Environmental Explorations*- Course Canceled
You just received a message from an environmentalist on Queen Anne’s Island. The inhabitants are in trouble – their island is slowly eroding away! Can you help them? Bring your best investigation skills and get ready to take on the role of environmental scientist as we try to solve this scientific mystery. What do you need to know in order to tackle this challenge? Together we will learn about resource preservation, pollution, erosion, and conservation through hands-on experimentation, topics that will serve us well in saving this island. Hurry, time is running out! We need your help to dig into the problems surrounding Queen Anne’s erosion and unearth a good solution to stop it!
*Course adapted from an evidence-based science curriculum, Dig It, from the College of William and Mary.
Discovering the Third Dimension*- Available
You know about rectangles, triangles, circles and squares–now 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 every 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. Come discover the world of three-dimensional shapes and you’ll see just how exciting geometry can be!
*Course adapted from an evidence-based Math curriculum, Geometry Shape Games, from Project M2.
Forensic Science- Full, Waiting List Only
We have a mystery on our hands, and we need your help to solve it! Someone has stolen a very important tool from our classroom but we don’t know who. Where do we start to solve this mystery? How would a detective in the field approach the case? What information can we gather from the scene and how do we analyze and extract meaning from it? Using the scientific method as our guide, we will develop hypotheses, conduct experiments, and analyze information to figure out the case of the missing microscope. Together we will take on the role of biologists, chemists, and researchers as we practice different techniques such as DNA extraction, chromatography, and fingerprint analysis to solve tricky cases. After collecting and studying evidence, we will make predictions about what we think happened and debate our ideas to come to a final conclusion. Will you crack the case?
Wind and Wings: Beginner Biophysics- Full, Waiting List Only
How are birds and insects able to soar through the air so easily? How can a creature’s wing shape and body shape make it better for flying? What adaptations do these living things have for the type of flying that they do? Throughout history, scientists and engineers have learned about flight by observing birds and insects and identifying the characteristics that help them soar through the air. In this course we will combine science and math as we explore the physics of flight with hands on experiments and simulations to help understand how birds and other animals travel within their habitats. We will use our creative problem solving skills to apply our knowledge of physics principles to build models of different wings, the same way that scientists study and learn. We will also compare and contrast different types of wings to learn how each animal is suited to its own environment. Come along as we explore the soaring scientific world of animal flight!
Witty Wordplay*- Limited Availability
Do you have a knack for telling tales? Have you ever wondered why some stories make us cry while others make us laugh? Do you enjoy reading stories and poems? If so, join us for an adventure into the wild world of words! With your instructor as your guide, you will learn to recognize special literary devices such as similes, metaphors, and puns; all tools that writers use to better communicate their creative ideas and bring excitement to their tales. We will examine some of our favorite books and try to spot the play on words hidden within them. We will then practice using literary tricks to write our own stories and poems to wow our peers. Amaze acquaintances as you apply alliteration, make your friends gasp when you use onomatopoeias, and let your pencil do the talking with personification. You, too, can experiment with figurative language and wordplay using the very same tools that writers have used for centuries!
*Course adapted from an evidence-based ELA curriculum, A World of Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Words, from the College of William and Mary.
Looking in the Mirror, Digging in the Past: Autobiographies and the Story of You*- Full, Waiting List Only
Have you ever wondered about what your favorite author or celebrity was like when he or she was your age? Or how things like our friends, family traditions, and environment shape who we are? What changes in your life have helped you to grow? In this class we will explore these questions and more though an autobiographical exploration of ourselves and of others. As we examine autobiographical writings from authors such as Beverly Cleary, Jacqueline Woodson, Isaac Singer, and Laurence Yep we will explore the power of personal stories and the techniques used in this unique form of writing. Did you know not all autobiographies are showcased through writing? We may also examine self-portraits in music, productions in theater, and works of art! After examining how others tell their personal stories in powerful ways, we will create a personal work of self-reflection. Do experiences shape the individual or does the individual shape the experience? Come ready to look in the mirror and dig through the past. What will your autobiography say about you?
*Course adapted from an evidence-based ELA curriculum, Autobiographies, from the College of William and Mary.
The One to Beat: Using Algebra to Make and Break Records*- Full, Waiting List Only
Do you know who holds the record for the longest distance paddled in a bathtub? Or how many jumps the record-holding dog can perform when jumping rope? What about the size of the largest collection of pennies? If you like algebra, interesting facts, and math puzzles, then this is the class for you! Come along as we examine some wacky world records and learn how to interpret algebraic equations, identify variables, create charts, and make predictions using different kinds of graphs. We will conduct experiments to practice recording, interpreting, and analyzing our own data and result. We will put our algebra skills to the test as we try to calculate how to break world record. Who knows– we may leave this class with ideas about how to get our name in the Guiness Book of World Records!
*Course adapted from an evidence-based Math curriculum, Record Makers and Breakers, from Project M3.
Circuitry, Systems, and Design: Electrical Engineering*- Full, Waiting List Only
Imagine that you are a newly hired engineer for the local power company. The city wants to build a special recreational complex and they need your help. There is a lot to learn about how to design and wire the complex so that it passes inspection and can withstand the stresses of weather and people. In this course we will take on the role of an electrical engineer and learn about currents, circuits, systems, and electricity. Come ready to design your own electrical system for the new building, but watch out – you never know when a storm may hit. Can your design withstand it? We won’t be left in the dark as you explore the exciting field of electrical engineering.
*Course adapted from an evidence-based science curriculum, Electricity City, from the College of William and Mary.
Mystery and History: Investigating the Early Republic- Limited Availability
The study of history is a lot more than memorizing names and dates—it is a series of many mysteries that must be pieced together! Bring your best investigation skills as we take a trip back in time to the exciting world of the early United States. With primary sources as our guide, including diaries, letters, maps, and journals of historical figures, we will uncover the goals and intent behind numerous events throughout history and evaluate the motivations of their participants. We will focus on several events that date from the time of the American Revolution up to the Civil War, such as the betrayal of Benedict Arnold, numerous plots to break the young United States apart, plans to separate Texas from Mexico, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. These historical mysteries will make us think and encourage us to discuss the stability of the United States during its earliest years. Using different types of evidence, you will make your way through each historical mystery and then present arguments about what you think may have really occurred. Get ready to take on the role of an historian as we voyage through the making of the United States.
The Water-Energy Nexus: Engineering Solutions- Limited Availability
Many things in our daily lives require the use of energy– from the light bulbs that help us see at night to the refrigerators that keep our food cold. We also rely on natural resources, such as water, to help us live healthy and comfortable lives. But where do energy and clean water come from? How do we harness the power of natural resources and use them responsibly? How do we make sure there is enough clean water in times of draught? Water and energy are closely connected, and in this course, we will tackle topics that explore the intersection between water and energy and how they are used to power and improve our world. Together we will discuss topics such as the extraction of energy from algae and wastewater, the conversion of groundwater and seawater to fresh water, and how water is used to collect natural gas from underground rocks. We will learn about concepts in wastewater management, desalination, and electrical power generation and apply them through hands-on demonstrations that will illuminate the role of varying components in water treatment and energy management processes. Many great researchers apply the scientific method to their work, so we will learn the application of this method to questions surrounding water and energy as we develop strong investigative and research skills — Prepare to fill the shoes of an engineer as you conduct experiments, organize results, and establish conclusions about our future along the water-energy nexus!