Skip to main content

Summer SAVY 2022 Courses

Courses for Summer 2023 will be announced in December 2022. The following courses are an example of the structure and offerings we had in the previous year.

Session 1: June 13 – 17
Rising 1st/2nd Grade

Matter Mysteries

Strange things are happening: a mysterious, unidentified substance has been found, the principal’s water is disappearing, and even more mysteries abound. Never fear, you are on the case! In this course, you will become a detective and use scientific skills to solve mysteries. After learning about the investigative processes of a scientist, you will gather your own information about solids, liquids, and gases by making scientific predictions, designing experiments, conducting tests, carefully recording your observations, collecting data, and analyzing results. You will then use the information and discoveries you uncover to solve some very puzzling mysteries about matter!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported curriculum, What’s the Matter?, from the College of William and Mary.

Intro to Coding and Robotics

Computer programmers are learners, dreamers, strategists, and creative thinkers as they develop complex codes to solve everyday problems. The skill of coding is becoming more and more important in our technology-driven world. Being able to code may be fun and sound cool to your friends, but how is coding used in real life? In what ways do computer programmers help make our lives easier? How do computer programmers turn lines of code into action? What are the thinking processes and personal characteristics needed to write successful code? Come learn the answers to these questions and more as you challenge your mind and test your creativity while learning the basics of computer programming! In this introductory coding course, you will take on the role of a programmer to solve coding challenges by developing working scripts based on your level of ability. By the end of the course you will have plenty of new ideas about how to use coding to solve small and big challenges in our world today, and you will have the knowledge of coding required to develop creative and useful solutions to all sorts of difficult problems.

*Sphero robots, LegoBoost robots, and code.org will be utilized.

Rising 3rd/4th Grade

Secrets of the MoliStone

A stone tablet has just been unearthed. What an exciting discovery! The only problem is that the information on it is written in a secret code. The tablet is covered with unusual symbols and interesting mathematical markings. What do these symbols and markings mean? What information are they trying to tell us? How do we interpret meaning in symbols that aren’t words or in numbers that seem unfamiliar? In this class, you will take on the role of a mathematician to unravel the secrets of the Moli Stone. To solve the mystery, we will begin with an exploration of our number system as we explore the concepts of place value and base 10. Did you know that we use a base 10 system but you can do math in a different system? We will compare and contrast our base 10 system with systems  different from our own and also investigate how cultures and groups of people use particular number systems. No stone will be left unturned in this mysterious mathematical adventure that will reveal new number understanding! 

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported math curriculum, Unraveling the Mystery of the Moli Stone, from Project M3. 

The Great Debate

What do you think of when you hear the word argument? In most cases, people think to argue is to fight. However, this is not necessarily true! Philosophy defines an argument as simple statements used to persuade someone of something using evidence and reason or to confirm a certain conclusion. In this class, you will learn the skills and methods that ancient philosophers used as you develop your techniques to convince others to accept your point of view. Through the use of logical arguments and appropriate evidence, you will learn how to defend your viewpoints and persuade your friends. Just like any skill, the art of arguing takes practice. By exploring specific types of fallacies that can negatively impact an argument, we will become more aware of the principles great debaters use to present their points. If you are interested in honing your debating skills to discuss relevant topics that directly impact your life then look no further. Come take part in a great debate!

Rising 5th/6th Grade

Seas the Summer: Diving into Marine Biology

Are you interested in learning more about the world beneath the intriguing and mysterious surface of the world’s oceans? Dive into a variety of marine biology topics as we explore the biodiversity of life beneath the sea. Each day will be an expedition into a different ecosystem. From coral reefs to deep sea thermal vents, we will learn about the vast array of habitats that occur in the ocean and the amazing organisms that evolved to live there. Though active learning and collaboration, students will study not only marine organisms, but their behaviors and interactions with the environment. This week-long course will be an exciting and in-depth introduction to marine biology for any ocean enthusiast!

