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 - 1, 3New in 2018! Word Wise

Creating ideas and stories by putting together letters and words is a fun and somewhat magical process. Join us as we play with letters and words to understand the ways that words are created, used, and combined to express ourselves. Learn about word origins from other languages, have fun with word games and puzzles, increase your vocabulary, and try your hand at using your words in writing stories, poems, and other word products.

B02Period - 2The Curious Chemist

The way materials are put together and the way they act under certain conditions is called the study of chemistry. 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. Participate in experiments to test your predictions about the reactions of substances.

B03Period - 1New in 2018!Numbers: Puzzles, Patterns, and Problem-SolvingFull, closed to further enrollment

Do you like to play with numbers and math? Come use number games and puzzles to learn about mathematical operations and determine how you can use these operations in your everyday lives. You’ll discover different bases, origins of number systems, and ways to communicate secretly through codes. Find out what fascinates you about math at your level and create new puzzles and number games of your own. Think like a mathematician and use logical reasoning, patterns, and problem-solving skills to dig into the concepts of number sense.

B04Period - 3,4Zoos by YouPeriod 3 cancelled

How are zoos being designed in today’s world? Our emerging awareness of protecting animals and providing environments in which they will thrive provides a challenge for future zoologists. This course will employ information about zoology, endangered species, the environment, laws, math, and design as students tackle the problem of creating a new zoo that addresses specific scenarios (e.g. certain kinds of animals, petting zoos, zoos in open areas, zoos in urban areas, teaching zoos, entertaining zoos, and more).

B05Period - 4New in 2018!Fantastic Plastic: Problems and Possibilities

Plastic is a staple material for many useful products in our daily lives. However, an excess of plastics in our environment has created many problems that need to be solved. Learn about different kinds of plastics, how they are made, how to reduce their environmental impact, and what scientists are doing to make plastics safe. Enjoy fun activities, such as making silly putty, testing plastics, and imagining new uses for existing plastics. Create a new idea or plastic product of your own.

B06Period - 2New in 2018!Plants and Insects: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Did you know that plants develop ways to defend themselves against insect attacks?  Plants can even change their chemical and physical characteristics to protect themselves.  But insects, persistent creatures that they are, have found ways to overcome plant defenses, allowing the insects to feed, grow, and reproduce on plants.  Come learn about the amazing interactions among plants and insects, and uncover the worldwide battles being fought in our gardens and forests.  Discover how these interactions affect your life, and analyze how insects can help the environment.

P07Period - 3New in 2018!Storytelling: Write Like an Archaeologist

Archaeologists use discovered artifacts and excavation methods to help them learn about history and culture, but artifacts alone can’t tell the complete story of what they represent. Creative interpretation is needed to help scientists make inferences and hypothesize about the past. Come learn about the techniques that archaeologists use, and then practice your writing by telling interesting stories that interpret the history that archaeologists uncover. Use your skills and imagination to bring scientific data to life. Then, try your hand at present day discovery techniques and write stories about clues you uncover in today’s world. You’ll learn to use emotion in your writing and breathe life into hard data, just like an archaeologist.

P08Period - 1Eureka! 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 have shaped history. We will also investigate the inventing process - many famous inventors were scientists, but some were also hobbyists that had a great idea and went on to become inventors. You’ll have a chance to put the invention process to work yourself by creating your own invention!

P09Period - 4Practical Math: Practically EverywhereFull, closed to further enrollment

If you have ever sat in a math class and thought, “I hope I get to use this math outside of school!”--this course is for you! Much of math is computation and procedure-based, but in the real world there are endless 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 time for other exciting aspects of math.

P10Period - 2New in 2018!Numeration Excavation Full, closed to further enrollment

Have you wondered why digits represent different values by just changing their positions? Discover how the use of patterns, grouping, and symbols make our place-value system function. Explore the Egyptian numeration system to understand the use of zero, and gain an appreciation for our base-ten system. Use clues from the Moli Stone to understand the principles of the Hindu-Arabic number system. If you “dig” numbers, you’ll enjoy creating your own numeration system that applies your knowledge of the place-value system, patterns, groupings, and symbols.

P11Period - 1New in 2018!Sleuthing Like Sherlock: Logic and Facts!

Detectives carefully gather and trace evidence to draw conclusions. Learn how to reason like a detective to gather and process through clues and details to unlock mysteries, such as analyzing handwriting or investigating a drop of ink. Conduct experiments using detection techniques, such as ink chromatology, finger-print analysis, and eye-witness interrogation to sharpen your sleuthing skills. Solve “Who Done it?” scenarios in classroom cases to practice and sharpen your craft to solve mysteries.

