For each session, morning students attend three different classes for one hour each morning for two weeks. Thus, they have one class from 9 AM to 10 AM, another from 10 AM to 11 AM, and a third from 11 AM to 12 PM. Dismissal is at noon each day. There is no extended care available for morning only students.
- Session I: June 11th – June 22nd
- Session II: July 16th – July 27th
- Limit to 15 students per class
What to bring:
- A folder with pockets and pencils
- A nut-free snack to eat mid-morning
2018 Classes will be available March 1, 2018;
classes listed below are from 2017 and remain as samples
Mouths and Tails
From the flowing tailpiece of the snow leopard to the snarl of a wolverine, from the rudder of the great white shark to the look of a lab rat, welcome to the world of Mouths and Tails! Discover the practical uses and hidden messages behind animals’ behinds. Investigate the huge variety of mouths in the Animal Kingdom and what they allow each creature to do. Fall under the beguiling spell of an anteater as he flashes his two-foot tongue. Discover Mother Nature’s reasons for that peacock’s compelling tail feathers. We’ll hand-craft replicas of these natural wonders while discovering why some species are thriving and some are disappearing. Then design your own creature that is sure to survive and multiply. We’ll paint murals of chameleons that have suction-cup tongues that are longer than their bodies. Journey on this fun and unique expedition as we examine and chronicle these anatomical assets! From meerkats and macaws to terriers and tadpoles, Mouths and Tails, here we come!
Build a Tiny House
If you’ve been watching TV or reading magazines, chances are you have seen a tiny house. These little homes are popping up everywhere! Have you ever daydreamed of creating and living in your very own tiny home? Apply area, perimeter, and geometry skills to build a unique miniature 3D version. Design the base floor plan using a bird’s eye view and use this as your blueprint. Explore your options and furnish your tiny home to fit your personality. After you design your own tiny house branch out and create a tiny house for someone else. You could consider a tiny house for a pet, a favorite doll or toy, a friend, a family member, or even a tiny house for homeless members of the Austin community!
Spots and Stripes – Patterns Galore!
Be intrigued by fables that include mischievous and entertaining explanations about the creation of animal patterns. Invent original designs for animal fur or feathers of your choice. Discover painted house designs of Africa and paint one of your own. Notice speckles and spots all around us. See them on costumes and clothing, and design a mini-costume for your favorite character, superhero, or yourself. You’ll create your own mask of a real or make believe animal. Investigate visual art mysteries and create an eye-spy collage to intrigue or puzzle your pals.
Stars – Beginning with Ours
Grades 2nd – 6th
3,2,1…be ready to BLAST OFF into space and discover the fascinating world of stars. Our mission will begin with OUR most important star, the sun. We’ll design investigations to explore radiant energy and examine the sun from inside out. Then we’ll continue past our solar system and into space where we’ll attempt to count stars, locate constellations, taste an “Astro Chip Sky” cookie and discover the idea of invisible light and representational color. We’ll use our new knowledge to create a color map of surface temperatures, a unique constellation, and myths to go with our new discoveries. While on our space journey, we’ll explore rocket propulsion, experiment with miniature film can rockets and take look closely at NASA’s Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV). So, get your spacesuit ready.
Give Me a Hand
Did you know there are 27 bones in your hand? Come get to know the most expressive part of your body! Speak to your friends using sign language. Learn to dust for fingerprints and see what makes yours unique. Explore your hands’ theatrical side and make shadow puppets. Build your own hand drum and create your own rhythm. Amaze your friends with your sleight of hand magic tricks! Dare to be blindfolded and try to guess what your hands are feeling! (Could it be earth worms? Spaghetti?) Master complex string shapes such as Jacob’s Ladder, Cat’s Cradle and more.
The Round Table
Dive deep into the Middle Ages – a world filled with the adventures of knights, wizards, ladies, lords, and kings. Explore the daily life of people living during this time of feudalism and nobility. Discover all aspects of life through real life scenarios. Do you know what a Trebuchet is? Explore the science behind catapults, build your own and see how far you can make it project. Do you know the different parts of a castle or how long they took to build? Create your own dream castle and make a sundial. Coat of arms colors and animals came to have special meanings. What will you choose to design one for yourself? Join us as we travel back in time.
Are You Wired for Wireless?