World Beyond the Page: Unpacking the Magic of Harry Potter

Would you consider yourself a huge fan of Harry Potter? Are you still waiting for your Hogwarts letter to come? Well here’s your invitation to join us for a week-long investigation into the complex and magical universe of the wizarding world of Harry Potter! Harry Potter is more than just a series of good stories; it’s a literary phenomenon with underlying themes that reflect our modern-day muggle lives. With a critical eye, we will uncover these themes, such as social justice, the struggle for power and triumph, feminism, and other critical ideas, as we draw connections between fantasy and reality. We will not only examine the Harry Potter novels, but also the movies and other related media that were inspired by the story. This course will give you a glimpse into the world of J.K. Rowling and other creative writers as we unpack the inspiration, writing process, and other story features that have made this series a sensation.

Students should have read at least one Harry Potter novel before the start of the session!

 

Session 2: June 20 – 24
Rising 1st/2nd Grade

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 their readers 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.

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported curriculum, Beyond Words, from the College of William and Mary.

Introduction to Chemical Engineering: Engineering with Play Doh

Do you like to play with play dough? What makes play dough so much fun? Did you know that making sure that play dough is the perfect texture and consistency is important work? How do you keep play dough from drying out? It takes the skill of an engineer to figure out how to make the perfect batch of play dough that can be used over and over again! Are you ready for the challenge? In this class, you will learn about states of matter and the properties of different materials and mixtures as you take on the role of a chemical engineer and work to design the best batch of play dough. Through developing hypotheses, trying different mixtures of materials, experimenting, collecting data, and testing your creations, you will go through the engineering design process to figure out the best  dough “recipe”. After this class, you will never think about play dough the same way again!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported engineering curriculum from Engineering is Elementary (EiE) and the Museum of Science, Boston.

Rising 3rd/4th Grade

Fractions at Work

It’s a rainy day and two siblings have just uncovered a mysterious trunk in their grandmother’s attic! The trunk is full of old artifacts from their great grandparents’ general store, The Rabbit Hutch General Store, which operated long ago. But what is hidden in the trunk? What do these artifacts tell us about what the store, and its owners, were like? Using fractions and the clues from the attic, we will piece together stories from the past as you learn new techniques to help you solve even the most challenging mathematics equations. You will practice using tricks such as common numerators, common denominators, and missing pieces of the whole to analyze items from the old store. Through modeling, drawing, and charting, you will learn new and exciting ways to approach mathematical operations involving fractions and wow your family and friends with your new skills! We will even talk about where fractions are hidden in our everyday lives. After this class you will never look at objects, or their pieces and parts, in the same way again. What kind of unexpected mathematical treasures will you uncover in this mysterious adventure with fractions?

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported curriculum,Treasures from the Attic, from Project M3.

Looking in the Mirror, Digging in the Past: Autobiographies and the Story of You

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 become the person you are? In this class, we will explore these questions and more through an autobiographical exploration of ourselves and of others. As we examine autobiographical writings from authors such as Beverly Cleary, Jacqueline Woodson, Isaac Bashevis 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. What will your autobiography say about you?

*Course adapted from an evidence-based ELA curriculum, Autobiographies, from the College of William and Mary.

 Dynamic Coasts

Our planet is constantly changing and coastal cities and ecosystems are increasingly at risk. If something happens to these coastal environments, animals, plants, and even people will be impacted. How do coastal systems, such as beaches, barrier islands, and deltas, respond to dramatic changes, such as rising sea level and storms? How can humans help fortify and protect the coastline for the future? In this course, you will explore the interactions between climate change, geological processes, and the role that humans have played in the fate of coastal ecosystems as we try to understand why our coasts are in danger. By investigating different examples of erosion and destruction on our coasts, you will learn to identify patterns of change and evaluate current solutions to this ever-growing problem. You may even have a chance to brainstorm ideas for your own proposed solution. Come along as we learn about the current and future state of our dynamic coasts!