P12Period - 2Be a Pet Vet

Do pets have personalities? Are they trying to tell us something when they bark, scratch, or whine? 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 think you might want to be a veterinarian someday, this class is for you.

P13Period - 3Electricity and Magnetism: A Powerful PairFull, closed to further enrollment

Are you curious about electricity and want to know what it takes to power our world? Do you wonder where the force of a magnet originates and the extent of its strength in our universe? Here you will explore how the worlds of electricity and magnetism collide to help us perform daily activities. Plug into the world of electromagnetism, a type of physical interaction that occurs between electrically charged particles. Why is an electromagnetic force created when you rub a balloon on your hair? Learn about this force and much more as you PULL your curiosity toward experiments and activities surrounding electricity and magnetism that CHARGE up our lives.--Technology Fee: $50 (Includes a kit for each student.) Student must enroll in this course by May 15, 2018.

P14Period - 4New in 2018!Bee Smart! Be a Pollination Partner

Do you enjoy foods like apples, chocolates, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, and almonds? Pollination is very important in helping products like these to thrive. Approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals to produce items we need. However, animals that help pollinate have suffered from loss of habitat, chemical misuse, invasive plant and animal species, and diseases and parasites. America has lost close to half its honeybee colonies over the past 10 years. What can you do to help protect the future of pollinating animals, such as birds, bees, and butterflies? How can you ensure that pollination is protected and that all the plants we need for our products will continue to thrive? Come learn about what it means to be a pollinator partner.

P15Period - 2Biology or Grossology: You Be the JudgeCancelled

Welcome to the world of grossology! Here we study all things we usually think of as gross that the human body produces but that are important to the 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 that will stimulate curious young minds in a unique, and highly interactive way. If you think a medical career is in your future, this class is definitely for you!

E16Period - 1New in 2018!Speaking of Winning…What’s Your Point?

Are you tired of losing an argument? How can words help you to win an argument? Come improve your communication, argumentation, and reasoning skills by engaging in debate and public speaking simulations in topics of interest and controversy. Build your confidence and self-esteem as you communicate, show leadership, and address peer groups. Learn the basics of crafting an argument, preparing a speech, and debating an opponent to communicate your message within a public forum.

E17Period - 3Anticipating Algebra

"When will I ever use algebra?" you ask.  Here's one way. Introduce yourself to pre-algebra through this class that focuses on applications of algebra in the real world.  In addition to tackling concepts of linear equations, polynomial functions, and factoring, you may also have time for fun with games, tessellations, and probability.

E18Period - 4What’s the Chance?

Have you ever wondered how likely it is to win the lottery? Do you ever analyze 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 the mathematical concepts of fractions, decimals, and percentages to translate these functions into the math of probability! You will calculate odds using data, determine frequencies and values, and 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 CodeFull, closed to further enrollment

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 with the ability 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 re-engineer it.  Consider the potential applications of this new field of research to your life and generation.

E20Period - 2Astronomy: The Sky’s the Limit

Do you ever look up at the sky and wonder about all of the 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, the sun, and the 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 - 4New in 2018!Biomimicry: Nature’s InspirationFull, closed to further enrollment

What do the Eastgate Centre building in Zimbabwe, a fluid-drag reduction swimsuit, and Velcro all have in common? These real-world solutions are all inspired by the biological mechanisms of a termite’s nest, a shark’s skin, and seed burrs, respectively. Come discover new technologies that mimic biological processes within the fields of engineering, chemistry, and biology. Investigate medical, engineering, and socio-economic problems in our world that can be solved by observing the science of nature’s organic processes.

E22Period - 2Code, Create, and Animate: Game Design 101Full, closed to further enrollment

Have you ever wondered how the computer games you play are created? Learn the basics of computer programming for games through online applications, designed to help students explore and create a computer game of their own. Learn to solve coding puzzles and use critical thinking skills to solve new challenges and missions using one or more applications, such as Scratch™ or Tynker™. Put your imagination to work while creating a one-of-a-kind web game to share with your friends and family! (Scratch™ is developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. See --Student must bring a laptop with software installation permissions and have access to an email account to participate in this course.  

