SIG at : Courses

Once you have chosen your campus, it is time to select your courses and customize your SIG experience. SIG is committed to fostering the recognition of each student’s unique abilities as well as providing opportunities to explore new interests. We encourage students to choose a course schedule that includes areas of passion and strength, but also allows for the exploration of new interests. Students take four classes in the four-period day. All campus courses are ninety minutes long and run for 15 sessions during the three-week program.

Tips on Choosing Courses and Making Your Schedule:

The most important thing to consider when choosing courses is to create a schedule that helps the student develop individual passions and also to pursue topics of interest. We suggest that parents with any academic questions or concerns contact the SIG office. Here are guidelines we have found helpful to students:

  • Choose two courses within an area of strength, such as science or humanities.
  • Try a course in a new area of interest!
  • Choose a course from the arts or fitness offerings.

Please Note: Personal computers are required for all M and S level students (ages 13-17), and are highly recommended for all students. Some younger age level courses require that the students have a personal computer, as noted in the course descriptions.

Students can change courses on the second academic day only if an appropriate course alternate is available.

Evening Study/Tutorial Period

SIG provides a nightly Study Period for residential and extended commuter students. This self-directed study period allows additional time to conduct research, to work on individual and group projects, and to receive academic coaching as needed.

Please Note: Not all courses run at all campuses. Students must choose alternative courses 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 courses. Our final schedule of courses is reflective of the preferences of students enrolled at that campus. Course schedule adjustments by campus occur in April. Students may transfer to another campus if there is space on the alternate campus.

Humanities
M40Period - 1, 2New 2019!Investigative Journalism: Uncovering the TruthPeriod 1 full, closed to further enrollment

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 - 1, 2, 4Supreme 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 - 3, 4The Psychology of FearPeriod 3 full, closed to further enrollment

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.

STEM
M43Period - 3, 4New 2019!Statistics: Dynamic Data!

How does a police officer know which intersections have the highest accident rate or sports recruiters know which athlete will be the best draft for the team? Statistics! Explore how to create and interpret scatterplots, display data distributions, understand study designs through samples and surveys, dabble with probability rules to account for permutations, combinations, and random occurrences with independent or dependent events. Learn how statistics impacts weather forecasts, predicting disease, medical studies, political campaigns, quality testing, the stock market, and many more aspects of our world. Apply your knowledge to research-based data sets and use mathematical analyses and predictions to forecast key information that can illuminate solutions for the future. Student must bring a standard calculator (calculator feature on a mobile device is sufficient).

M44Period - 3, 4New 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 - 1, 2, 3Medical MicrobiologyPeriods 1 and 2 full, closed to further enrollment

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 - 3, 4DNA DiagnosticsFull, closed to further enrollment

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.

M47Period - 1, 2, 3Theories of Time Travel: Spacetime Physics and Wormholes

If we could unify quantum gravity, quantum mechanics, and general relativity into one theory, physicists argue that time travel would be possible.  Journey with us through a study of black holes, negative energy, and cosmic strings as we research current theories of time travel.  Study the experiments of physicists around the world and what they have revealed about paradoxes and mutable timelines. Create your own theory of time travel based on your research.

M48Period - 1, 2New 2019!AI: Apocalypse or Utopia?Period 1 full, closed to further enrollment

Twenty years ago, the digital world we can't live without was the perfect story for science fiction. In two decades from now, what will our world look like and how will we get there? Artificial intelligence (AI) is the commodity of the future. From Siri to self-driving cars, AI will help us do more with our most valuable resource--time. Explore the world of machine learning that uses algorithms to detect cancer or suggest who should be released from jail or interviewed for a job. Forecast the future with AI in the medical, engineering, computer programming fields and work with hands-on experiences that have societal implications. Be an innovator for the future and design ways that allow AI to work with humans as a co-worker, collaborator, and trusted advisor!

M49Period - 1, 2New 2019!Cryptography: The Mathematician's GamePeriod 2 full, closed to further enrollment

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 will need a standard calculator for the course (calculator feature on a mobile device is sufficient).

Multi-Disciplinary
M50Period - 3, 4New 2019!Generation Z: Aspire to InspirePeriod 4 canceled

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.

M51Period - 1, 2, 4Social Entrepreneurship: It's Your Business!

Does it take millions of dollars to change the world? It doesn't! Act on your ethical and moral concerns by becoming a social entrepreneur. Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to our world's most pressing social, cultural, and environmental challenges. As a social entrepreneur, you will employ business, nonprofit, and hybrids models to create new streams of funding and development for issues close to your heart. How can you woo well-known philanthropists in your area to partner with your cause? You'll analyze social problems and their sources and determine how you can best strategize to address them. Develop your business acumen by gaining practice in creating proposals, business plans, letters, and memos. Learn more about ingenious and effective non-profits started by teens and others. Don't wait until you're an adult to make a difference in the world!