Rising 5th/6th Grade

In the Minds Eye: Truth vs. Perception

What is reality? Just because we perceive something to be real, does it actually exist? How do we know if something is real or just a figment of our own beliefs and imagination? Join us in this philosophical exploration of the relationship between truth and perception. In this course, you will discover how reality is presented and interpreted in fiction, nonfiction, art, and media by studying famous works by Plato, Shirley Jackson, M.C. Escher, and Vincent Van Gogh. By engaging in reflective activities such as Socratic seminars, literary analysis techniques, skits, art, and creative writing, we will begin to apply our understanding of the difference between truth and our own perception of it. We will conclude with a critical evaluation of how modern media presents reality to us, and how we can train ourselves to be smart consumers of media. Test yourself – are you perceiving the world for what it is, or are you seeing only the shadows of reality?

*Course adapted from an evidence-based ELA curriculum, I, Me, You, We: Individuality vs. Conformity, a published unit from Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth,

Aquatic Ecology

Oh no! Your local pond used to be a thriving habitat for diverse aquatic plants and animals, but unexpectedly the water has turned brown and sludgy and all the fish are dying. What is happening to the pond? Come along as we uncover the mystery of what, or who, is behind the destruction of this watery ecosystem and decide how to clean up the mess. In this problem-based course, you’ll take on the role of a scientist as you investigate aquatic ecosystems and all of the ways things can go wrong in this habitat. You will learn about chemical reactions and the systems at play as you work with your “community” of classmates to develop a solution to restore this once healthy pond. As you investigate the problem, you’ll also uncover and discuss other real-world concerns involved in cleaning up a polluted habitat in a community. We need your help to solve this fishy mystery!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported curriculum, Something Fishy, from the College of William and Mary.

 

Session 3: June 27 – July 1
Rising 1st/2nd Grade

Games Galore

When you flip a coin, does it matter if you started with heads or tails? How important is it to stick to the rules? What is the difference between skill and luck when it comes to playing games? In this exciting course, you will use advanced mathematics to explore the laws of probability and learn how to determine if a game is fair. As you play a variety of games, you will calculate the chances that each player can win, and you will use creative problem solving to change the rules that are unfair. With a combination of math skills and logic, we will analyze all types of games and create our own fair and unfair games to test in our probability lab! Who knows, you might design and be able to justify the rules of the perfect new game for all your friends!

Becoming a Botanist

You’ve just discovered a professor’s old journal and his notes are very intriguing. They suggest that plants can be used as an alternative fuel source. Could he be right? If he is correct, what does this mean for you and for me? Get your lab coat ready as we investigate this curious case! In this course, you will take on the role of a botanist to investigate this professor’s ideas about the important role that plants currently play in our lives and how they may impact our future. Before we are able to determine if plants can be used as a fuel source, we will need to learn as much as we can about the life cycle and structure of plants by conducting experiments and field investigations. Come ready to  unearth knowledge about plants. Your discoveries may impact how we all think about those weeds in your backyard!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported science curriculum, Budding Botanist, from the College of William and Mary.

Rising 3rd/4th Grade

Industrial Engineering: Machines at Work

Whether or not you realize it, machines are important to our lives. From the clothes you wear to the food you eat to the place you call home; machines are involved in some way in making or assembling most things we use on a daily basis. How are new machines developed to do important work? Industrial engineers to the rescue! In this class you will take on the role of an industrial engineer as you conduct investigations to learn more about simple and compound machines and how these machines can make work easier. Come ready to apply what you have learned to design, create, and test your own machine creations as you and your fellow industrial engineers create an assembly line sub-system for a factory in need of some help with their potato chip production problem. Think your job is over after the design? It has just begun! You will need to debate the pros and cons of your machine creations and assembly line work as we investigate the use of machines from the perspective of multiple stakeholders including factory managers, workers, and consumers. We will really put our machines and minds to work in this hands-on engineering class!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported engineering curriculum from Engineering is Elementary (EiE) and the Museum of Science, Boston.

