Science & Technology

Classes vary from term to term. Please check current program schedule for activities available this semester.
Cosmos:  A SpaceTime Odyssey! 
Inspired by Neil Tyson’s recent documentary series, this interactive workshop will explore the basic elements of the universe and some of the theories developed by ancient and modern scientists to explain its origins, makeup and evolution. The nature of galaxies, stars, planets, moons, and asteroids are some of the topics this class will address! Hands-on projects such as designing and building models of the cosmos will complement and enhance our learning.
Hands-in-the-Dirt: Botanists & Urban Farmers (Jessica)
Ever observe kids making mud pies? This workshop explores the art and science of all things botanical and how gardening can help us address environmental issues. Children will grow micro greens, shoots and herbs, keep a class journal and create recyclable art like planter pots [out of water bottles] and re-usable bags [out of old t-shirts]. Projects include decomposer terrariums and water science. Students will be proud of their gardening ventures and ‘edible’ discoveries!
Jr Detectives: Spy Kids – NEW This Year!
In Partnership with Parker-Anderson Enrichment
Ever watch Sherlock Holmes solve a mystery? Learn all about crime investigation and forensic work. Explore the fascinating world of solving mysteries and develop observation and reasoning skills. In this class students learn how to take fingerprints, decode secret messages, search for clues, and solve puzzles.
Kitchen Lab:  Have Fun with Science and Eat It Too! 
Why do we heat up sugar to make candy?  How do vegetables turn into pickles? Why does bread dough expand? What happens ‘behind the scenes’ when milk becomes butter, cheese or yogurt?  How does salt alter the flavor of our food? Join our scientist-in-residence and explore the science behind the foods we eat and cook everyday. In this fun class you get to taste your own experiments!
Lego Engineers
Take lego building to a new level!  With kits from the Master Builders Academy students will learn the most important techniques used by the real Master Builders and are challenged to build their own creations. Each kit spotlights a different theme that kids love, like Robots, Space, Autos and more!
Minecraft Coding – New This Year!
In partnership with StateMakers
Young programmers will have the opportunity to blur the lines of coding and virtualization with our custom educational version of Minecraft. By using the educational modification for Minecraft known as ComptuerCraftEDU, Makers will be able to create their own programs using the coding language LUA. While this programming language is not Java, it provides the same fundamental principles and experiences for programing while offering a distinct advantage, that whatever programs Makers create will be working in Minecraft immediately. These programs can range from a complex control program for a railway system, a wireless communication hub to operate all the functions of a farm, or even create a brand new game on a virtual computer within Minecraft itself. During this process students will have the opportunity to build skills in collaboration, communication, and digital citizenship as they share their knowledge with others in their class and online. With MakerState’s help, students can turn an interest in how programs work into practical knowledge for today’s technology.
Minecraft: Imaginary Worlds 
The popular video game Minecraft is an interactive way for children to build the fantastic worlds of their dreams! Students will lay out plans, create an avatar, share hidden “seeds” and do real-time presentations of the complex realms they create. Together, we will design amazing landscapes and structures. We will also explore Minecraft to build personal relationships and improve public-speaking skills — and have fun along the way!
Minecraft Redstone Engineering – New This Year!
In partnership with StateMakers
Minecraft becomes a powerful learning tool as we help guide our young makers into new discoveries about engineering, circuitry, computing, and design. Young engineers will level up their creative knowledge with our custom educational version of Minecraft. We’ll show them how to design and build with Redstone, the information and electricity conducting material in Minecraft that can be used to teach students fundamental concepts of electrical and mechanical engineering, engineering design theory, and logic skills. We’ll use Redstone circuitry to complete various projects that might involve moving devices, functional computing machines, or even audio visual sequences based on basic programing logic — all the while students are in a virtual world of their own making. Along the way these makers will also build skills in collaboration, communication, and digital citizenship. With MakerState’s help, Minecraft screen-time can be turned into STEM-mastery time.
Ocean Mysteries
Do you have any idea how deep or wide the ocean is? Ever think about the many strange creatures that live in the oceans? In this class students will get a chance to dive deep into the abyss that few have visited before. In the process, they will learn about coral reefs, arctic waters, and other wonders of the vast oceans that cover most of our planet. Students will observe living creatures, fossils, and preserved specimens before attempting to create realistic models based on their favorite ocean creatures.
This ongoing workshop introduces children to the basics of programming and robotics in a playful environment. Working with Lego Mindstorms EV 3, students design, build, and program their own machines [or follow the manual instructions]. They practice programming and problem solving, explore 3-D design and 3-D printing, and indulge in robot battles. A great introduction to the wonders and challenges of automation!
Science Wonders:  The Code of Life  
Visit the strange world of genetics in our course on Evolution and DNA —  a starters guide to the code of life! Students will learn about the genetic diversity of plants and animals, from the simplest single-celled organism to the complex genetic make-up of humankind. This class will integrate sculpture as a medium to enhance learning. Wonder and curiosity a must! This class continues to explore topics addressed in our Biology workshops.
Science Wonders I: Maker Space with Professor Apple – NEW This Year!
In partnership with WonderHut Science
Practice your engineering and problem-solving skills with a variety of building projects that mix sculptural and found materials. Sample ideas include arcade games, simple machine inventions, science model-making, engineering through fantasy play (spy, outer space), carpentry (boats and floats), and others. Join the Maker movement!
Science Wonders II: Thinker Space with Professor Apple  NEW This Year!
In partnership with WonderHut Science
In this class young scientists explore, experience and get excited about a variety of engaging science topics. Every week students delve into different subjects, using stories, dramatic play, science based art projects, artifacts and tools. Topics include botany, animal studies, survival skills, weather, geology, physics (magnetism, electricity), and other exciting topics in chemistry or space travel. A place to wonder!
Tech Wizards: Scratch Video Game Design & Coding   New This Year!
In partnership with StateMakers
We’ll build programs, games, and animations using Scratch: the drag-and-drop, color-coded, event driven programming block editor. Young engineers will learn the fundamentals of programming with this fun introduction from the MIT Media Lab including if/then statements, loop structures, data variables, mathematical and Boolean operators. These skills will be applied to create games as we explore design concepts such as objective, aesthetic, and difficulty curves. This series culminates in a student-led game tournament showcase.