Summer Institute for the Gifted

Summer Institute for the Gifted

Programs for gifted and talented youth ages 5-17

Bryn Mawr College Residential Courses

E15Period - 1, 3Speaking 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 - 1, 3New 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!

E19Period - 1New 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 - 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 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

E21Period - 3, 4Civil Engineering: Infrastructures That Amaze

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 safe 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.

E22Period - 4Astronomy: The Sky's the Limit!Full, closed to further enrollment

Do you ever look up at the sky and wonder about all 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 map and find planets and stars that are light years away from Earth?" 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, this course is for you. Come expand your knowledge about related topics of interest, from astrophysics and auroras to zeniths and zodiacs. Let the skies be your guide!

J23Period - 1, 4New 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 - 2, 3New 2019!Executive Functioning: Tools for SuccessFull, closed to further enrollment

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.

J25Period - 3New 2019!The Youthful Face of Power

We are living in a changing world with uncertain futures where the only thing you can control is yourself. Have you thought about how you want to thrive in the world? Do you have the abilities you need to create the changes you want to see? In this class, you will examine how you can develop and use your personal power to make a difference. Build your strengths, confidence, and competence. Analyze examples of power that you see around you and plan how you will develop your own powerful personality. Research youth-led movements that are becoming increasingly influential in getting their messages heard. Young people can do a lot to change the world, sometimes in such simple actions as practicing sustainable habits, raising money for a cause, writing letters to public officials calling for action, or just by being kind. Come think about a cause or a concern that you would like to affect and practice ways to be the change you hope to see in your future.

J26Period - 1, 2Algebra: Finding the X FactorFull, closed to further enrollment

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).

J27Period - 4Chemistry: 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. Investigate chemical solutions to everyday challenges and unleash the chemist in you!

J28Period - 2New 2019!From Galileo to Stephen Hawking: Cosmology Reframed!Full, closed to further enrollment

Did you know that it would take us longer than we have existed as beings to reach the center of our own galaxy? How can that be! Come investigate for yourself and gain an understanding of the theories concerning the origins of the universe and try your hand at answering some of science's most complex questions. How did our universe come to be what it is today? Could the universe as we know it exist without the concepts of space and time? How credible is the Big Bang theory? Come debate, discuss, and hypothesize your own questions about the cosmos, and expand your mind about the expanding universe!

J29Period - 1, 3, 4New 2019!3, 2, 1…Blast Off Into Rocketry!Full, closed to further enrollment

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 - 1, 3Engineering in ActionFull, closed to further enrollment

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 - 1, 4New 2019!Cloning: Copycat SciencePeriod 4 full, closed to further enrollment

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!

J33Period - 3Taking Stock in Money MattersFull, closed to further enrollment

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 to discover your risk tolerance level in a stress-free way. Student must bring a laptop, standard calculator (mobile device calculator is sufficient), and have access to an email account to participate in this course. Minimum laptop requirements:(1) a Windows 7 or later or Mac OS Yosemite 10.10 operating system; Chromebook or tablet computers are compatible. For more information, please email Admissions at

J34Period - 2, 4How Do You Engineer an Idea?Period 2 full, closed to further enrollment

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, biomedical, electrical engineering, and many more, to identify principles that will help your invention become a hot commodity in our world. Leverage our technology-driven age to your benefit and combine your creative mind, engineering skills sets, and an area of need to inventioneer the next sought-after product!

M40Period - 1New 2019!Investigative Journalism: Uncovering the Truth

Do you want to change the world by simply asking why? Then investigative journalism is the path for you! Explore the process of researching and telling a story, usually one that someone is trying to hide, by diving into the principles of journalism, guidelines of the law, writing, ethics, and advanced research techniques to develop your skill as an investigative writer. Do you want to uncover corruption or draw attention to social, economic, or political issues of public interest? Learn how to discern the accuracy of evidence or story tips, develop hypotheses, decide on relevant questions, and implement a plan of investigation to uncover significant insights that are otherwise hidden. Could a Pulitzer Prize be in your future for your investigative reporting?

M41Period - 2Supreme Court Decisions: From Justice to Politics

What is it like to make legal decisions that affect millions of people? Consider the inner workings of the U.S. Supreme Court and its profound impact upon our nation and world. Learn about the current and most influential Supreme Court decisions, and the processes created to ensure legal fairness and compliance. What does it take to become a Supreme Court Justice? Who have been some of the great Supremes throughout history, and why do we consider them so? What role does politics play in their selection? What counterparts exist in legal systems in other countries? How would you change the Supreme Court if you could? Come, judge, and get your own wheels of justice turning!