Humanities
S52Period - 1, 2, 4New 2019!SIG Talks: The Power of Passion and Persuasion

Come be a part of a global community and develop a platform to share your passions in an eloquent manner like the structure of TED Talks. Do you have the power to change attitudes, lives, and, ultimately the world, around you? Come engage with other inspiring thinkers and curious minds to spark a fire for the ideas and priorities you have with others. Explore the power of an idea and how the brain functions to make connections and weave in experiences to build an individual's world view. Learn about simple, quick strategies such as metaphoric language and provocative questioning to provide depth to your story. Communicate, connect, and inspire others to join your journey of building a better world.

S53Period - 1, 2, 4New 2019!Global Human Rights: The Power of ONE

What do injustice, inequality, and oppression have in common? The abuse of human rights! Engage with issues at a deep level and be a part of a social movement that has its roots that date back to colonialism. Be an activist and tackle concerning issues such as child labor, woman's rights, racism, human trafficking, infanticide, and much more. Explore the three dimensions of human rights and investigate how governing bodies interpret policy and protect disadvantaged populations. Are we doing everything we can to ensure victims are given access to freedoms? Take a critical look at current organizations that support human rights and their efforts toward victories for human kind. Advocate for a cause that can impact multitudes and showcase the power you can harness for many across the world.

S54Period - 2, 3, 4New 2019!American Foreign Policy: For One or For All?Period 4 canceled

"With great power comes great responsibility." These words, spoken by the character of Uncle Ben in the Marvel movie, Spider-Man, captures the essence of the debate that surrounds America's foreign policy across generations. What is our responsibility, if any, to the rest of the world? Learn about the historical context and explore key issues that impact the development and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. Investigate the art of diplomacy and how it facilitates actions we desire from other countries. Debate the decisions the U.S. has encountered in the past to solve challenges we face with projected policies and policymaking for the future. Explore how you can be an ambassador for your generation and tackle contemporary issues and challenges that impact our social, economic, and political landscapes in new ways.

STEM
S55Period - 1, 2, 3New 2019!The Quantastic World of Quantum MechanicsPeriod 2 full, closed to further enrollment

What phenomena allows particles kilometers apart to communicate instantaneously and make indecisive photons go two directions at once? The science of quantum mechanics! Quantum mechanics describes the ultra-microscopic world and behavior of objects such as atoms and subatomic particles that have helped create the modern world we depend on each day. The operations of semiconductor electronics, lasers, atomic clocks, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) all function based on the principles and theories of quantum physics. Come learn about Schrödinger's wave equation theory, Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the concept of spin and the Pauli exclusion principle, wave-particle duality, and how these concepts are central to many technologies we enjoy. If you like to theorize, this class is for you.

S56Period - 1, 2, 3New 2019!Calculus: Limits-less Possibilities!

Do you know what engineers use to determine the exact length of a power cable needed to connect two substations miles apart? or What biologists use to determine the exact rate of growth in a bacterial culture when different variables such as temperature and food sources are changed? Calculus! Come learn the language of engineers, scientists, and economists and explore how differential and integral calculus impact our daily lives. Understand how limits, derivatives, and integrals of functions unable mathematicians to create optimal solutions. Investigate rules used to calculate complex algorithms and apply your solutions to needs of the future. (Prerequisite: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, & Trigonometry) Student will need a graphing calculator to participate in this course; TI-83 or TI-84 is preferable.

S57Period - 3, 4New 2019!The Mathematics of FinancePeriod 3 full, closed to further enrollment

Financial mathematics is an interdisciplinary branch of applied mathematics that combines financial concepts such as banking, investments, bonds, funds, stocks, and financial derivatives with mathematical theories to facilitate optimum investment outcomes. Explore models such as stochastic optimal control, capital asset pricing model (CAPM), and the differential game method to study the markets, develop a robust portfolio, and predict pricing and investment decisions. Navigate the world of finance through statistical theory, accounting principles, and mathematical reasoning to secure your future! (Prerequisite: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, & Trigonometry) Student will need a graphing calculator to participate in this course; TI-83 or TI-84 is preferable.

S58Period - 3, 4Savvy Surgeons: Techniques and PracticeFull, closed to further enrollment

Do you have a high level of manual dexterity, good hand-eye co-ordination, or a keen sense of visual-spatial awareness? If yes, the operative environment of surgery will fascinate you. Learn about important medical/surgical breakthroughs and famous medical marvels throughout history. Investigate how the body works by participating in a range of hands-on activities, such as dissections, simulated suture practices, laparoscopic surgery simulations, and much more. Dive into a comprehensive study about a surgeon's professional roles, moral/legal/ethical responsibilities, anesthesia, incision sites, physiology of wound healing, surgical emergencies, and other relevant topics. Learn about new research and technological advances in surgery and explore fields of interest within the surgical world of medicine. (Lab fee: $50) Student must enroll in this course by April 1, 2019.