Seas the Summer: Diving into Marine Biology

Are you interested in learning more about the world beneath the intriguing and mysterious surface of the world’s oceans? Dive into a variety of marine biology topics as we explore the biodiversity of life beneath the sea. Each day will be an expedition into a different ecosystem. From coral reefs to deep sea thermal vents, we will learn about the vast array of habitats that occur in the ocean and the amazing organisms that evolved to live there. Though active learning and collaboration, students will study not only marine organisms, but their behaviors and interactions with the environment. This week-long course will be an exciting and in-depth introduction to marine biology for any ocean enthusiast!

Data Discoverers

Do you like to ask tricky questions and then seek out possible answers? Are you an aspiring scientist or mathematician with a desire to learn more? Do you ever wonder how data and numbers can be used to answer your most intriguing questions? Have you ever wanted to develop your own experiment? This course is sure to be full of new discoveries as you learn how to conduct experiments by collecting, analyzing, and interpreting numerical 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 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 uncover possible explanations. You will leave this course discovering opportunities for data collection everywhere!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported curriculum, Digging for Data: Collecting, Displaying, and analyzing Data, from Project M3.

Rising 5th/6th Grade

Robotic Engineering

Robotic engineers are learners, dreamers, strategists, and creative thinkers. Robots are cool to play with, but how are robots used in the real world? Can robots really help make our lives easier? How do robots turn lines of computer coding into action? What are the thinking processes needed to successfully code a robot to complete a task? Come learn the answers to these questions and more as you challenge your mind and test your creativity by building and programming your own robotic creations using LEGO Spike Prime!

In this course, you will form a company and take on the role of a robotics engineer to create hands-on solutions to real-world problems. You will learn effective ways to collaborate, communicate, and make decisions as part of a team. You will explore the steps in the design process to identify problems and brainstorm ideas with your colleagues, then work together to create and program prototypes using LEGO Spike Prime. You will learn how to troubleshoot issues, test your creations, and improve your designs through iterations. Finally, you will quantify your results and pitch your solutions to investors. After taking this course you will have new strategies for teamwork and leadership, as well as ideas about how you can use coding and robotics to solve big problems in our world today!

Looking in the Mirror, Digging in the Past: Autobiographies and the Story of You

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 become the person you are? In this class, we will explore these questions and more through an autobiographical exploration of ourselves and of others. As we examine autobiographical writings from authors such as Beverly Cleary, Jacqueline Woodson, Isaac Bashevis 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. What will your autobiography say about you?

*Course adapted from an evidence-based ELA curriculum, Autobiographies, from the College of William and Mary.

 

Session 4: July 11 – 15
Rising 1st/2nd Grade

Dive into Design

On a hot summer day there is no place better to be than a swimming pool! Have you ever wondered what thinking and planning was involved in creating your favorite swimming pool? Did you know that architects and engineers used principles of mathematics and measurement to ensure that your favorite swimming spot is a fun and safe place? In this course, you will learn about engineering design processes, including measurement and modeling for structures such as swimming pools. Why do we measure? What goes into taking accurate measurements? Why is accuracy so important? What should we consider when choosing a measurement tool? You will answer these questions and more as you create a model for a community pool! Get ready to dive into a problem-based task that requires critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and lots of fun with measurement.

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported science curriculum, Splash!, from the College of William and Mary.

Witty Wordplay

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-supported curriculum, A World of Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Words, from the College of William and Mary.

Rising 3rd/4th Grade

Circuitry, System, and Design: Electrical Engineering

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-supported curriculum, Electricity City, from the College of William and Mary.

Chemical Spill

A truck carrying an unidentified liquid has crashed on a busy highway and has started to leak its liquid into a nearby creek. The city is counting on you to make sure there are no negative repercussions from this spill! In this class you will take on the role of an environmental scientist. How are you going to isolate the spill? What experiments will you need to conduct to determine if the liquid is dangerous? How will you keep people and animals in the surrounding environment safe? Through a series of role-play examples, scientific experimentation, and the study of complex systems, you will learn about acid and base chemistry as you solve key problems related to the spill. We will examine the damaging effects that such an event can have on the ecosystem, economy, and human transportation. Are you ready for the challenge of coming up with an appropriate solution? The city needs your help!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported science curriculum, Acid, Acid Everywhere, from the College of William and Mary.

