Summer Institute for the Gifted

Summer Institute for the Gifted

Programs for gifted and talented youth ages 5-17

Wesley Day Courses

B01Period - 1New 2019!Comedy Writers Club

What's funny to you? Where can you find humor? How can humor be helpful? In this class, you'll examine jokes, limericks, skits, comics, stories, and characters to determine why people find them amusing, and then apply those concepts to your own humorous creations. You will practice your writing and presentation skills as you write and deliver your most clever and humorous thoughts to an audience. This course will allow you to engage your funny bone, be part of a comedic writing team, and perform in your own SIG Comedy Club!

B02Period - 3Chemicals in Action = Chemical Reaction

Did you know the first type of soap was created through a chemical process using animal fat and ashes (known as lye)? How can something so messy make you cleaner? The answer lies in how soap interacts with oil-based grease or grime! The way materials interact is all about chemistry. Chemistry helps us explain things that happen in nature. Chemists are scientists who use all five senses to explore and explain life. Experiment with water, acids, bases, and everyday household items to discover the chemical world in which you live. Participate in experiments to learn more about chemical reactions.

B03Period - 1Numbers: Puzzles, Patterns, and Problem-Solving

Do you like to play with numbers and do 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 number bases, origins of number systems, and ways to communicate secretly through codes. Find out what fascinates you about math and create new puzzles and number games of your own. Think like a mathematician and use logical reasoning, patterns, and problem-solving skills to master number sense.

B04Period - 2New 2019!Sound Sensations

Can you see sound? How does sound travel and what kinds of things can it travel through? How do animals use sound to move around? Discover answers to these questions and others you have about the science of sound waves. Learn about pitch, volume, and frequency. Observe sound through your eyes, bodies, and ears. Make noise; make music; do experiments; make instruments! Find out what happens when sound becomes harmful noise pollution and create a way to reduce noise pollution in your neighborhood with your newly gained knowledge about the physics of sound.

B05Period - 4New 2019!Oceans of Answers

Ocean scientists sometimes need to make long-term observations of marine plant and animal life to answer their scientific questions. Living underwater provides time and opportunity for such study, but living underwater is not easy to do. As you consider ways scientists could live underwater, you'll need to learn about the basic needs for human life support in such an environment. After examining designs of other marine habitats, doing experiments, and participating in problem-solving activities, you will design a research habitat where ocean scientists could do their important work. Talk about an ocean view!

B06Period - 3New 2019!Toy BizWhiz

What do you think the next big toy will be? How would you like to be the one to create it?  In 2016, the total revenue of the world toy market was 88.8 billion U.S. dollars! Toys play an important role in children's physical, mental, social, and emotional development. In this fun class, you will research current successful toys, analyze their appeal, design your own toy for a specific audience, and then set up a business to sell and market it. Who better to design the next big toy than the people who play with them!

P07Period - 1New 2019!Be a Graphic Novelist

A graphic novel uses cartoon drawings to help tell a story. Like comic books, graphic novels weave entertaining drawings with a small amount of words to tell a story. The stories could be about fantasy, science fiction, history, fairy tales and myths, or even true stories about science or biographies. In this class you'll be introduced to character building, plot, and setting as you look at various graphic novels. Come strengthen your vocabulary; build your reading confidence; have fun drawing your action pictures and increase your appreciation of storytelling by creating your own graphic novel.

P11Period - 3Sleuthing Like Sherlock: Logic and Facts!

Detectives carefully gather and trace evidence to draw conclusions. Learn how to reason like a detective, gather clues and details, and unlock mysteries. Conduct experiments using detection techniques, such as ink chromatology, finger-print analysis, and use eye-witness interrogation techniques to sharpen your sleuthing skills. Solve "Who Done it?" scenarios in classroom cases to practice and enhance your logical ability to solve mysteries.

P09Period - 1New 2019!Mini-Golf Course Design: What's Your Angle?

We already know math is fun and, of course, miniature golf is also fun. Put them together and double the fun in this course. You will learn about geometry by designing your own mini-golf course! You'll learn about angles, such as acute, obtuse, and right angles. You'll also learn about lines, degrees, and two-dimensional shapes, such as polygons and quadrilaterals. Come design your part of a mini-golf course that uses your newly acquired knowledge of geometry to challenge your classmates, engage your mind, and have fun, all at the same time.

P12Period - 2Electricity and Magnetism: A Powerful Pair

Are you curious about electricity and how it powers our world? Do you wonder where the force of a magnet comes from and how strong it can be 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 your curiosity is PULLED toward experiments and activities surrounding electricity and magnetism that CHARGE up our lives. (Technology Fee: $50-Includes a kit.) Student must enroll in this course by April 1, 2019.