M42Period - 3The Psychology of Fear

Fear is often a response to perceived physical and emotional danger. Often, fear drives decision-making and behaviors in personal, societal, economic, and political spheres of influence. Analyze the psychology behind fears and phobias to understand how they can affect your life. Take a global view at how the factor of fear has driven or controlled the course of human history. Become fearless as you examine different techniques and methods of overcoming fear to bring about changes in yourself and the world.

M44Period - 3New 2019!Aerospace Engineering: Sustainable Solutions

What lies in the future of aerospace engineering? Will we see flying cars, massive jets, sleek new fighters, or Mars-bound rockets? The truth is that the future lies in creating sustainable designs that protect our planet, from hybrid planes that use electricity to new winglet designs for fuel efficiency. The engineering is in the details! Come learn about new technologies that help reduce fuel consumption and automate production. Investigate the impact of advancements with aerospace technology in defense systems, commercial flight, and aeronautics. Take your creative ideas to develop faster, safer solutions for the world of flight and beyond!

M45Period - 1Medical Microbiology

The human body could be considered one of the last frontiers. This course is an introduction to human biology and the science of medicine that surrounds it. Medical microbiology is the branch of both medicine and microbiology, which deals with the study of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, all of which can cause diseases in humans. You'll examine the essential biochemical reactions that occur within the human body. Then, delve into the imbalances and resulting diseases that inevitably occur, as well as their treatments. Come see if you think trailblazing this fascinating frontier is for you!

M46Period - 2DNA Diagnostics

Genomics is a relatively new field of study, beginning in the past century. Genomics evolved from a series of experimental advances that allowed researchers to decipher the DNA sequence of whole genomes from virtually any organism. In this class, you will explore genetics and develop an understanding of animal genomes. With this tool, you will examine the most recent trends in genetic engineering in areas such as foods, agriculture, and human cell research. "Diagnose" the extent to which genomics will affect your life as well as the lives of others.

M49Period - 4New 2019!Cryptography: The Mathematician's Game

Did you know that encryption is closely intertwined into every part of our technological world? When you make a mobile phone call, purchase an item with a credit card, or draw out cash from an ATM, you are using an encrypted process. At its simplest form, encryption is transforming intelligible messages into a stream of ciphers, or coded text. Come learn how mathematical concepts from number theory to algorithms can help users encrypt and decrypt messages. Explore different types of encryption such as symmetric encryption, public-key cryptography, end-to-end encryption, and hybrid processes to develop keys to unscramble data. Create your very own cipher for real-world applications today! Prerequisite: Algebra I. Student must bring a standard calculator (calculator feature on a mobile device is sufficient).

M50Period - 4New 2019!Generation Z: Aspire to Inspire

Are you a force to be reckoned with? That's what social scientists have forecasted for a new generation of truly global citizens who are independent, innovative, technologically savvy, and emotionally intelligent—Generation Z! Do you want to add value to something bigger than yourself? Come use creative thinking processes to uncover new solutions to problems that concern the future of Generation Z. Mental health, rising unemployment rates, climate change, environmental degradation, a decline of natural resources, and much more are a sampling of challenges that this generation will face. Rewrite your future and join your peers as your use the spirit of innovation and cooperation to invent solutions using human ingenuity.

Visual and Performing Arts
A64Period - 3PhotoBlogging: Click, Write, PublishFull, closed to further enrollment

Travelers. Artists. Storytellers. Ordinary people. Gain an audience that is inspired by the small and big moments of life by the stories told through photography and writing. Learn how to choose a platform, domain name, theme, and content that draws your audience to the message you want to communicate. Learn how audience, message, and perspective influence your development of a photoblog. Most of all, enjoy the experience created through acquiring meaningful photographs that inspire creative thought. (Ages 13-17 only.) At Bryn Mawr College residential program, this class is open to ages 9-14.  Student must have access to a camera feature on a mobile device or bring a digital camera and 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 not compatible. For more information, please email Admissions at

A65Period - 2Graphic Design: Where Art Meets TechnologyFull, closed to further enrollment

Graphic design combines the world of art and technology to communicate and represent ideas visually. Use the basic elements and principles of art, such as contrast, color, negative space, and shape along with the use of computer programs to craft promotional pieces, publications, and digital art. Produce original layouts for newsletters, catalogues, logos, and advertisement pieces that reach an audience. Share your message through a creative collection of words, symbols, and images while using graphic design techniques to create your WOW! factor. (Technology fee: $15) Student 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 or Mac OS Yosemite 10.10; Chromebook or tablet computers are not compatible. For more information, please email Admissions at

A66Period - 1New 2019!Your Art, Your Way

Art throughout history has been used to communicate and express ideas, concepts, and emotions. This class will help you gain an appreciation for two- and three-dimensional art in historical and cultural expression, as well as in self-expression. You will experiment with a variety of media, such as pencils, paints, sculpture forms, ink, pastels, origami, etc., to explore techniques of color theory, shading, perspective, and positive and negative space. Choose your preferred medium and create an original, displayable work that expresses who you are. (Materials fee: $30)

A67Period - 4Broadway Beckons: Sing! Dance! Act!