Programming and Robotics

Robotic engineers are learners, dreamers, strategists, and creative thinkers. Robots are cool to play with, but how are robots used in the real world? Can robots really help make our lives easier? How do robots turn lines of computer coding into action? What are the thinking processes needed to successfully code a robot to complete a task? Come learn the answers to these questions and more as you challenge your mind and test your creativity by programming Sphero interactive robots and building your own LegoBoost Robot! In this course, you will take on the role of a robotics engineer as you brainstorm hands-on solutions to real-world problems through computer programming. You will program how your robot moves, looks, and interacts with apps, including augmented reality games, as you try to solve robotic challenges. After taking this course you will have new ideas about how to use coding and robotics to solve big problems in our world today!

*Sphero robots, LegoBoost robots, and code.org will be utilized.

Rising 5th/6th Grade

Theory, Criticism, and The Force: An Academic Study of Star Wars

Artists often use their work to represent viewpoints about the everyday world around us, embedding their cultural, social, and political ideas into their stories, films, paintings, or songs. How do we decipher the themes hidden in their work? Why do we even want to identify these themes? How can uncovering the creator’s viewpoint help us understand both the work itself and the world around us better? In this class, we will use the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope as a base for learning how to unpack a work through multiple lenses of critical theory and thought. Formalism, structuralism, political criticism, and mythology are some of lenses we will learn to look through as we explore one of the most popular series of our time. Through our analysis of the Star Wars movie that started it all, we will learn how to apply critical theory to other portions of the Star Wars saga and other famous series and films. Because critical thought can and should be used when interpreting all artistic works, we will also practice our newly developed skills on our favorite short stories, classical artwork, and contemporary music. A new powerful force will be with you after this course – the ability to see your favorite works in different ways!

Industrial Microbiology

Bacteria are often believed to be something negative for people, but not all bacteria are harmful. From the new energy production methods to the food we consume everyday, bacteria are actually a vital part of life! In this course, we will investigate how researchers utilize the prokaryotic world to help solve some of Earth’s biggest issues, like pollution and hunger. Through an exploration of basic microbiology, bio-ethanol production, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the use of bacteria in technical applications, you will start to discover the benefits of bacteria. Taking on the role of microbiologists, we will conduct hands on investigations– collecting environmental samples, performing genetic manipulations, and observing the power bacteria has to transform food into fuel– to tackle questions that scientists explore daily. The field of industrial microbiology is a hot topic and is only getting bigger, blazing the path of new opportunities for a budding microbiologist like you!

Career Connections: 7th/8th Grade

Writing with Fire: Storytelling in Verse

Calling all future authors! You have a story to tell! In Writing with Fire: Storytelling in Verse, we will read the work of award-winning young adult memoirists in order to tell our own unique stories. Featuring the work of acclaimed authors such as Jacqueline Woodson, Thanhà Lai, and David Bowles, this course will expose you to transformational texts and empower you by giving you the tools to shape your own narrative. You will practice the literary vocabulary and analytical thinking needed in high school and beyond while exercising creativity and deepening your understanding of stories, self, and identity. No moment is too small to be a part of a great story!

The Science of Being Human: Exploring Anthropology

In this course you will explore the diversity of the human experience by learning to see the world like an anthropologist You may ask– What exactly do anthropologists do? How do anthropologists conduct research? How can anthropology help us tackle contemporary social issues? These are all questions that will be addressed in this hands-on course. We will explore the core characteristics that make us all human. We will also explore the broad range of cultures and societies that make up the modern world. We will use ethnography, which is the scientific study of people and their culture, and we will learn techniques for how to conduct research to learn more about people. We will practice this form of research first-hand, explore how anthropologists conduct and analyze interviews, and investigate how anthropologists use research to better understand the world around us. Through our exploration of how anthropologists determine differences and commonalities in cultures around the world, your eyes may be opened to recognizing, exploring, and appreciating the many unique cultures around you!