P14Period - 4New 2019!Funky Fungi

Do you like to eat mushrooms? How about yeast bread? If so, did you know you were eating fungi?  Not exactly a plant or an animal, fungi are important living organisms that have a classification all on their own. In this class, you'll learn how fungi grow and feed, and explore the many roles fungi play in our soil, in our kitchens, in our bodies, and even in industry. Fungi provide us with penicillin and other antibiotics, mushrooms and other foods, methods of pest control, and are ideal organisms for scientific research. Today, entrepreneurs are also finding creative ways to use fungi, such as producing sustainable packaging to reduce the need for Styrofoam™, and making biodegradable building materials. Come do your own fungi experiments and consider future uses for this fascinating kingdom of organisms. Find out if the fascinating world of mycology (the study of fungi) excites you. Get into the fungus among us!

P13Period - 3New 2019!From Superheroes to Superhumans

Superheroes continue to be a popular source of entertainment for people of all ages. But, did you know that technology is now making it possible for humans to enhance their bodies in their quest to have superhuman abilities? For example, battery-powered jet packs can help you run like The Flash, and handheld paddles can allow people to climb walls like Spider-Man. Come learn about additional technologies that are being researched and produced to help humans do things they could never do in the past. Develop your own superhero power and design a technological enhancement to increase your power to help you face challenges in your life.

E15Period - 1Speaking of Winning…What's Your Point?

Are you tired of losing arguments? What can help you 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 as you communicate, model 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.

E16Period - 2New 2019!Be Wise—Philosophize!

What makes an action right or wrong? What is more important, to be happy or to do the right thing? What does it mean to be human? If you ever think about big questions like these, you might be a budding philosopher. Philosophy is the study of knowledge, how we think, what we value, and how we are. That's a lot to think about! In this class you will engage in observing, considering, and discussing the world around you. Come pose your own big questions, increase your reasoning and logic skills, and gain an understanding of some of the great philosophical thinkers who have shaped our society and our world.

E17Period - 1New 2019!Creative Math Problem Solving Strategies

Do you know what's more important than finding the correct answer to a math problem? It's identifying the strategy that helped you solve the math problem! Develop your math problem solving ability by using mathematical reasoning strategies, creativity, and originality to arrive at clever solutions.  Critique the limitations of math problem solving strategies, while inventing new ones. Investigate logic problems, games, and math puzzles to stretch and challenge your math expertise. Unleash the math whiz within you!

E18Period - 4New 2019!Getting the Pulse on Cardiology

Did you know that the heart beats more than 2 billion times over an average lifetime to circulate blood throughout your body? What an amazing muscle! Come learn about the anatomy of the heart and how structures such as values, ventricles, arteries, veins, and blood vessels support the body's hardest-working organ. Investigate the flow of blood through the heart and explore solutions for heart disease. What factors can strengthen the health of your heart? Get a pulse on the inner workings of the heart and get involved in a heart concern that matters to you.

E19Period - 3New 2019!Ocean Crisis: Let's Clean Up Our Act!

Marine scientists estimate that over 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently litter the oceans due to humans dumping 8 million tons of plastic into the sea each year. That's 52 times the estimated number of stars in the Milky Way! Those whirlpools of junk, while killing off millions of ocean creatures, could soon cover half the planet's surface. Plastics give off chemicals that have negative effects on our health. Plastic-infected fish end on our dinner plates. What's to be done? Solutions include overhauling waste systems to keep plastics out of the seas, dredging plastic junk out of rivers and oceans, and no longer producing plastics, along with other innovative solutions. Cleaning up our oceans is a critical and highly complex problem. Come research the issues and current cleanup efforts and propose your own solutions.

E20Period - 4Code, Create, and Animate: Game Design 101

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 Scratch™. 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.) must bring a laptop and have access to an email account to participate in this course. Minimum laptop requirements:(1) A Windows 7 or later, ChromeOS, Mac OS Yosemite 10.10 or later, or Linux computer; (2) a version of Adobe Flash Player released on or after June 15, 2016; (3) a relatively recent web browser: one of the latest two versions of Chrome (Windows, ChromeOS, Mac or Linux), Firefox (Windows or Mac only), Safari (Mac only), Edge (Windows only), or Internet Explorer 11 (Windows only). If your computer doesn’t meet these requirements, you can try downloading and installing Scratch 1.4, which you can still use to share projects to the Scratch 2.0 website. For more information, please email Admissions at

J23Period - 1New 2019!Youth and the Law

Are you looking forward to getting your driver's permit? Your first car? How about your first job? You'll be fascinated to learn the many ways the law influences these important events as well as almost everything you do. What does the law say about what we and others see and do on the Internet? How about what kinds of things we buy, eat, watch on television, where we live, and what happens at school? Debate and critique these laws, generate probing questions, and analyze what current and future opportunities exist for those interested in legal matters. Come internalize what the law means for you and others!

