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Session 5: July 20-24

July 20-24

Rising 1st Engineering SolutionsPlaying with Words
Rising 2nd/3rd It’s ElementalAwesome Algebra
Rising 4th/5th Physics in ActionGenetics
Rising 6th/7th Abstract AlgebraGenetic Anthropology

Course Descriptions


Engineering Solutions

We have a problem. A once-beautiful plant that grew delicious berries is not looking so great. And even more troubling? The plant has stopped producing berries! In this course you will become agricultural engineers to determine what has happened to this beautiful plant, and you will use the engineering design process to design a solution to make the plant healthy again. As you investigate, you will learn about Integrated Pest Management, butterfly metamorphosis, hand pollination, and much more! This course will forever change how you think about plants, insects, and what it means to be an engineer!

Playing with Words

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 you’ll see how authors use words and phrases to capture us through laughter and complex thought. Learn to recognize special literary devices such as similes, metaphors, symbols, and personification, all tools that writers use to better communicate their ideas. You, too, can experiment with figurative language and wordplay, the very same tools that writers have used for centuries! A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand words can paint a pretty awesome picture.


It’s Elemental

Why does ice float? How can salt be used to make ice cream? How do fireworks display so many colors? These questions and more can be answered by the exciting field of chemistry. In this class we will dive head first into studying the elements that create all matter. We will explore the periodic table, how elements react with each other, and how each molecule has unique characteristics that allow scientists to identify it. Through hands on experiments, awesome demonstrations, and fun activities we will learn about the physical properties of elements. We will see how the observations from molecules have led to amazing technology and you will get several explanations for things you see every day. At the end of the course you will be able to use your power of observation and problem solving skills to see the world through the perceptive eyes of a chemist.

Awesome Algebra

Do you like to play mathematical games? Do you love to learn tricks for solving the most challenging problems in math? Did you know that many tricks and games are really just the careful and clever use of mathematical patterns, formulas, and algebraic expressions? In this class you will learn how to analyze patterns, write formulas, and solve for missing variables. You will learn how to develop such clever tricks for performing complex math computations. Get ready to wow family and friends with your mathematical skills and clever thinking. Math isn’t just fun in this class, it’s awesome!


Physics in Action

Physics is a remarkably practical science – its principles are evident in ball games, bicycles, musical instruments, the colors of a rainbow, electrical circuits, and interplanetary spacecraft. Physics is everywhere! In this course we will observe and experiment to figure out how physics is in action in everyday life. We will use physics to explain how things work and sometimes why they don’t. Our field of inquiry ranges from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest stars and galaxies, so grab your clipboard and join us as we discover physics in the universe!


Have you ever wonder why you look or act like you do? Have you considered questions like —Why do I have blue eyes and my mom and dad have brown eyes? Why am I left-handed? Why do all of my siblings have red hair? If you find yourself asking these questions, then you are already thinking about genetics. These questions and more will be addressed in this course that introduces 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, explore the double helix, investigate natural selection, and examine how scientists use genetics to investigate human disease. Understanding genetics will allow you to better understand yourself and others. By the end of the course you will be able use the “rules” of genetics to design your own creature and use your knowledge of DNA to become a forensic scientist that solves a crime!


Abstract Algebra

Shuffling a deck of cards is a common occurrence in many of our favorite games. Did you know that there is such a thing as a perfect shuffle? A perfect shuffle is when you divide the cards and interlace them perfectly. We will use an investigation into the mathematics of perfect shuffles as a launching pad for the study of permutations. Permutations arise in the broader study of group theory, a topic which investigates the natural symmetries that arise in mathematical structures. Group theory is often reserved for study during the third year of a undergraduate mathematics major, but you will have an early opportunity to dive into this challenging topic. Our study of permutations will lead us into investigations of the “decimal” expansion of rational numbers in other bases and the symmetries of regular polygons. There will be a strong emphasis on group investigations, solving difficult and non-standard problems, and mathematical communication. Be prepared to use your logic and mathematical knowledge as you learn more about the truth behind the shuffle.

Genetic Anthropology

Genetics is a fascinating area of science that helps explain who we are and why we act and look a certain way. However, genetics isn’t the only factor influencing what makes us, us. The past plays a role in influencing our genetics. Genetic anthropology is an interdisciplinary way of studying genetics that combines the study of the science behind genetics with an understanding for past civilizations based on anthropological studies. In this class you will take on the role of a genetic anthropologist as you learn specific lab techniques in the field. You will isolate your own DNA as you learn general laboratory techniques like DNA extraction and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that are applicable to a vast number of fields. You will even have the chance to apply your new knowledge of genetic anthropology as you analyze your own DNA to draw conclusions about your genetic ancestry.