 

Session 5: July 18 – 22
Rising 1st/2nd Grade

Mythology

Καλώς ορίσατε στον Όλυμπος*! Here you will begin your journey into the fascinating world of mythology! Together we will travel back in time as we delve into the legends and beliefs of ancient Greece. We will read the original stories of heroes such as Hercules and Achilles, study fearsome mythological creatures such as the Minotaur and the Hydra, and discuss the significance of famous gods and goddesses. We will learn how mythological stories shaped the culture of the ancient world and examine how classic myths are reflected through some of our favorite modern-day books, movies, and buildings. After this course, you may never look at the Parthenon or the Tennessee Titans the same way again!

*Welcome to Mount Olympus!

Environmental Explorations: Operation Save the Beach

We 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 you help solve this scientific mystery. What do you need to know in order to tackle this challenge? Together with your instructor and classmates, you will learn about topics such as resource preservation, pollution, erosion, and conservation through hands-on experimentation. Then decide how you will help save the island based on the experiments you have tried. Hurry, time is running out! We need your help to dig into the problems surrounding this island and unearth a good solution to stop it!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported curriculum, Dig it, from the College of William and Mary.

Rising 3rd/4th Grade

Biomedical Engineering

Think engineering is just about machines? Not true! Come and learn how the world of biology, medicine, and engineering combine to solve some of our most complex problems about the human body! In this class, you will take on the role of a biomedical engineer as you study how the body works and design new technologies for it through hands-on experiments and activities. As a biomedical engineer you might explore variations in human feet and use this information to design appropriate running shoes for athletes, or you might study the range of motion in a joint to design an appropriate brace. Situations like these involve thinking about the body as well as the support. What material is best? What design is most comfortable? How does the design support the work of the body? Biomedical engineering is complex! In order to be a successful biomedical engineer, you have to understand a lot about the body. In this class we will start by exploring the role of DNA and genetics in the body and learn how engineers and scientists use this knowledge. By using both the scientific method and the engineering design process, we will investigate real life problems that doctors, scientists, and biomedical engineers encounter every day.

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported engineering curriculum from Engineering is Elementary (EiE) and the Museum of Science, Boston.

Tremendous Transformations in Writing

Have you ever wondered what happened to Humpty Dumpty after his fall? What if the Diary of a Wimpy Kid was told from a different character’s perspective? Authors have the unique opportunity to shape stories and messages using a variety of writing elements. Designed specifically for the student with a flair for the written word, this class will explore the way that authors use transformations to guide a reader toward a story’s central meaning. How does the evolution of a character build the reader’s understanding of the story’s whole? How do words and images within a story alter our thinking? How can the actions of others change the world as we know it? Through the lens of transformations you will examine both narrative and persuasive elements essential to the development of stories and arguments. Using powerful famous speeches, short stories, and personal narratives as your guide, you will uncover your own creative and persuasive voice, transforming yourself into the writer you have always wanted to be!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported curriculum, Transformations in Stories and Arguments, by Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth.

Programming and Robotics

Robotic engineers are learners, dreamers, strategists, and creative thinkers. Robots are cool to play with, but how are robots used in the real world? Can robots really help make our lives easier? How do robots turn lines of computer coding into action? What are the thinking processes needed to successfully code a robot to complete a task? Come learn the answers to these questions and more as you challenge your mind and test your creativity by programming Sphero interactive robots and building your own LegoBoost Robot! In this course, you will take on the role of a robotics engineer as you brainstorm hands-on solutions to real-world problems through computer programming. You will program how your robot moves, looks, and interacts with apps, including augmented reality games, as you try to solve robotic challenges. After taking this course you will have new ideas about how to use coding and robotics to solve big problems in our world today!

*Sphero robots, LegoBoost robots, and code.org will be utilized.

