SIG at : Courses

At the core of the SIG curriculum are the creative, fun and academically challenging courses that are unique to the program. SIG is committed to fostering the development of each student’s unique abilities, as well as providing opportunities to explore new interests. We encourage families to choose a course schedule, where choices are available, that includes areas of passion and strength, but also allows for the development of new talents. Courses encompass a wide range of humanities, math, science, arts, recreation, and multi-disciplinary areas.

Each student selects from the listing of courses to create a personal schedule. Students take four courses daily. Students should select a first choice and second choice course, for each class period (one, two, three and four). We ask that students choose alternative courses in case a selected class is at capacity or doesn’t run at one of the sites due to underenrollment for that course. We also encourage students to apply early to increase their chances of getting their first course choice.

Please Note: Not all courses will run at all campuses. We ask that students choose alternative courses, where available, in case a selected class is at capacity or is not offered due to under-enrollment. We also encourage students to apply early to increase their chances of getting their first choice course. Our final schedule of courses is reflective of the preferences of students enrolled at that campus. Students may transfer to another campus as long as there is space on the alternate campus.

B01Period - 3Rooting out Letters and Numbers

Thousands of years ago there were no numbers to represent "two", "three", or any other numbers other than "one". Fingers, rocks, sticks, and other items were used to represent such numbers. There was little need for number systems until people formed groups and started trading, which created a demand for money. Word and letter systems similarly developed from picture-based wall paintings and drawings, eventually turning into symbols to stand for sounds and letters. Come explore the beginnings of our current math and writing systems; discover how this information can help you in future learning, and invent a new system of your own.

B02Period - 2The Curious Chemist

Chemistry studies the way materials are put together and the way they act under certain conditions. Chemistry helps us explain the things that happen in nature. Chemists are scientists who use each of their five senses to explore and make sense of life. Experiment with water, acids, bases, and everyday household items to discover the chemical world in which we live. Design experiments to test your predictions about the reactions of substances.

B03Period - 1Simple Machines, Complex Designs

Did you know that shovels, wheelbarrows, hockey sticks, and wooden bats are all simple machines called levers? Simple machines make work easier by enabling us to decrease our mechanical effort to move objects. The six types of simple machines are often combined in complex machines. Come learn about the six types of simple machines and create original machine designs of your own.

B04Period - 3NEW in 2017! Zoos by You

How are zoos designed? Our desire to protect animals and provide environments in which they will thrive provides a challenge for zoologists. This course will provide information about zoology, endangered species, the environment, animal laws, math, and design as students think about creating a special kind of zoo (e.g. certain animals, petting zoos, zoos in open areas, zoos in urban areas, teaching zoos, zoos that entertain). If you care about animals and want to create a great zoo, this class is for you.

B05Period - 2NEW in 2017! Unexplained Phenomena

Can you explain the unexplainable? Do you like puzzles? Then you are a fan of unexplained phenomena! Work with your curious classmates to answer puzzles that have baffled humans for years. What do Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster have in common? What about the ancient Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge? Come find out more about these mysteries and others and come to your own conclusions about them.

B06Period - 1NEW in 2017! Sunshine Science

What's so hot about the sun? How can a star that is 93 million miles away be the source of all Earth's energy, cause the seasons, affect the weather, and burn your skin? This renewable resource is truly amazing. Come find out more about the benefits and dangers of sunshine and conduct experiments to show how the sun's light can be used to help us in our everyday lives.

P08Period - 2Eureka! Inventive Minds at Work!

What would life be like if Ben Franklin hadn't harnessed electricity using his famous kite and key experiment? How would your daily life change if the wheel had never been invented? In this course, we will take a look at how inventions shaped history. We will also investigate the inventing process- many famous inventors were scientists, but some were hobbyists that had a great idea and became inventors. You'll have a chance to put the invention process to work yourself by creating your own invention!

P09Period - 1Practical Math: Practically Everywhere

Do you sit in math classes and wonder how you will ever get to use the math you are learning? Much of math is computation and procedure, but in the real world there are numerous applications. Discover how math can be applied in our jobs and lives. In this course you will explore probabilities found in gaming, money operations found in finance, shapes and angles found in architecture, and more! You'll become friends with graphs, numerical comparisons, and equations as you problem solve real-life applications. You will be engaged in much more than just calculations so be sure to bring your calculator to save your time for the other exciting aspects of math.

P10Period - 3Building Blocks of Engineering: The Way Things Work

Are you a budding engineer or just want to know how to fix things? Do you stay awake at night wondering how things work? Then this is the course for you! Increase your understanding of the world around you. Learn about the mechanics involved in the workings of everyday gadgets. Apply creativity and scientific principles to improve a current machine or invent a new one that solves a problem. Learn basic engineering principles and delve into the inner workings of vital machines.

