we will consider what history and literature tell us about lost treasures and decipher if such clues help us to solve long-standing mysteries. The sunken Spanish fleet off the coast of Florida will take us back to the early 1700s. We will learn about the colonies of the New World and the ships that transported gold, silver, and other precious cargo across the Atlantic Ocean. We’ll consider the treasure (gold said to be worth over one billion dollars), supposedly buried near Victorio Peak in New Mexico as well as the 750 tons of Incan gold said to be lost in the national park “Los Llaganates” in the mountains of Ecuador. We will consider questions such as: What did treasure mean to different cultures and during different time periods and how do the stories of lost treasure become “lost” themselves?


Media Mania! Using Science to Study Media’s Impact

Without a doubt, we live in a media-driven age. From newspapers and magazines to television and smartphones, media is not only accessible to us, it also asserts itself into our busy lives. In this class we will pull back the curtain to examine how the media industry works and investigate how media and technology impact our lives. We will uncover the research methods and theories used by academic scholars to investigate issues regarding youth media use, as well as techniques used by industry representatives to determine whether media products are meeting their goals. Class participation will culminate in a student-developed experiment designed to investigate a hypothesis related to media and technology. Students will collect their own data and perform a data analysis, examining the results of their research. The class will engage in the scientific method as real scientists!

Puzzles and Problem Solving

How does a group of logical pirates agree to distribute their loot? If a car changes its speed according to its distance from its final destination, how long does it take the car to reach its goal? You will learn to answer these questions and many more in this course as you learn the principles of probability, logic, and game theory. In this hands-on math class, we will explore problem-solving methods by wrapping our minds around counterintuitive solutions and teasing our brains with apparent contradictions. As the class develops, you may even begin to pose your own questions for the class to solve. Get ready to get stumped and stump others in a class that is sure to make you think critically and strategize with precision.


Written in Bones: Tales from the Ancient Andes

At the height of its power, the Inka Empire stretched over 2000 miles and controlled a diverse population of farmers, herders, chieftains, and warriors. This great empire, and its cultural predecessors, made incredible innovations in art, astronomy, engineering, and warfare, but unlike the Romans or Persians, they left no written record. This course fuses biology and archaeology to reconstruct Andean history through a unique body of evidence—the human remains of ancient people themselves. Mummies and the bones of ancestors played a vital role in Andean religion and society, and for scientists, they provide a window into diet, disease, and warfare in the past. Students will learn the field and laboratory techniques of bioarchaeological scientists and immerse themselves in the history of pre-Hispanic Peru through case studies and hands-on activities that explore the unique cultural and mortuary practices of this world region. Get ready to journey into the lost worlds of the ancient Andes!

Spatial Smarts

It’s a dark and stormy night; your family is driving to the beach. Lost. In the middle of nowhere… Sounds scary right? Never fear! Your mom pulls out her cell phone and before you know it your family is back on track! What would we do without the map and directions on our phone? In this class you will learn about Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the science behind satellite imagery, and the applications of geospatial technologies in our everyday lives. But, the fun doesn’t stop there. We will also investigate how maps have evolved over time. By exploring maps of the same area, we can note changes and draw conclusions to determine what these changes tell us about the area and the people living there. After this class, you will know the science behind maps and you will realize that maps can tell us much more information beyond directions and landmarks.

Graphic Literature: Art and Story in Comic Books

Let’s face it. We’re not used to thinking about them as a medium of literature, but comic books are great. What other medium so effectively combines all the pleasures of literature with all the visual pleasures of art, making a whole greater than the sum of its parts? How does this dynamic relationship produce its own unique experience of reading? In this course, we’re going to explore the specifics of this experience, and learn how the combination of the literary and artistic sides of graphic narratives work together to create impressions of time, motion, and feeling with few, and sometimes no words at all. In the process, we will explore a variety of art styles and compare them with other forms of media like animation. Be ready to make observations, share opinions, and even try your hand at drawing your own graphic narrative!