S59Period - 1, 2Biopsychology

Why do you react a certain way or feel the way you do in response to external influences? The answer may be found in biopsychology, a branch of psychology that deals specifically with how the brain and neurotransmitters act upon the body, influencing what we do, say and feel. This field leans heavily on neuroscience and includes the study of the brain, the nervous system, and neurotransmitters. Anatomy, physiology, and statistics are also essential in the study of biopsychology. Embark on a study of science and math to gain an understanding of the biological processes that stimulate your thoughts, behaviors and feelings.

S60Period - 1, 2New 2019!Dermatology: The Skin You're InCanceled

Did you know that your skin is your largest organ? That's why it's important for you to know all about dermatology-the branch of medicine that involves the medical, cosmetic, and surgical management of disorders with the skin, mucus membranes, hair, and nails. Come explore the anatomy of the skin by examining human skin cells and perform a simulated skin biopsy for a mole removal procedure. Learn about skin conditions such as acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea and how immunotherapy treatments have provided new solutions for patients. Investigate new cosmetic dermatology practices. From microdermabrasion to BOTOX® injections, learn how new trends with skin rejuvenation techniques and treatments have grown by 70 percent in popularity and what the future holds for dermatology. (Lab fee: $30) Student must enroll in this course by April 1, 2019.

S61Period - 1, 3, 4New 2019!Biochemistry: The Building Blocks of Life!Full, closed to further enrollment

Did you know that within cells, we have an incredibly diverse set of chemical reactions that are controlled and run at just the right rates to keep us all alive? How do enzymes, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, proteins, DNA, and RNA interact at the molecular level of a living cell or living being? The answer lies in the study of biochemistry, the chemistry of life. Advancement in the field of biochemistry has influenced many fields, such as pathology, where physicians understand the details of a disorder through biochemical changes that take place within the body, or how nutritionists attribute physiological alterations in the body due to the lack of biochemical reactions that are vital from minerals and vitamins. Investigate chemical bonds and reactions and experiment with food to engage in the fundamental processes of biochemistry concepts. Participate in though-provoking discussions that help dissect the science behind current issues with weight-loss drugs or outbreaks of diseases, such as Ebola or hepatitis, and consider applications of biochemistry in addressing biological concerns. (Lab fee: $30) Student must enroll in this course by April 1, 2019.

Multi-Disciplinary
S62Period - 1, 3, 4Brain Fitness: Increase Your Brain's PlasticityPeriods 1 and 3 canceled

Is your brain fit for life? Did you know that the best brain health workouts involve coordination, rhythm, and strategy? At the core of brain fitness is the concept of brain plasticity or brain reserve, which is the brain's ability to physically reorganize itself in response to the demands placed upon it. Study how physical activity, social wellness, and nutrition are key components to maintaining a strong, healthy brain throughout an individual's life span. Participate in brain training exercises that improve aspects of cognition, such as memory, attention, focus, and brain speed. Investigate and study how the knowledge of neuroscience and brain health can provide solutions and treatment methods to medical diseases that affect the brain.

S63Period - 2, 3, 4New 2019!The Clandestine World of SpyingPeriod 3 canceled

Do you know that the most highly-trained spies weren't even human? Instead, they were nonhuman operatives such as ravens, pigeons, and even cats during the Cold War era.  Now, the United States has a skilled intelligence community of up to 17 different agencies and offices which include, but certainly are not limited to, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). What does it take to be a spy? Come develop strong critical thinking and communication skills and improve your skill set with logical thinking and linguistic patterns. Learn to create code and break encrypted messages without a key. Investigate how intelligence impacts our social, economic, and political status in the world. Can a so-called Big Brother surveillance system lead us to a safer world or does it promote distrust? Work on assessing intelligence for a current global problem. Mission Possible!

Visual and Performing Arts
A64Period - 3, 4PhotoBlogging: Click, Write, Publish

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 admissions@giftedstudy.org.

A65Period - 1, 2, 3Graphic Design: Where Art Meets TechnologyPeriod 3 full, closed to further enrollment; Period 2 canceled

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 admissions@giftedstudy.org.

A66Period - 1, 2New 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 - 1, 2Producing a Short Film: Less Time, More Punch!Period 1 full, closed to further enrollment; Period 2 canceled

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 admissions@giftedstudy.org.

A69Period - 3, 4New 2019!So, You Want to Be a Songwriter?Period 4 canceled

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 admissions@giftedstudy.org.

Recreation
R70Period - 1, 2, 3Fencing: Footwork to FoilsPeriod 2 canceled

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 - 3, 4Self-Defense Sense

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 - 2Back 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!

R75Period - 3, 4Mindfulness and MeditationPeriod 3 canceled

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.

R77Period - 1, 2New 2019!The Personal Benefits of Personal TrainingPeriod 1 canceled

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!

* Final schedule of course offerings may vary by campus. All courses in this catalog, unless otherwise stated, are the property of the National Society for the Gifted and Talented. Copyright and other intellectual property laws protect these materials. Reproduction or retransmission of the materials, in whole or in part, in any manner, without the prior written consent of the copyright holder, is a violation of copyright law.


Academic Performance / Evaluations

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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