P12Period - 1NEW in 2017!Be a Pet Vet

Do pets have personalities? Are they trying to tell us something when they bark, scratch or whinny? If you'd like to know more about the care and understanding of pets, this class is for you. You'll also have the chance to learn more about that special animal that you love the most, whether it's a fish or ferret, hamster or horse! If you have an interest in veterinary science, this class is for you.

P13Period - 3NEW in 2017!Web Game Design – Scratch the Itch

Have you ever wondered how those computer games you play are created? Learn the basics of computer programming for games through Scratch, a language designed to help students begin to explore and create a computer game of their own. The Scratch online community's slogan "Imagine, Program, Share" puts an emphasis on sharing and the social aspects of creativity as important parts of the philosophy behind Scratch. So come and put your imagination to work on creating a computer game of your own design and then share it with your friends and family!

P15Period - 2NEW in 2017! Biology or Grossology? You Be the Judge

Welcome to the world of grossology! Here we study all things we usually think of as gross that our human body produces but that are important to our body's healthy functioning. Come join us in investigating the impolite and fascinating science of the human body, its systems, and all of its wonderful yuckiness! You will love our engaging exploration of biological systems in a way that stimulates curious young minds in a unique, and highly engaging way. If you think a medical career is in your future, this class is definitely for you!

E17Period - 3Anticipating Algebra

"When will I ever use algebra?" you may ask. Here's one way. Introduce yourself to algebra by focusing on its real-world applications. In addition to tackling concepts of linear equations and factoring, you also may see how algebra can be fun by exploring games, tessellations, and probability.

E18Period - 2NEW in 2017! What's the Chance?

Have you ever wondered how likely it is to win the lottery or if you have a good chance of being the grand prize winner in a local drawing? Questions like these are answered by types of math called statistics and probability. In this course, you will review fractions, decimals, and percent and translate these functions into the math of probability! You will calculate odds using data, determine frequencies, values, and even learn about Pascal's triangle. If you've ever wondered, what's the chance, wonder no longer- just do the math!

E19Period - 1Unlocking the Genetic Code

Understanding the encryption on your genetic code will open your eyes to a whole new dimension of science: genetics. It was the unique genetic makeup of the infamous "swine flu" or H1N1 that enabled the virus to traverse animal species and thrive. Gain an understanding of DNA and the processes by which it codes living organisms. Study the structure of the double helix and investigate ways that scientists reengineer it. Consider the potential applications of this new field of research to your life and generation.

E20Period - 2NEW in 2017! Astronomy: The Sky's the Limit

Do you ever look up at the sky and wonder about all those celestial bodies you can see as well as those you can't see? If so, you are like millions of people since the beginning of time who have gazed into the sky seeking answers to questions like: How do astronomers find planets that are too far away to be seen, even using telescopes? or How do the moon, sun, and stars help us tell time? If you'd like to travel to the far corners of the universe while your feet are still on the ground, the astronomy activities of this course are for you. You'll also have the opportunity to learn more about related topics of interest, from astrophysics and auroras to zeniths and zodiacs.

E21Period - 1NEW in 2017! Earth's Seismic Sensations

Come delve deep down below the Earth's crust, all the way to its core! Do you ever wonder how busy the Earth is under its calm surface? How volcanic eruptions can send material up to 17 miles into the air? How the more than 500,000 earthquakes that occur yearly are created? Join us in this fascinating exploration of all the amazing processes that take place every day far, far beneath our footsteps, and understand the scientific principles behind our seismic experiences on this planet.

E22Period - 3NEW in 2017! Spark! Electricity and Magnetism

Are you curious about electricity and want to know what it takes to power our world? Then this course is for you! Here you will explore the fascinating world of electromagnetism, a type of physical interaction that occurs between electrically charged particles. Electromagnetic force plays a major role in determining the internal properties of most objects encountered in daily life, such as electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. Come spark that curiosity as you engage in experiments and activities surrounding the important principles that illuminate our lives. Materials fee: $25

J25Period - 1Legally Speaking

Interested in a career in law, or just want to possess a lawyer's argumentation skills? Come explore some of the elements that make law such an exciting and rewarding profession and learn how to win debates. Through public speaking exercises and awareness of legal issues, you will develop persuasive argumentation skills crucial to success in future professions, both legal and otherwise. You will practice skills while enacting trials and assuming the role of judge, jury, prosecutor, defender, or witness. Living the courtroom drama will hone your organizational skills, develop speaking and questioning abilities, and deepen your understanding of concepts underlying our justice system. Best of all, you can begin to assess your personal aptitude for a potential law career.

J27Period - 2Algebraic Expressions

For students who have not yet taken Algebra I, let us introduce you to linear and quadratic equations, polynomials, rational functions, and graphing. Class highlights include factoring algebraic expressions and using algebra to solve word problems.