Rising 5th/6th Grade

The Science of Being Human: Exploring Anthropology

In this course you will explore the diversity of the human experience by learning to see the world like an anthropologist You may ask– What exactly do anthropologists do? How do anthropologists conduct research? How can anthropology help us tackle contemporary social issues? These are all questions that will be addressed in this hands-on course. We will explore the core characteristics that make us all human. We will also explore the broad range of cultures and societies that make up the modern world. We will use ethnography, which is the scientific study of people and their culture, and we will learn techniques for how to conduct research to learn more about people. We will practice this form of research first-hand, explore how anthropologists conduct and analyze interviews, and investigate how anthropologists use research to better understand the world around us. Through our exploration of how anthropologists determine differences and commonalities in cultures around the world, your eyes may be opened to recognizing, exploring, and appreciating the many unique cultures around you!

Common and Practical Chemistry

From paint and glue to fluorescent lighting to household appliances, chemistry is at work all around us. During this course, you will learn chemistry’s impact on you as we investigate its role in your everyday life. To better comprehend the chemistry of everyday things, we will explore basic principles of general, organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry. During our investigation of everyday chemistry you will delve into central ideas related to chemistry like the ideal gas law, polymerization, catalysis, fluorescence, thermodynamics, solubility rules, electrochemistry, photochemistry, and redox reactions. Ultimately, you will come out of this class not only with a larger science vocabulary, but a real appreciation and understanding of how chemistry impacts your day-to-day life. Chemistry isn’t something you just read about in a book, It is something you experience every day!

Career Connections: Rising 7th/8th Grade

Stellar Astronomy

Get ready to contribute your own voice to our global, astronomical dialogue! We will study the life cycle  of stars and the remnants they leave behind. (Black holes, anyone?) You will learn how to access publicly available data and use astronomical software tools and methods as you think like an astronomer. A culminating project will challenge you to develop a strong scientific research question and use software tools to model scenarios, pursue verifiable answers, and communicate the results of your research to your classroom colleagues via a poster presentation. This course is a great fit for those planning a career as an astronomer and those who want a closer look at the scientific process while dabbling in astronomical questions. 

 

Session 6: July 25 -29
Rising 1st/2nd Grade

Agricultural Engineering

We have a problem – A once beautiful plant that grew delicious berries is not looking very healthy now. The plant has even stopped producing fruit.  Many of the typical reasons for a plant being unhealthy, like lack of water and sunlight, have already been explored. We need your help! Why has this happened and what can you do to make the plant healthy again? In this class, you will take on the role of an agricultural engineer to determine what has happened to this once-beautiful plant. You will use the Engineering Design Process to develop a solution and make the plant full of life again. As you investigate and engineer solutions, 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.

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported engineering curriculum from Engineering is Elementary (EiE) and the Museum of Science, Boston.

Animal Adaptations

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 a zoologist, a scientist who studies animals! In this course, we will investigate the ways that animals survive and thrive on our planet. Together we will learn about the characteristics that make animal species different and examine the unique habitats that different animals call home. We will also study characteristics of living things, learn about animal life cycles through observations of your very own pet mealworm, and determine what type of habitats are best for different creatures. 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!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported curriculum, Survive and Thrive, from the College of William and Mary.

Rising 3rd/4th Grade

Industrial Engineering: Machines at Work

Whether or not you realize it, machines are important to our lives. From the clothes you wear to the food you eat to the place you call home; machines are involved in some way in making or assembling most things we use on a daily basis. How are new machines developed to do important work? Industrial engineers to the rescue! In this class you will take on the role of an industrial engineer as you conduct investigations to learn more about simple and compound machines and how these machines can make work easier. Come ready to apply what you have learned to design, create, and test your own machine creations as you and your fellow industrial engineers create an assembly line sub-system for a factory in need of some help with their potato chip production problem. Think your job is over after the design? It has just begun! You will need to debate the pros and cons of your machine creations and assembly line work as we investigate the use of machines from the perspective of multiple stakeholders including factory managers, workers, and consumers. We will really put our machines and minds to work in this hands-on engineering class!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported engineering curriculum from Engineering is Elementary (EiE) and the Museum of Science, Boston.