The show will go on! Learn vocal techniques, dance and movement exercises, and character acting skills all pertaining to a selected production. The class will present a mini-musical presentation at the end of the three weeks. Some recreation hour rehearsals may be required.

A68Period - 1Producing a Short Film: Less Time, More Punch!Full, closed to further enrollment

Long before Star Wars, George Lucas directed a sci-fiction short film (1967), Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB, about a group of people living in an underground dystopia. Lucas' short film eventually served as the catalyst for his next two popular motion picture productions, American Graffiti and Star Wars.  A short film, whether animated or live action, is shorter 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. (Technology Fee: $50) Student must enroll by April 1, 2019 and bring a laptop with software installation permissions 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 not compatible. For more information, please email Admissions at

A69Period - 2New 2019!So, You Want to Be a Songwriter?

Do you enjoy making up songs? Think you can write a song better than what you hear on the radio? Here's your chance to develop your songwriting skills and express your thoughts and feelings through your melodies and lyrics. Learn about the basic elements of song structure. Record your song, plan a performance, and make a music video, as time allows. Explore various music genres to find your fit, research the business of songwriting, and experiment with technology in helping you compose. Communicate your unique messages musically.  Student must bring a laptop with software installation permissions 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 not compatible. For more information, please email Admissions at

R70Period - 1Fencing: Footwork to FoilsFull, closed to further enrollment

Fencing, the sport of aristocrats, is a great way to connect mind and body! For novices, this class will develop basic technique, form, finesse, and balance essential for success as a fencer. Refine your skills as you are paired with others of similar ability. The foil technique will emphasize a strong defense and body attack. Foils and fencing equipment are provided.

R71Period - 2Self-Defense SenseFull, closed to further enrollment

Self-defense strategies are important, not only for self-protection, but also in building physical and mental discipline. This class will help you present a commanding presence as you gain control and confidence through such strategies as awareness of your surroundings, wrist escapes, defense against body holds, and blocking. A healthy lifestyle is built on self-discipline, fitness, and goal setting-the foundations of effective self-defense!

R72Period - 3Back by Popular Demand!Just Dance

Bring your sneakers and your soul!  This class is all about having fun and feeling healthy. You'll learn the most up-to-date dance moves while you get a great aerobic workout! Learn body rolls, arm rolls, moonwalking and more! You too can create a new dance form like Zumba®, created in the 1990s, which pulls from the rhythms of merengue, salsa, cumbia, reggaetón, belly dance, flamenco, tango, and samba. Share your favorite dance moves or styles, from ballet to line dancing. Experience imaginative choreography and improve your stage presence, artistry, and musicality. Choreograph a solo or team performance. Get fit and be expressive at the same time!

R74Period - 2Arrows, Bows, and Crests: The ABCs of ArcheryFull, closed to further enrollment

The sport of legends, come and see if it is as easy as it looks to hit a target! Practice the finer points of archery on a full-sized range while you learn this time-honored sport. Bows and arrows will be provided. Offered at Bryn Mawr College Residential, Commuter, and Extended Commuter programs.

R75Period - 3Mindfulness and Meditation

How are your posture, gaze, breath, and thoughts connected to create a sense of discipline within your mind? Understand the origins of meditation and mindfulness by exploring timeless approaches of connecting the mind and body that offer a sense of stability and relaxation. Learn how to train your mind to a state of awareness with focus. Understand how the brain uses meditation exercises to reduce stress and develop a sense of tranquility.

R76Period - 4Swimming: Butterfly to FreestyleFull, closed to further enrollment (ages 9-14 at Bryn Mawr residential only)

Expert swimming instruction will be given at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. A certified swimming instructor will help you improve your swimming skills. What a great way to chill out in the summer while you're getting in shape! Bring your goggles! Offered at Bryn Mawr College Residential, Commuter, and Extended Commuter programs.

R77Period - 4New 2019!The Personal Benefits of Personal Training

We know that professional athletes spend a considerable amount of time training in gyms. But, can sports training help the rest of us too? Whether you are a seasoned athlete or a weekend dabbler, incorporating sports-related training into your fitness regimen can impact your athleticism and agility. What type of sports do you want to model your training program around? Come create customized workout programs that focus on increasing endurance, strength, speed, and balance. Explore how nutrition affects training results and create a plan that maximizes your potential. Gain confidence through new mind-body connections and increase your motivation to reach your goals. If you want to set a new personal record in your sport of choice or have an edge above the competition, this course is for you!