Chemistry, Ecology, Drama–Puget Sound in the Year 2050 In this challenging, fast-paced, fun-filled course students get a head start in understanding the fundamentals of chemistry from atoms to ecosystems. Intensive coaching in research skills, writing skills, acting skills and confidence in public speaking provide creative ways for students to dramatically improve their ability to think about complex systems, develop smart solutions and communicate results.
Scientists say that the Puget Sound ecosystem is in crisis. The Governor has set up a new agency called the Puget Sound Partnership. Its mission is to bring the ecological health of Puget Sound back into balance within the next couple of decades. We need to understand chemistry and ecology to solve this problem. In this course we dissect the issues, understand the science and dramatize our results. We have regular science labs, daily research challenges and… most fun of all, we analyze the ecological teachings from old Northwest Indian legends to produce a professional play! By analyzing patterns from the past, role playing issues in the present and building scenarios for the future, we can create a blueprint for our lives in the year 2050 right here in the Puget Sound bioregion. Fifth graders will be 49 years old! 6th graders will be 50! The future is in your hands and this class is a blast. A student favorite for six years! Materials & Excursions fee
Feel Those G’s: The Physics of Roller Coasters Almost everyone loves riding a roller coaster. Amusement parks are building them higher, faster, longer, and much more thrilling. The physics underlying the design and building of a roller coaster are amazingly simple. In this course, we will be learning when potential and kinetic energy trade places, how forces work to move us around and keep us in our seats, what happens when we accelerate, why we feel weightless during the dips, plus a whole lot more. Each student will design, build, and test their own model roller coaster using engineering techniques pioneered by the coaster experts. The class will include a field trip to a nearby amusement park. $100 Materials & Excursions fee (includes “Wild Waves” ticket & transportation). There are two sections of Roller Coasters, A and B.
The Incredible World of Plants Orchids that look like bees. Plants that can live for thousands of years with only two leaves. A chocolate drink fit for an Aztec emperor. What do these things have in common? They are all part of the incredible world of plants! In this course, we will be exploring the sometimes surprising (but always amazing) domain of botany. During our 3 week mission of plant discovery, we’ll tour a chocolate factory, talk to some real UW plant scientists and make a field guide for native plants found in the Pacific Northwest. We will learn why plants make fruit, how plants are used to cure diseases, and why all life on earth depends on plants. There will be lots of hands-on activities, plant snacks and, of course, plenty of time for creativity and exploration. Join us as we take a closer look at the awesome and extraordinary plant life on earth! Materials & Excursions fee
Inquiring Minds: The Art of Critical Thinking This is a course about critical thinking. Critical thinking? Won’t this just be another logic, math, or science course? Well, not exactly. Though we will talk about logic, math, and science, we will not spend a lot of time doing math or science. Though we will do logic a lot, we will not be focused on logic for its own sake. So, you might be asking, what will we do? We will ask thoughtful questions about what we are doing when we do math and science. We won’t stop there. We’ll find that these questions open a giant can of big questions about which we can critically think. In other words, we will be doing philosophy. So, this course will explore many of the philosophical issues, puzzles, and problems typically found in a college-level Introduction to Philosophy class. Our exploration of these issues will take place through the use of compelling stories, intriguing dialogue, and fun activities. My hope is that you will come out of this course with a richer awareness of not only what it takes to be a good critical thinker, but have some thoughtful ideas of your own about what we are doing when we do things like science, as well as what it means to be a good friend, family member, and citizen.
Introduction to Robotics This class introduces students to the world of robots while learning about principles of physics, engineering concepts, strategic design, problem solving and teamwork. Applying the principles of scientific inquiry and the design cycle, students build and program LEGO Mindstorm NXT robots to accomplish increasingly complex missions. Through “hands on/minds on” activities using the LEGO Mindstorm NXT robotics equipment, official First LEGO League (FLL) competition boards and other materials, students will have fun exploring the nature of momentum, friction, gearing and leverage; the fundamentals of sound design and construction such as bracing, center of gravity and steering; the analysis of missions to identify strategic solutions; the developing of programming logic and planning of tasks and team communications essential to successfully accomplishing the missions efficiently and effectively.
We will investigate robots’ uses today (including a field trip) and the future possibilities. The course wraps up with student research project presentations and a First LEGO League-style competition! Students with little or no LEGO experience are welcome, and more experienced LEGO-builders will find the missions challenging and fun. $100 Materials & Excursions fee.
Math Topics This class offers the student interested and passionate about all things mathematical an opportunity to explore and stretch beyond the boundaries of the standard school math curriculum. A wide variety of math ideas will be introduced and investigated, ranging from logic, parity, combinatorics, game strategies, and similar topics. In addition to working through problems as a class, students will participate in various mathematical contests, compete in a mathematical Olympiad, play mathematical games, and spend time on math-related fun (jokes, puzzles, and fun problems). This course will allow students to deepen and widen their mathematical skills in a creative and fun way. If you love to think about math and want to spend time with others who want to do the same, this is the class for you! There are two sections of Math Topics, A and B. Students planning to take Math Topics must have a qualifying Math score.
Next City: Investigate, Explore, Imagine, Construct The city is all around us. Sidewalks, schools, skyscrapers, houses, hospitals, highways, parks, playgrounds, and electric poles, are just a few of the building blocks that come together to make cities work. In this course, we will explore how cities work, and imagine a new city based on our investigations. We will wear the hats of architects, urban planners, landscape architects, and construction managers as we think about the city. Students will work together in large teams to imagine and design a city plan and then in smaller groups to construct buildings and parks in our NEXT CITY. Students will take several short adventures into the city to investigate what makes a city. We will celebrate our new city with a presentation and city tour for visitors. Materials & Excursions fee
To the Moon and Beyond! Spinning planets, blazing meteors, exploding stars, distant galaxies and the intriguing question – “Is there life beyond Earth?” In this course, you’ll take a tour through the universe exploring all of these things and more. We will cover the properties and evolution of objects in our solar system and then move on to extra-solar planets, stars, galaxies, and the structure and fate of the universe. Along the way, you’ll build knowledge of the tools of the astronomer including the physics of light, parallax, rockets, and more. Using physics, math, chemistry, and geology we’ll uncover the science of our universe! Classes will include a visit to the planetarium, hands-on lab activities, and an evening of observing with telescopes. At the end of the course, we’ll have our own conference-style astronomy party where students will be able to share what they’ve learned with friends and family! Materials & Excursions fee
Word: A Call to Creative Thinkers, Writers, Artists, & Those Who Wanna Be “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison
The only way to become a writer is, quite simply, to write. What does it mean to write? What does it mean to be a writer? And most importantly, how do we do it? How do we go about this need we have to sit down and fill up a blank page with our own stories and then (gasp), dare to hope that someone will read them? If you find yourself asking these questions, then I say to you: Congratulations! This makes you a writer!
In this course we will devote ourselves to the study and practice of creative writing in a supportive community of writers. Each week we’ll focus on a different genre of writing, including fiction, poetry, and finally, graphic novels (also known as comic books). During class we’ll read and discuss other writers, engage in creative writing exercises to help us find and create the stories we want to tell, and give each other thoughtful and constructive feedback on our writing during workshop sessions. The course will culminate in a self-published literary ‘zine which we will produce and design, and a final literary reading in which we will present our short stories, poems, and graphic novels in front of a live audience of family and friends. There are three sections of Word: A, B, and C.
Note: Students take ONE class for the entire three weeks. Classes run Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 2:20 pm.