The One to Beat: Using Algebra to Make and Break Records

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 various kinds of graphs to record our own record-breaking attempts. We will conduct experiments to practice recording, and interpreting our own data methods and results. We will put our algebra skills to the test as we try to calculate how to break world records. Who knows– we may leave this class with ideas about how to get our name in the Guinness Book of World Records while also learning more about math!

*Course adapted from an evidence-supported curriculum, Record Makers and Breakers, from Project M3.

Rising 5th/6th Grade

Robotic Engineering

Robotic engineers are learners, dreamers, strategists, and creative thinkers. Robots are cool to play with, but how are robots used in the real world? Can robots really help make our lives easier? How do robots turn lines of computer coding into action? What are the thinking processes needed to successfully code a robot to complete a task? Come learn the answers to these questions and more as you challenge your mind and test your creativity by building and programming your own robotic creations using LEGO Spike Prime!

In this course, you will form a company and take on the role of a robotics engineer to create hands-on solutions to real-world problems. You will learn effective ways to collaborate, communicate, and make decisions as part of a team. You will explore the steps in the design process to identify problems and brainstorm ideas with your colleagues, then work together to create and program prototypes using LEGO Spike Prime. You will learn how to troubleshoot issues, test your creations, and improve your designs through iterations. Finally, you will quantify your results and pitch your solutions to investors. After taking this course you will have new strategies for teamwork and leadership, as well as ideas about how you can use coding and robotics to solve big problems in our world today!

The Great Debate

What do you think of when you hear the word argument? In most cases, people think to argue is to fight. However, this is not necessarily true! Philosophy defines an argument as simple statements used to persuade someone of something using evidence and reason or to confirm a certain conclusion. In this class, you will learn the skills and methods that ancient philosophers used as you develop your techniques to convince others to accept your point of view. Through the use of logical arguments and appropriate evidence, you will learn how to defend your viewpoints and persuade your friends.Just like any skill, the art of arguing takes practice. By exploring specific types of fallacies (do not worry, we will explain this word in class) that can negatively impact an argument, we will become more aware of the principles great debaters use to present their points. We will also analyze historical speeches and debates as we explore the power that good debate skills can have on others. If you are interested in perfecting your debating skills to discuss relevant topics that directly impact your life then look no further. Come take part in a great debate!

Career Connections: Rising 7th/8th Grade

Psychology Research: Solving the Human Puzzle

If someone asked you to work on the world’s greatest, most perplexing puzzle for a living, would you say yes? Psychological science researchers have! What is this puzzle? Humans! Psychological researchers study how humans think, learn, feel, and act. If the human puzzle is intriguing to you, then you may be interested in studying psychology and becoming a psychological science researcher. This one-week, immersive experience will allow you the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of researching within psychological science so that you have the knowledge to develop a mini research proposal on a topic that interests YOU the most – this is what psychological researchers are asked to do in their careers! Together, we will learn how to view, interpret, and critique others’ research by studying existing scientific literature and studies. We will then use our budding understanding of psychological research to write research questions, form hypotheses, and design a novel study. You will leave this week with a true taste of what life as a researcher could be like while having a lot of fun!

Conservation Paleobiology

Modern climate change continues to be an active stressor for modern organisms, threatening extinction and wholescale ecological regime shifts unlike any we have seen before – at least on human time scales. However, such shifts are not unique in Earth history; the fossil record provides countless examples of ecological overturn, extinction, and recovery. To fully understand the cascading effects of modern climatic change, this class will immerse you in the developing field of conservation paleobiology, which studies ecosystems of the past to understand the present, and plan for the future. You will learn the tools real-life paleontologists are using to understand these ecosystems and take field trips to Vanderbilt research labs. By the end of the course, you will have gained a new perspective on our ancient past and understand more fully the changing dynamics of today’s world. Most importantly, they will see humans as only a part of the overall picture of our changing planet.