J28Period - 3Chemistry: The Essential Element

Welcome to the laboratory that is the world in which you live. Experiment with domestic chemicals, environmental materials, foods, and living organisms to discover the chemical nature of substances, their properties, reactions, and their uses in daily life. Design a series of experiments to test your hypotheses about the chemical reactions of substances.

J29Period - 1NEW in 2017! Nuclear Physics

Nuclear physics is a branch of physics that is concerned with explaining the behavior of the nucleus of the atom. This exciting science has helped to save lives through innovative medical technologies, and has provided approximately 16% of the world's electricity in the form of nuclear power. In addition to highlighting the early experimental work of Lord Rutherford to more recent nuclear history, this class will examine such topics as models of the nucleus, anti-matter, radioactivity, alpha, beta and gamma decay, fission and fusion, and applications of nuclear physics along with the debates that accompany nuclear issues. Delve individually into an aspect of nuclear physics or nuclear engineering that fascinates you.

J30Period - 2NEW in 2017!VEX -Tech Robotics

Come explore the exciting and increasingly important world of robotics through fun, manipulative projects utilizing the VEX IQ platform. Build and test your own robots, put them to work in multiple, engineering-based challenges, and use them to create solutions for identified problems while employing a thorough design process. Sharpen your knowledge of the properties of motion by competing with and against your classmates in a variety of robotic challenges. Vividly build your knowledge of how motors, gear ratios, friction, gravity, speed, torque, and power are used to lift, move, and otherwise manipulate objects and achieve amazing results! Through the use of sensors, ultrasonic sound waves, gyroscopes, and encoders, automate your robot to negotiate its environment. Put your imagination, technological acumen, and scientific abilities in motion in SIG's robotic laboratory! Materials fee: $100

J32Period - 3NEW in 2017! Energy: Source of All Things

Is everything energy? We all know that energy plays a key role in powering our lamps, stoves, and vehicles, but do you ever think about energy being the source of life and everything else in our universe? A growing number of groundbreaking scholars are presenting the concept of energy as the key to the origin of life on our planet, the ultimate cure to disease, to fighting poverty, to halting climate change, and countless other amazing and crucial features and pursuits. Join us in this fascinating exploration of the multitude of unexpected ways energy influences our world and the worlds of the past and future, and see how you can make energy personal.

Visual & Performing Arts
AR37Period - 4Theater Playages 5-8

Come discover your dramatic side while making friends, improving your presentation skills and engaging your creativity at the same time in this fun-filled theater course. You'll discover the many-faceted components of theater through storytelling, acting, mask-making, costume play, mime, improvisation, and theater games. Bring characters to life on stage and let the entertainer within you emerge! (Ages 5-8 only)

AR38Period - 4NEW in 2017!Improv 101: You'll Laugh, You'll Cry, You'll Improvise! ages 9-12

This combination of dramatic and comedic improvisation will help you gain confidence in your ability to perform spontaneously, improve your storytelling skills, think on your feet, and improve your teamwork and communication skills. Focus will be given to creating a stage presence, developing scenes, and projecting a character to the audience through coaching, warm-ups, games, and short scene work. Great practice for developing creativity, trust, and cooperation in a fun atmosphere! (Ages 9-12 only.)

AR39Period - 4Comics, Cartoons, and Caricaturesages 5-12

In an increasingly visual culture, cartooning has grown into a highly respected art form. Do you have a favorite cartoon? What makes it fun for you? Let your imagination come out and play in this unique and energetic art class that explores drawing techniques specific to cartooning, caricatures, and comics! You will be inspired to express yourself through your own personal stories and creative characters.

Fitness & Recreation
AR40Period - 4NEW in 2017!The Art of Making a Short Filmages 5-12

Did you know that Tim Burton got his start in short film production? Before Edward Scissorhands and Frankenweenie, Burton wrote and directed short films, such as The Island of Doctor Agor and Stalk of the Celery Monster. In fact, Burton still finds a creative outlet in directing and producing short films. A short film, whether animated or live action, is less than 40 minutes long, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Analyze the various features of short films and evaluate the entertainment value of short films, compared to feature-length films. Come learn the trade of award-winning directors like Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson and film your own SIG short film. Offered for 9-12 year olds at FUD, SCDS, BUA, and Overlake. Materials fee: $25

Academic Performance / Evaluations

The goals and expectations of the Summer Institute for the Gifted program are specifically designed and geared toward providing a richness of environment, accompanied by enhanced opportunities for learning. Parents receive a final Student Performance Review that assesses personal accomplishments and attainment of goals. This report is available online by mid-September and can be sent to the student's school with parental permission. A letter indicating successful student participation in, and completion of, the Summer Institute for the Gifted program also can be sent to the student's school if parents so indicate.

SIG Programs Provide...

Dynamic and innovative approaches for supplementing the education of our world's most gifted and talented students, ensuring that they receive the individual attention they require.

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