Everyone has a smartphone these days, but how many people know the science behind wireless? We’ll build a wireless electric power transmission system in class. How do radio and television broadcasts get to us? We’ll build our own spark gap transmitter! How far can it reach? Who invented wireless, and when? Discover Marconi of Italy, Hertz of Germany, and Mahlon Loomis of Tennessee. Investigate why car transmitters work from a longer distance if you hold them next to your head. We’ll create magnetic fields, electric fields, and build a crystal radio that needs no batteries to work. We’ll construct our own long range wi-fi antennas from soup cans, and measure which materials can block wi-fi signals. Maybe you’ll get the spark of an idea!
Hello, Drama Llama
To be a Llama, or not to be? That is a question? In this Llama inspired course on drama we will explore how an emperor got his groove back and a man hungry for spice rode a llama into history. Since hip-hop has hit the spot-on Broadway we’ll be diving deep into the Hamilton phenomenon all the while “spitting” our very own rhymes as we design the lines behind the next great drama. Did you know that performing musical improvisation exercises will improve your thinking speed? Join us in the limelight if you think you have what it takes to make it big.
Fantastic Feasts: Harry Potter Cooking
Fancy a chocolate frog, some polyjuice potion, or a cockroach cluster? These are just some of the delicious treats we’ll create as we journey through the culinary world of Harry Potter. We’ll whip up some of the Weasley twins’ delectable tricks and invent our own silly confections as we write up plans for a prank business. After exploring the chemistry behind what makes these fun fictional foods so fantastic, we’ll end with a feast in the Great Hall. Expecto Patro-YUM!
Project Playground: Past, Present, and Future
Ever wish you could engineer your own playground? Well, you’re in luck! Join us to design and build a model playground that you’d enjoy. What popular playground structures would you create; a rock wall, a splash pad, net climbers, or a trapeze challenge? Learn which geometric shapes are the strongest. Explore the architecture and science of playgrounds past, present and future. What safety guidelines would you have and ways to make your playground accessible to children with disabilities? From simple slides, swings, and carousels, let’s investigate kinetic and potential energy and centripetal force. Your mission is to be an engineer with a vision and imagination to break ground on a playground that keeps kids moving. Take the plunge to design a playground in a new and improved way.
Keep Austin Weird!
What makes Austin weird or any city unique? Here in town, is it the thousands of bats that find home under the Congress Avenue Bridge? Get outside and discover other ideal habitats for bats to reside in. Is it the ever-changing graffiti wall? Investigate what the wall used to be and how it became a place for Austin residents to express their creativity. Is it the famous Cathedral of Junk in a resident’s backyard? Explore the cathedral and design an addition to the pile! What unique food would you sell at your very own food trailer? Attend the Keep Austin Weird Festival and design a costume to wear or head over to Eeyore’s party and create a new friend for him. Discover Austin’s unique and strange features from moon towers like the Zilker Christmas Tree to picturesque murals. What attraction would you create with the moon towers? Design a new idea to Keep Austin Weird! Finally, research city crests and create your own city and motto! Be a city planner.
It’s Raining Cats & Dogs
There’s something about their soft fur and sweet faces – most humans LOVE having a pet! Are you in this group? We’ll explore all things associated with our feline & canine companions – choosing the best type for you, what your pet needs, how to meet a new dog/cat and training a new pet. We will also discover how dog & cat rescue groups work and help a couple of local organizations by creating “Adopt Me” bandanas and whipping up some treats their dogs & cats will love!
It’s a Mystery!
Have you ever imagined that you were a detective solving the biggest crime of the century? Discover clues, investigate suspects by checking into their alibis, and learn how not to be fooled by a red herring. It’s time to dive into the fabulous world of forensics! Join us as we solve mysteries using DNA and other modern techniques. We’ll explore lip, bite and shoe prints, and handwriting analysis with chromatography. Did you know that almost every time you touch something, you leave a fingerprint? Practice forensic science and become a fingerprinting expert. Explore evidence from a crime scene, examine the modern-day crime lab, and shed new light on the age-old question of “who dunnit?” Can eye witness testimony be trusted? Solve your very own mystery like a 21st century Sherlock Holmes!