E23Period - 2New in 2018!Civil Engineering: Infrastructures That AmazeFull, closed to further enrollment

Civil engineering is everywhere—in our roads, in our water, and in our buildings, to name just a few places. Civil engineers help to create a safe environment as they design, construct, and maintain our built environment. Come try your hand at projects related to building structures like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings. Find out what it takes to make buildings and houses protected from disasters, like hurricanes and earthquakes. Use principles of physics and mathematical skills to understand concepts such as force, arches, compression, loads, water pressure, suspension, and truss to engage in experimental building activities. Consider whether being a civil engineer is in your future.

E24Period - 3New in 2018!Robolink: Rokit Smart RoboticsFull, closed to further enrollment

Robotics allows us to substitute human activity with those that are mechanically controlled by devices and programming to accomplish a task. Dive into the world of robotics, engineering, and programming with Rokit Smart. Work with motors, circuit boards, frame sets, horn adaptors, and much more to create 11 different kinds of robots. Use Arduino IDE programming software to have your robot maneuver terrain, complete tasks and challenges, and respond to its environment. Think like an engineer and build robots that follow your code commands!--Technology Fee: $130-Includes a Rokit Smart robotics kit. Student must bring a laptop with software installation permissions to participate in this course and must enroll by April 15, 2018.

View laptop requirements for this course.

J25Period - 4Legally SpeakingCancelled

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, while gaining self-confidence.

J26Period - 1Digital JournalismCancelled

In a time when anyone and everyone has the right to write and the ability to publish through blogs, websites, and Internet-exclusive programming, what does it mean to be a journalist? Come explore the fundamentals and responsibilities of reporting and shaping stories in text and multimedia. Learn to recognize excellence in media and bias in journalism, as well as discover the best ways to publish your own work. Create a name for yourself in the world of digital journalism. You, too, can make the headlines!--Student must bring a laptop to participate in this course.

J27Period - 2New in 2018!Fandoms: From Popularity to PurposeCancelled

“Fandom” refers to a community of fans, officially or unofficially organized, that is dedicated to an intense admiration of a particular person, team, fictional series, character, or other entities. Understand the beginnings of fandoms and extreme cliques that have developed over time. Explore current fandoms, such as those following reality show stars, like Chef Ramsey, Marvel Comics characters, Harry Potter and other literary characters, or athletes like David Beckham. Understand the roles fandoms play in our pop culture, and dive into the role that social media plays in sustaining fandoms. Can fandoms be a positive influence in our society? How might you create a fandom that brings helpful alternatives to current global challenges? 

J28Period - 2Algebraic Expressions

For those students who have not yet taken Algebra I, let us introduce you to mathematical expressions using variables. You will discover linear, quadratic, and exponential functions. You will encounter polynomials, grapple with rational functions, and tackle graphing. Class highlights include factoring algebraic expressions and using algebra in solving word problems.

J29Period - 3Chemistry: The Essential ElementFull, closed to further enrollment

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 uses in daily life. Engage in a series of experiments to test your hypotheses about the reaction of substances.

J30Period - 1New in 2018!Nuclear Waste: A Hot Topic

Nuclear energy is a clean-air source of electricity that produces large amounts of affordable electricity. A challenge that faces this industry is what to do with the nuclear waste that results. This course will explore the effects of nuclear power waste through analyzing a scenario that a town might face. You will learn about the biological implications of radiation and the compromises which society faces in accepting nuclear technologies into everyday lives. You will make recommendations and decisions about this timely and important energy issue facing our world.

J31Period - 4New in 2018!Robotics: Programming and Coding with Roboterra Origin™ Full, closed to further enrollment

Robotics is a field that combines the best of all worlds of engineering, science, and computer science, and is rapidly growing as a field to offer solutions for practical applications. Delve into the world of robotics through CastleRock Programming with Roboterra Origin™. This kit allows you to build real robots and program them. Engage in projects and activities that help you interface with servos, LEDs, sensors, and the C++ coding language to create robots that spin, wave arms, and conduct tiered challenges.--Technology Fee: $175-Includes a Roboterra Origin robotics kit. Student must bring a laptop with software installation permissions to participate in the course and must enroll by April 15, 2018.

View laptop requirements and software download information for this course.

J32Period - 2NASA Technology: Earthly Applications

What do the super soaker, invisible braces, and workout machines have to do with space exploration? Many of the products in your home, and those that we consume, are made through the technology and research provided by NASA. Although NASA’s main objective is to explore and understand the universe, much of the technology developed for that goal has benefited the public in many ways. Did you know that NASA has 6,300 patents to its name? From water filters, to freeze drying, to insulin pumps, we use many products that have resulted from space exploration research. Come understand new technologies that NASA is developing to make space exploration attainable for humans. See if you can unearth a NASA invention application that could become the next new product that we cannot live without.

