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Top Courses at UCLA Institute for the Gifted

Summer Discovery Institute for the Gifted offers many courses, created specifically for gifted, talented, and highly proficient students to foster their critical and creative thinking skills, challenge them to think beyond their current realm, and encourage them to embrace their individuality. We aim to foster an environment of academic risk taking where failure is not an end but a beginning to the journey of complex understanding. Here are just a few of our favorite courses:  

Upper Elementary:  

Graphic Novel Writing Workshop: From Cave Drawings to Comic Books: 

While the modern form of graphic novels has only risen in popularity in recent years, using graphics to communicate was a part of human culture over 40,000 years ago! Reading graphic novels can help develop language, memory, and inference-making skills. But what does it take to write an engaging graphic novel? How do you move from reading graphic novels to writing them? In this class, you will learn about the unique elements of graphic novel writing and how to expand your creative writing skills through the addition of graphic depictions. You will hone your writing to bring conversations to life by showing instead of telling. From conception to creation, you will put pen to paper and compose your own graphic novel throughout the course. 

Interactive Robots: Programming Prowess 

In this class you will build your very own robot while you expand your knowledge of computer science. You’ll learn visual and textbased programming languages such as Makecode and JavaScript to instruct and communicate with your robot. You’ll engage with various dynamic programming experiences through specialized accessories such as tri-color LEDs, multi-tonal buzzers, wheel encoders, light sensors, distance/obstacle sensors, and line-tracking infrared sensors. Using an appropriate programming language, transform your robot into a buzzing alarm clock, a joystick for a student-written game, a musical instrument, a light-fearing robot, and much more. Think of ways you can use programming skills to unlock the potential of your robot. Supplemental fee: $195includes robot kit for student 

Middle School 

Discrete Mathematics: 

Discrete mathematics is the study of mathematical structures that are countable, distinct, and separable. For example, suppose you are developing schedules for referees at a soccer game and want to avoid conflicts between referee times. How could you ensure that there are no schedule conflicts? Scenarios like this are addressed through combinatorics and graph theory, in other words, discrete mathematics! Investigate how the math of combinatorics allows you to count things that are much too large to be counted conventionally. Explore how to solve real-world puzzles or explain the food chain through graph theory. Use discrete structures such as set theory, probability, logic, and statistics to learn different approaches to problem-solving. Solutions to our world’s most challenging problems may not be as discrete as you think! 

Medical Microbiology: 

Welcome to this introductory class where we’ll delve into the fascinating intersection of human biology and medicine! Medical microbiology is the study of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, all of which can cause diseases in humans. This course is designed to foster scientific curiosity, critical thinking skills, and a deeper understanding of how microorganisms play a critical role in human health, disease, and medical breakthroughs.  Analyze how microorganisms cause common diseases and their symptoms, and how diseases are transmitted. Discover the history and development of vaccines, antibiotics, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria and how they have impacted the transmission of disease. Through hands-on lab activities, you’ll examine the essential biochemical reactions that occur within the human body. You'll expand your understanding with the use of case studies and real-world examples to inform research on cutting-edge topics and breakthroughs in microbiology research. Be at the forefront of harnessing bacteria to work for us, rather than against, in medical advancements, drug preparation, and disease control in the future of healthcare. 

Apply now for Summer 2024—we can’t wait to see you!  

Apply Today!

>> Read on for why UCLA is a top choice for gifted and talented students.


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