Steam summer workshops for elementary, middle & high school

SALLY RIDE SCIENCE JUNIOR ACADEMY

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF STEM EDUCATION

The Sally Ride Science Junior Academy summer program offers science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) workshops for students entering 3rd-12th grade. During these workshops, students assume the roles of space explorer, marine biologist, computer programmer and more as they immerse themselves in hands-on projects. Top-notch STEAM instructors lead these workshops, serving as both teachers and role models. These summer workshops also incorporate real-life stories of vibrant women conducting research in each field. Their examples inspire students and help make STEAM careers more accessible.

During this trying time, UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your goals. In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have moved this summer’s Sally Ride Science Junior Academy workshops online. These online STEAM workshops will be conducted through virtual class meetings using the Zoom conferencing system and the learning platform Canvas.

Summer 2022 schedule coming soon!

2021 Junior Academy Summer Workshop Schedule

Elementary school: 3rd-5th grade.
AM sessions run 9am-12pm, but the official class runs from 9:30-11am. 9-9:30am and 11am-12pm are office hours for students to attend for additional support and resources.
PM sessions run 1-4pm, but the official class runs 1:30-3pm. 1-1:30pm and 3-4pm are office hours for students to attend for additional support and resources.
All times are in Pacific Standard Time.

Session 1: 7/12/21 – 7/16/21

Session 2: 7/19/21 – 7/23/21

Session 3: 7/26/21 – 7/30/21

2021 Junior Academy Summer Workshop Descriptions

Elementary School Level Workshops

  • New! Being Nemo: Marine biology will come alive as aspiring oceanographers view the world from the perspective of sea creatures great and small and discover how these animals survive in their varied habitats. Students will take on the roles of a series of ocean dwellers: a clownfish exploring a coral reef, a leopard shark in shallow waters, a sea star in a tide pool, a gray whale migrating the Pacific and a sea otter in a kelp forest. Class members will experience what these animals see and hear and explore how easy (or difficult) it is for them to live and thrive. To highlight what they have learned, students will create stop-motion videos to share on the last day of class. Being Nemo offers a great way to spark students’ interest in learning more about marine biology.
  • New! Creative Programming Using Scratch: Are you a fan of games like Minecraft, Roblox and Animal Crossing? Learn to use block coding in the Scratch programming language to create your own games. As they learn to use Scratch, students will develop their computational thinking skills while exploring their personal interests. We will cover concepts such as sequences, loops, parallelism and events. Students will practice creating interactive games and animated movies using block coding. They will discover that they can be designers and creators instead of just consumers of technology. No prior programming experience is necessary – bring only your imagination.
  • New! Deep-Space Base Building: Building a base to sustain human explorers in space or on another planet is the next frontier in space exploration. Research what it takes to support human life and then design your own space base. Students will get an introduction to space environmental research as they learn about the conditions in space and the different types of planets. They will also research the technology that is currently available to keep humans alive in space. Then students will design a base for explorers in space or on another planet. Students will have the option of learning to use the open-source program Blender to create a 3D representation of their base. In addition to learning about space exploration, students will acquire basic-research skills, including identifying authoritative materials, using different search methods and conducting database research.
  • New! Exploring the Science of Harry Potter: One reason the magic in the world of Harry Potter is so compelling is that some of it has a basis in real-world science. Explore how scientific fields like genetics, chemistry, botany and zoology are reflected in the Harry Potter books and movies. Students will explore the science of Harry Potter through video clips, presentations, discussions and group work. We will discuss the evidence of genetics, such as red hair among the Weasleys and Hagrid’s size, inherited from his giantess mother. We will look at the fantastic beasts in the books and consider which are most realistic and how the use of science realism makes the impossible seem plausible. Students will consider the science behind Hogwarts’ Potions class and do a chemistry experiment. They will Identify herbs used in Herbology class and learn about their attributes and medical applications. Students will enjoy this class most if they have read at least one Harry Potter book or seen at least one of the movies, although prior knowledge is not required.