Afternoon Theme: Frozen
We’ll investigate cold climates and the homes, clothing and vocabulary that develops from living in such environments. What animals flourish at the poles and what adaptations have they made to withstand brutal temperatures. We’ll discuss all types of snow, investigate snowflakes by building them with fractals, and design crystals. What are glaciers and what about those balls of ice in space? Learn what chill factor means and discover the coldest places in the world. What strategies for survival would you need to learn to handle below-zero environments? What sports are associated with the Winter Olympics and cold environments in general that we don’t have in Texas? Just for fun we’ll also explore the making of Disney’s film Frozen – what went on behind the scenes, the history of animation and the process of adding voice talent to animated features.
Let your imagination soar as we create our own series of little monster puppets. We’ll use a variety of traditional puppetry construction techniques as we develop our own characters. Monsters don’t have to be terrible or evil; they just have to be visually imaginative and different from actual people. Sometimes their features can be over exaggerated human features and more… Let’s begin the engineering of these crazy characters!
With a dash of salt, a pinch of sugar, and an entire collection of children’s novels we’ll stir up a batch of the most enjoyable hands on cooking experiences of the summer. We’ll read a plethora of children’s literature and prepare a related recipe with each story. Who wouldn’t love baking Bread Boas after reading The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash or making a batch of Scrumptious Strawberry Jam after hearing Bread and Jam for Frances? You’ll even have the chance to write your own story, while creating a recipe within your novel. Come and taste all that literature has to offer.
Exploring the Italian Countryside
Grades 1st – 4th
Pizza, spaghetti, the Renaissance, and Pompeii, are just a few things that come to mind when thinking about Italy. This country’s rich history and unique culture combined with deep traditions and geography really make Italy a fascinating country to explore. Did you know Marco Polo is not just a game you play in the swimming pool and that the thermometer actually was invented by the Italians? Let’s play some Bocce ball, cook some authentic Italian food, and learn some basic Italian phrases, all while exploring the greatness of this amazing country. Learn these interesting facts and other exciting things which made this country so memorable. Ciao!
Remember Rube Goldberg?
Join us as we investigate the man behind the famous machine – Rube Goldberg. We’ll take an in-depth look at his cartoons, discover how they became popularized in America, and try your hand at creating your own. Goldberg became famous for his intricate machines that were designed to complete very simple tasks. Discover how to utilize and engineer a multitude of simple machines to create a complex contraption. Design and create your own Rube Goldberg machines as a way to give homage to this famous cartoonist, engineer, author, and inventor. What will you need to do to make your machine strong enough to work?
The Dark Depths of the Ocean
Dive down with us to the bottom of the ocean! We’ll begin by exploring the different ocean zones. Near the surface, swim with the Great White Shark and compare the sizes of different animals from the Sperm Whale to the Giant Squid. Discover different deep ocean submersibles and then build your own for us to travel in down to the deep ocean floor. Close to the ocean floor, discover bioluminescent fish like the Anglerfish and investigate energy in hydrothermal vents. Did you know there’s a squid that contains small light organs that can alter the color, intensity, and angle of its lights? Create your own deep ocean animal to add to this environment.
Do you want to change the world? Is helping others high on your list? Do you have a charity or cause you’d love to be a part of or better yet, want to start your own? What if you could help others and have fun at the same time with something you created? This class is for you! We’ll become architects and build our own festival from the ground up! Decide what game or activity you want to offer at your booth. Be a mathematician to determine what to charge, figure out dimensions of your booth, and how much you might raise for your organization. Imagine what the world would be like without charities helping people all around the world and without people like you to make the world a better place. Become an expert fundraiser!
Tales and More Tails! Animals in Native American Stories
Explore the animal mythology in Native American stories. Create props to use in our class performance and act out intriguing tales of adventure. We’ll use our senses to investigate Native American arts. Make your own Dreamcatcher. Reveal the meanings of symbols and invent your own hidden story. Discover the mystery of totem poles. How were birds and other animals used on totem poles to honor chiefs or shame others? Find out and create your own 3-D creation!
Rockets and Rock-n-Roll
As the Apollo Space program was sizzling, the 1960s exploded with rockin’ music, groovy fashions and exciting new games. Come explore the most exciting decade in our nation’s history. Design your own rocket and see how high it can soar, and find out what it took to become an Apollo astronaut. Play some of the most popular games of the ‘60s like Twister and Hula Hoop. Twist and Shout to some of your favorite Beatles songs and build your own Yellow Submarine. Design a record label for Motown and investigate how turntables worked. Create your own groovy fabric pattern worthy of Austin Powers.