J33Period - 3New in 2018!Calculate Your Win: Competitive Number SenseCancelled

Do you easily calculate numbers in your head? Do you enjoy competing with your friends on math challenges? Increase your fluidity and flexibility with numbers by becoming an expert with number relationships to solve mathematical problems. Strengthen your skills with mental calculation, computational estimation, magnitude of numbers, part-whole relationships, place value concepts, and problem solving by participating in classroom competitions and math bowls with like-minded peers. Be challenged as you go against other math wiz enthusiasts!

J34Period - 4New in 2018!Oncology to the Rescue: The Fight for Life

Cancer has a major impact on health in the U.S. and around the world. In 2016, approximately 1,685,210 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the U.S., with a prediction that 595,690 people would die from the disease. Learn how the abnormal production and growth of cells leads to cancer. Understand how genetics, lifestyle, and environmental influences contribute to a diagnosis of cancer. Become proficient in new areas of cancer research and technology, and explore innovative solutions for an area of oncology that interests you. Consider whether participating in a cure for cancer is in your future.  

J36Period - 1Back by Popular Demand! Taking Stock in Money Matters

Investing isn’t just for grown-ups anymore. Young people live in an age when the world of finance is an integral part of everyone’s daily life. This class will introduce you to the world of investing so that you can make the most of your money, even as a young person. Topics will include savings and interest, income and expenses, and the basics of the stock market. You’ll invest some imaginary money in order to discover your risk tolerance level in a stress-free way.

J37Period - 3New in 2018!Inventor + Engineer = Inventioneering!

The automobile, steam engine, airplane, and computer were not just great ideas that shaped the 20th century, they also showcased innovative engineering. Is there an aspect of your world that you can make a little easier with the right tools or resources? How can principles of engineering transform your idea into a real-life phenomenon? Introduce yourself to the many fields of engineering, such as mechanical, civil, chemical, chemical, biomedical, electrical engineering, and many more to identify principles that will help your invention become a hot commodity in our world. Combine your creative mind, engineering skills sets, and an area of need to inventioneer the next sought-after product!

AR38Period - 3Theater Play(ages 5-8 only)

In this drama class, you will enjoy an introduction to the fantasy world created in the theater.  Examine various aspects of theater production, including taking on an acting role, analyzing a scene, designing a set, and performing for others.  Focus will be given to thinking on your feet, creating a stage presence and projecting a character.  Those who enjoy music and dance can incorporate these talents, as well. Demonstrate how theatrical you can be in front of a SIG audience!--(Ages 5-8 only)

AR39Period - 2Improv 101: You’ll Laugh, You’ll Cry, You’ll Improvise(ages 9-12 only)

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. Learn how to create a stage presence, develop scenes, and project a character to the audience through coaching, warm-ups, games, and short scene work. Develop creativity, trust, and cooperation in a fun atmosphere!--(Ages 9-12 only)

AR40Period - 2, 3New in 2018!Masks: Mysterious and Magical (Period 2-ages 5-8 only) and (Period 3-ages 9-12 only)

All over the world, masks are worn for performance, entertainment, disguise, or protection. Explore mask-making from around the world and learn its cultural significance as an art form. Use a variety of materials, such as paper, cardboard, foil, plastic, papier mâché, and/or clay to create a unique face mask that expresses your imagination. Pull your audience into a world of magic and mystery with your intriguing masks!

AR41Period - 1The Art of Making a Short FilmFull, closed to further enrollment

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 a short compared to a feature length film. Come learn the trade of award-winning directors like Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson, and film your own SIG short film.--(Ages 9-12 only) Technology Fee: $35-Includes camera use during session. Student must bring a laptop with software installation permissions to participate in this course and must enroll by May 15, 2018.

AR42Period - 4Gaming for Strategy and FunFull, closed to further enrollment

What’s your favorite game? Why? Here’s a place where you can think about what makes a game fun. Playing games is a great way to have fun while learning. In this class you’ll play all sorts of board, memory, word, and active games, and then, create your own games to teach new strategies or learn such skills as teamwork. You’ll sample games from the past such as those from the Ancient Egyptians or Native Americans; bring in games from home, and create new games for the future.

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 (SPR) that assesses personal accomplishments and attainment of goals. This report is available online shortly after the program ends 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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