  • New! Gemology: Gems and rocks have had a significant role in various cultures throughout history. Learn to identify local gems and rocks while studying their importance in history, art and traditions. Students will get an introduction to gems and will practice techniques for identifying common southwestern rocks and gems. We will explore and discuss the roles gems have played in different cultures over time. We will also investigate rocks and gems through a variety of activities, including opening geodes, polishing rocks, and making art and jewelry using gemstones. Students will also learn about the roles rocks play in ecosystems and conservation efforts. The class provides an engaging introduction for students interested in pursuing further studies in geology and other Earth sciences.
  • History of Space, Astronauts and Technology: The history of space exploration is filled with ingenuity and inspiration. This class sparks interest in science, engineering and adventure by tracing that history and then letting students put their new knowledge to work as they plan their own space mission. Students will learn about NASA’s beginnings and follow the stories of trailblazing astronauts, including Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. They will look at how technologies developed for the space program have transformed our lives on Earth. The class will also survey conditions on other planets and look ahead to future missions. Students will apply what they have learned as they create a model of a habitat to support human life on Mars and plan a mission to transport their habitat to the Red Planet.
  • New! Improv & Acting Games: Improvisation, or improv, is a form of unscripted theater where performers create scenes spontaneously, often with hilarious results. Explore improv by performing improvised scenes and discover how improv is used in different types of performance. Students will get comfortable with improvisation as they perform a variety of spontaneous scenes. They will discover how to incorporate props, locations and characters into their scene creation. We will play acting games to strengthen students’ confidence and ability to think on their feet. Students will also learn how to use improv in auditions. The class will prepare students to take the next steps into the comic, creative world of improv.
  • New! Intermediate Website Design Using HTML and CSS: Knowing how to design an effective website is a valuable skill for careers and for personal projects. Learn to use HTML, CSS and website design best practices to create effective business and personal websites. In this intermediate-level class, we will focus on front-end web development. Students will design a website for a business, a personal blog, a charity or some other purpose. They will use HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, GitHub and a text editor to code a website that will attract their target audience and incorporate different design elements. Students will learn basic HTML, CSS and website design concepts and identify how color, font and layout can be used for specific purposes in different kinds of websites. For their final project, they will create a live website hosted by GitHub on a topic of their choice. This course is designed for students who have some experience with website design and coding.
  • New! Intermediate Website Design Using HTML and CSS (conducted in Mandarin Chinese): Knowing how to design an effective website is a valuable skill for careers and for personal projects. Learn to use HTML, CSS and website design best practices to create effective business and personal websites. In this intermediate-level class, we will focus on front-end web development. Students will design a website for a business, a personal blog, a charity or some other purpose. They will use HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, GitHub and a text editor to code a website that will attract their target audience and incorporate different design elements. Students will learn basic HTML, CSS and website design concepts and identify how color, font and layout can be used for specific purposes in different kinds of websites. For their final project, they will create a live website hosted by GitHub on a topic of their choice. This course is designed for students who have some experience with website design and coding.
  • New! Introduction to Python Programming: Game On!: Join us for an Introduction to Python, a powerful general-purpose programming language. Learn basic computer science concepts as you use Python to create your own games. As students learn to write code using Python, they will become familiar with concepts that apply to other coding languages, including variables, looping and condition statements. Students will consider what makes a good and then apply what they have learned by using Python to create simple games. They will practice debugging their code, and then they will share their games with classmates. The class is designed to be fun as well as informative.
  • New! Lights, Camera, Acting!: If you dream of making it as an actor, this course is the place to start. This acting boot camp offers an illuminating introduction to the many realms of the performing arts world. Each day, students will tackle a different kind of acting. They will put on their dancing shoes to try out musical theater. They will explore stage acting, including some beginning Shakespeare. They will spend time investigating film and TV acting as well as acting for commercials. In addition, students will find out what a professional audition is like and learn how to do one successfully. The class offers a great way for students intrigued by the performing arts to discover where their strengths and interests lie.