J24Period - 4New 2019!Executive Functioning: Tools for Success

Do you ever have trouble paying attention, holding several pieces of information in your mind at once, or getting tasks completed? If so, you might need practice in developing your executive functioning skills. These skills help you focus, tune out irrelevant stimuli, hold information in your working memory, filter distractions to control your impulses, and help you to adapt to changing circumstances. Adolescence is a critical period for developing executive functioning skills like planning, time management, and organization. This class will engage you in fun ways to develop these skills, such as playing complex games that require you to hold information in your short-term memory, engaging in sports and activities that require quick decisions and attention to rules, using the arts for two-handed coordination, self-monitoring, and using brain and mind games that also challenge your working memory and cognitive flexibility. Find and develop the executive functioning tools that work best for you in helping you achieve your future goals.

J26Period - 1Algebra: Finding the X Factor

Have you ever had to adjust a cooking recipe to accommodate more guests than what the recipe was written for? When you proportionally changed the ingredients to match the servings, you were using algebra! Algebra is everywhere and used all around us. It's the foundational branch of math that explores fundamental mathematical concepts used in advanced level mathematics. Come reason with equations and inequalities, model and graph linear functions, and solve systems using polynomials and quadratic functions. Investigate real-world applications and apply your mathematical expertise to real-world problems. Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra; Student will need a standard calculator for the course (calculator feature on a mobile device is sufficient).

J29Period - 2New 2019!3, 2, 1…Blast Off Into Rocketry!

Did you know that rockets are the oldest type of engines? They were originally invented by the Chinese around year 1200. Come learn about the scientific principles of aerodynamics, center of gravity, point of balance, apogee, drag, and thrust and apply them to rocket launch experiments using household chemicals. Use geometry and math problem solving strategies to calculate altitude and speed and build a parachute recovery system for your model rocket kit launches. Take your rocketry expertise to new heights as you use rocket engineering principles to propose solutions for the future of space exploration and aeronautical technology. (Material Fee: $50-Includes rocket kit.) Student will need a standard calculator (calculator feature on a mobile device is sufficient) and a laptop to participate in this course. Minimum laptop requirements:(1) a Windows 7 or later or Mac OS Yosemite 10.10; Chromebook or tablet computers are compatible. For more information, please email Admissions at Student must enroll by April 1, 2019.

J30Period - 4Engineering in Action

Ever wonder how chemical, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineers solve real world problems? Come learn basic engineering principles surrounding the stability of structures, buoyancy, heat phenomena, and electricity. Perhaps you will use your interest in scientific and mathematical principles to design towns, factories, toys, and other products that will enhance your life in the future, or maybe you will pursue one of the many great career opportunities that abound in engineering!

J32Period - 3New 2019!Cloning: Copycat Science

Dolly, the first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell, brought science fiction to reality. Twenty-three years later, how has the miracle of Dolly advanced its heritage? The answer lies in the controversial applications of cloning technology in areas such as farming, medical science, pharmaceutical companies, and more. Explore how the science of cloning can offer solutions for human diseases through stem-cell research. Debate the legalities and ethics of cloning and the impact it has on challenges we face in society. What role can cloning, genetic modification, and genetic engineering play in solving global challenges? Propose your solution to challenging problems. Attain the previously unimaginable one gene at a time!

AR35Period - 4Theater 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)

AR36Period - 3New 2019!Mime is a Terrible Thing to Waste (ages 9-12 only)

Mime, one of the earliest forms of communication, uses the human body to express itself without using words. Throughout time, humans have used mime to express myths and traditions. Today you can use mime to gain confidence, increase self-awareness, develop expressive movement, and stimulate your imagination. Challenge yourself as you graduate from occupational mimes, to character mimes, to emotional mimes. Learn to mime solo, as well as part of a team, in dramatic and humorous ways. (Ages 9-12 only)

AR37Period - 2New 2019!Fanciful and Fun: Whimsical Art (ages 5-8 only)

Bring your carefree and youthful influence into the playful style of whimsical art. Think bright colors and imaginary worlds. Draw whimsical characters like fairies, elves, gnomes, trolls, or aliens. Examine the work of your favorite whimsical artists for inspiration. Create your own whimsical art in paintings, note cards, posters, stickers, or other products that will uplift sick people, illustrate fantasy fiction, cheer sad people, enhance personal communications, or any other goal that you have. Enjoy trying your hand at an art form that makes people happy!

AR39Period - 2New 2019!Teamwork is the Goal! (ages 9-12 only)

Are you looking for a fun outlet that helps you build confidence, good sportsmanship, and provides the exercise you need to be healthy? Look no further. Team games and activities can provide all these benefits and more. Use strategy and teamwork to make recreation enjoyable. Participate in your own field day events such as jump rope relays and obstacle courses, as well as various teambuilding activities. Enjoy working together with your peers, stimulate your mind and body in tackling the team challenge of the day. The ability to work well as a team can lead to success in business and personal aspects of life, so join in!