Summer Classes for Small Groups

Summer Classes:

Check our calendar for times — if a class you are interested in doesn’t show up, we can start one at any open time for four or more students.

Intro to Abstract Thinking (grade 7–9)

Between the ages of 10 and 13, brain development reaches a threshold that allows for the beginning of abstract reasoning. But just because the brain is capable of a new skill doesn’t mean a person automatically knows how to use it. In this introduction (and the four Thinking classes that follow), students will learn to name and use their new thinking tools in progressively more nuanced and sophisticated ways. This course will examine Piaget’s stages of brain development, consider the importance of stories to human thought, and introduce ways of writing and thinking about literature. Two hour class once each week for 6 weeks. $150

Week 1: Words matter. They matter because words are stories, and stories ARE the human world. We will discuss the social construction of reality and why powerful language skills are a vital survival skill. We will compare a current news story as reported by four different agencies — Fox News, CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera — to demonstrate how words shape reality.

Week 2: Reality stories, Identity stories, and Fantasies. Stories have different uses in the human world, and a single story can be used in multiple ways. Stories answer the questions, “What is real?” and “Who am I?” in all their forms and subtle permutations. But stories also serve as fantasies, which complicates our ability to judge them. Students will write (for their own eyes only) their identity stories.

Week 3: Ways of understanding stories. All story texts offer challenges of reading and interpretation. We’ll use the biblical story of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac to examine different ways of understanding a story. We’ll also refer back to the news stories from week 1.

Week 4: More ways of understanding. We’ll discuss Piaget’s stages of human development, with an emphasis on the transition from concrete to abstract thought currently happening in students’ own minds and bodies. We’ll discuss how that transition will affect their ability to read and understand stories.

Week 5: Practice. We’ll practice reading and understanding a 20th century text by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Week 6: Practice. We’ll practice again, this time using a Mother Goose poem, with Frank Baum’s Mother Goose in Prose as an example with which to begin.

Call or email to schedule

Biology –

How Does Your Garden Grow

This 6-week class explores the life cycle of the garden, from seed germination to harvest:

Seed structure and germination
Early plant development
Soil chemistry and plant health
Beneficial and damaging insects
Plant variety and diversity
Harvesting and preserving

Two-hour class once each week for six weeks. $100

Call or email to schedule

Chemistry –

Science and Potions

Join a fun summer camp and learn the chemistry and physics behind some impressive magic tricks:

Make a fiery Dragon’s Breath potion
Alchemy – turn copper into silver and gold!
Test dragon blood for royalty
Create a potion to crush cans instantly
Grow a mass of living sea foam
Mix up a batch of ogre snot
and more!

All experiments use common or easily available household chemicals.

Two-hour class once each day for one week. $100

Call or email to schedule

Physics –

Potato Cannon Physics:

Learn hands-on physics lessons from acceleration and momentum to projectile motion as each student builds their own potato cannon. By the end of the session, they will be able to calculate exit velocity, peak height, acceleration in the barrel, and much more from the distance and time in the air of their potato shots.

  • Day 1: Measure the effects of gravity. Learn about the terms and relationships between velocity, acceleration, mass, and force.
  • Day 2: Learn about Newton’s laws using active examples.
  • Day 3: Learn about potential and kinetic energy, momentum, work, and power.
  • Day 4: Learn about parabolic trajectories and the effects of mass, gravity, and force.
  • Day 5: Firing our potato cannons and using what we have learned to calculate barrel acceleration, velocity, power generated by the propellant, maximum height, and trajectory of our potatoes.

Two-hour class once each day for one week. $125 includes all materials

Register here

Sound, Light, and Optics:

Learn about sound and light waves, the Doppler effect and sonic booms, the electromagnetic spectrum, reflection, refraction, diffraction, prisms, lenses, and mirrors.

Two-hour class once each week for five weeks or once each day for one week. $100

Call or email to schedule