  • Messy Discoveries: Ready to get messy in the name of science? We will design things, test things, throw things and stomp on things while exploring fascinating phenomena in Earth science. Students will conduct messy and noisy experiments as they investigate glaciers, volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, permafrost, sea-level rise and tsunamis. We will make slime-like “flubber” to model glacier movement and create a landscape in a box to simulate the destructive power of earthquakes and tsunamis. Students will also observe lava flow in a volcano fueled by baking soda and vinegar. These and other fun, hands-on experiments provide an engaging introduction to geology, seismology, oceanography and other branches of Earth science.
  • Programming using JavaScript: If you’re looking to prepare for the high-tech jobs of the future, JavaScript is a great place to start. This popular programming language is the backbone of web development. Learning JavaScript gives you the power to create and control dynamic website content. Students in this course will get a hands-on introduction to JavaScript through group problem-solving projects and daily individual coding practice. They will learn JavaScript syntax and use the developer tools of Mozilla Firefox to explore basic coding concepts such as variables, user input, loops and functions. The class is suitable for students with little or no coding experience. They will gain a base of knowledge to build on as they move ahead in their programming studies.
  • Ready, Set, Create: A Maker Space Lab: A maker space is a place where people get together to tinker, ponder and create. In our Makerspace Lab, students will tackle a variety of engineering challenges and develop their own innovation or invention. Using a variety of everyday materials, students will take on challenges such as “create a fall-proof skateboard” or “create an all-weather hat.” Art, science and engineering will come into play as students develop innovative solutions. As a final project, students will come up with an innovation or invention of their own. They will gain experience in product design, technical writing and art design as they develop their creations. Then they will present their inventions to a panel of classmates in a format similar to the television show “Shark Tank.”
  • Slimy Sea Creatures: Invertebrates like octopuses, jellyfish and squid have fascinating adaptations for life in their ocean ecosystems. Take on the role of a marine biologist as you learn about how slimy sea creatures survive and thrive. Students will observe sea stars, sand dollars and moon snails, to name a few. They will watch a squid dissection while learning about the anatomical structures of invertebrates. We will investigate the secret of how octopuses change color and how pearls are made. Students will also consider what kind of invertebrate they would like to be. They will test their knowledge by playing a game that rewards those with the best mastery of vocabulary from the class. Each student will create artwork using seashells and other materials from Mother Earth. Slimy Sea Creatures offers a great way to inspire students to pursue further studies in marine biology.
  • Space Out!: The lure of space exploration offers a powerful way to ignite students’ interest in science, technology and engineering. This class guides students on a tour of our solar system and beyond, and then lets them plan their own mission to a distant destination. We will start by exploring our own planet and considering what we can observe about Earth from space. We will survey other planets in our solar system and discuss what we need to know about a planet before we go there. Students will learn about “galaxies far, far away” and get a sense of just how vast distances in space are. They will consider what we know about Earth-like planets around other Suns and imagine what form life might take there. Inspired by what they learn, students will plan their own exploratory mission to another planet and create a model of a spacecraft that could take them there. The class provides a base of knowledge to build on as students move ahead with studies in astronomy, Earth science, engineering and more.
  • Trash to Treasures: We all know it’s important to recycle so we can slow the flow of trash into overstuffed landfills. Now discover how to put a creative spin on recycling by upcycling trash – turning it into treasures such as art pieces or useful objects. We will explore how trash can be transformed using different techniques and art mediums. But first students will consider how much waste they produce and talk about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling in their daily lives. They will learn the difference between recycling and upcycling and then brainstorm ways to create artistic, useful and valuable products from discarded objects. As they work on upcycling projects, students will be encouraged to take creative risks and cultivate imagination, persistence and collaboration. The class will help students appreciate that they have an important role to play in protecting our planet.

Junior academy parent student handbook

2021 Parent Student Handbook


2021 Junior Academy Scholarship Application

*Submission deadline for consideration is June 24, 2021. Limited to one scholarship for one workshop per student.


2021 Junior Academy Authorizaton Form


BOOKS BY SALLY & TAM