You’ve got a Lot of Nerve!
How do you see, hear, and feel things? What’s inside your brain? What’s the difference between your ‘mind’ and your brain? What makes nerve and muscle cells ‘excitable’? What happens when you twitch? Sneeze? Did you know that the human brain was full of electricity long before anybody really knew what it was! How many cells are in your brain and how do they let you sense the world and think? We’ll make model nerve cells and learn dances to help us understand how they work and how they talk to each other. Test your reflexes and learn some of the amazing things your brain can do! We’ll also try out some optical illusions and understand how our nerves make them happen. You really do have a lot of nerve.
Fantasy from Scratch
What is your fantasy? Think you have what it takes to turn yours into a real-life adventure? Join us as we explore fantastic fantasies and their origins. From Homer’s Odyssey to J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter we will dissect great works of fantasy throughout time while considering their creator’s motivations, inspirations, and process. Using SCRATCH, an MIT developed coding language as well as other physical mediums, we’ll bring our own fantasies to life. Learn to be a programmer and join us if you dare to think that you have what it takes to build your own fantasy from SCRATCH.
Jingles: Musical Notes that Won’t Let Go!
What’s that pesky little melody that has climbed into your ear drum and won’t stop beating? Why do you respond like a Pavlovian dog when that melody flies across the airwaves? Welcome to the Velcro world of Jingles! Join us in creating simple melodies interwoven with catchy phrases that stick like glue. Pen your own musically themed ad campaign for your favorite product. Why do companies pay so much for these miniature minuets – these genuine gems? Play entertaining games of “Name that Tune.” Can your jingle sell a million products? Explore why advertisers rely on these 30 second gems to reel you in to buy their products. Five little notes never sounded so good. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to write a longer theme song for a special business or entity.
What do Thales, Kadinisky, and Lady Di of Ameter have in common? A love of circles. And we do, too. Join us in a quest to investigate all things circular. Create a nine-point circle and make a “pi skyline” of a city using grid paper based on 3.141… Examine crop circles and Stonehenge, as well as explore idioms, sayings, and circular thinking. With inspiration from Vassily Kadinsky and Richard Long, we’ll paint our own round masterpieces. Enjoy brainstorming different circle foods found in nature and created by humans, taste some of them, and design new foods to make circular. Be ready to see, touch and taste circles.
Better Than Anime
Long before we were entertained by Japanese Anime cartoons, the Japanese were entertained by “Bunraku Puppetry.” This art form included life-size puppets performing on stage with the puppeteers, who are dressed in black, standing behind the puppets. We’ll create these kinds of magical puppets whose movements are so life-like, they inspired great puppeteers like Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, Star War’s famous Yoda, and The Dark Crystal’s animated monsters. We will examine the engineering behind these creations as we develop our own characters.
Join us as we explore the internal structure of the human body. You’ll be introduced to many technical drawing elements used to make renderings look realistic. Each day, we’ll examine different elements of the science and structure of the human form and introduce new drawing concepts to make your pictures look like the real subject. Get ready to be an artist who uses special tools to achieve different techniques and carry a personal sketchbook. Let the exploration begin!
Afternoon Theme: Festivals around the World
Join us as we visit some of the many and varied festivals around the world, hear how they originated, and what they celebrate. From Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Running of the Bulls in Italy, to Fall Festivals in New England, we’ll make decorations, plan, and get ready to participate. Even Austin has its share. One of the most visually beautiful involves Hot Air Balloons in New Mexico when colorful spheroids fill the sky. We’ll investigate the science of different types of balloons and how they work. Learn about the aerodynamics and physics of kites, make your own, and be ready for the next Zilker Kite Festival. Some celebrations involve throwing things, physical challenges, fun activities, and great food. Imagine the festival you’ll design. Will you specialize in music, books, film, historical periods, art, arts and crafts, poetry, comedy, marathons, cultures or specialty foods or beverages? Festivals can celebrate just about anything that people want to enjoy.
We hope that you’ll find our schedule full of so many interesting courses that it’s hard to choose!