Steam summer workshops for elementary, middle & high school

SALLY RIDE SCIENCE JUNIOR ACADEMY

The Sally Ride Science Junior Academy summer program offers science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) workshops for students entering 4th-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.

Location: All summer workshops listed below will take place at University City Center - 6256 Greenwich Drive, San Diego, CA 92122

 

Note: Sally Ride Science Junior Academy at UC San Diego Extension has recently partnered with Southwestern College to provide STEAM workshop opportunities to students all over San Diego and surrounding communities. To register for workshops at Southwestern College, click here.

2020 Junior Academy Summer Workshop Schedule

Elementary school: 4-5th grade

Session 1: 6/29/20 – 7/2/20

 
Class Title AM Session 9am – 12pm PM Session 1:00pm – 4:00pm
New! Intro to 3D Modeling With Blender
New! Intro to Circuits and Makey-Makey
New! Intro to Space Out!
New! Intro to Trash to Treasures: Upcycling at its Best
Messy Science

Session 2: 7/6/20 – 7/10/20

Class Title AM Session 9am – 12pm PM Session 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Astrobiology
Cooking With Kids: Edible Science
New! Fairy Gardens and Botany
Python: Exploring the Web

Session 3: 7/13/20 – 7/17/20

Class Title AM Session 9am – 12pm PM Session 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Math and Murals
Ready, Set, Create: Maker Space Lab
Slimy Sea Creatures
Tiny Houses

Session 4: 7/20/20 – 7/24/20

Class Title AM Session 9am – 12pm PM Session 1:00pm – 4:00pm
New! Being Nemo: A Fisheye View of the Ocean
Circuits and Makey-Makey
Slimy Sea Creatures
Tiny Houses

Lunch note: There will be a 60-minute supervised lunch break from 12-1pm for students participating in both AM and PM workshops. You will need to enroll your student in the 60-minute lunch break. There is no fee for this. Please bring a nonperishable lunch and beverage each day.

Middle school: 6-8th grade

Session 1: 6/29/20 – 7/2/20

Session 2: 7/6/20 – 7/10/20

Class Title AM Session 9am – 12pm PM Session 1pm – 4pm
Android App Design
Astrobiology
Circuits and Makey-Makey
Crafts and Relaxation
Raspberry Pi
Wonderful World of Waves

Session 3: 7/13/20 – 7/17/20

Session 4: 7/20/20 – 7/24/20

Class Title AM Session 9am – 12pm PM Session 1pm – 4pm
Filmmaking
New! Programming Using JavaScript
New! Psyched about Psychology
Ready, Set, Create: Maker Space Lab

Lunch note: There will be a 60-minute supervised lunch break from 12-1pm for students participating in both AM and PM workshops. You will need to enroll your student in the 60-minute lunch break. There is no fee for this. Please bring a nonperishable lunch and beverage each day.

High school: 9-12th grade

Session 1: 6/29/20 – 7/2/20

Session 2: 7/6/20 – 7/10/20

Session 3: 7/13/20 – 7/17/20

Class Title AM Session 9am – 12pm PM Session 1pm – 4pm
Filmmaking
New! iOS Programming
New! Leadership in the Digital Age
New! Robotics With JavaScript
New! Your Brain and Body on Nature

Session 4: 7/20/20 – 7/24/20

 
Class Title AM Session 9am – 12pm PM Session 1pm – 4pm
New! Finding Your Passion and Purpose
New! History of Space, Astronauts and Technology
New! iOS Programming
Rube Goldberg
New! The Practice of Self-Care in a Fast Paced World

Lunch note: There will be a 60-minute supervised lunch break from 12-1pm for students participating in both AM and PM workshops. You will need to enroll your student in the 60-minute lunch break. There is no fee for this. Please bring a nonperishable lunch and beverage each day.

 

Session 3: 7/13/20-7/17/20

Class Title AM Session 9am – 12pm PM Session 1pm – 4pm
New! Wellness in the Digital Age

To accommodate parents’ busy schedules, the Junior Academy offers early drop-off and late pick-up of students during all four weeks of the program.
Parents have the option to sign up for early drop-off and late pick-up of students during each week of the program.

Week (session) Early Drop-Off
8am - 9am
Late Pick-Up
3:30pm - 5pm
Week 1: 6/29/20 - 7/2/20 Early Drop-Off Late Pick-Up
Week 2: 7/6/20 - 710/20 Early Drop-Off Late Pick-Up
Week 3: 713/20 - 7/17/20 Early Drop-Off Late Pick-Up
Week 4: 7/20/20 - 7/24/20 Early Drop-Off Late Pick-Up
STEP ONE: Create a student account

Please take a moment to create an account in the student's name. Proceed to Step Two if you have created an account previously.

STEP TWO: Select the course level tab

Select the course level tab to view the course offerings by session.

STEP THREE: Select your course(s)

Select the courses of your choice from the course level tabs and click on the hyperlinked course titles (a new browser tab will open).

STEP FOUR: Add course offering to shopping cart

You will be directed to the UCSD Extension course landing page. Click "Add to cart" to add course offering to your shopping cart.

STEP Five: Repeat as needed

Return to the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy page and repeat as needed.

For additional information contact: 858-534-0804 and srs@ucsd.edu

2020 Junior Academy Summer Workshop Descriptions

Elementary School Level Workshops

  • Astrobiology: If there is life beyond our planet, what does it look like? Astrobiologists explore that question in part by looking at how organisms have evolved to live in the most extreme environments on Earth. We will survey locations on Earth where conditions approach the limits of survival – places like Antarctica’s ancient red waterfall, the deadly Crystal Caves in Mexico and the Challenger Deep. Students will learn about adaptations that allow organisms to live in these harsh environments. They will get an introduction to microscopy and examine extremophile microbes such as diatoms, tardigrades and nematodes. We will also look at conditions on some of the potentially habitable planets that astronomers have discovered. Students will design a planet that could sustain life and plan an astrobiology mission to Mars.
  • New! Being Nemo: A Fisheye View of the Ocean: 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 role 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.
  • Circuits and Makey Makey: Understanding electronics is a key to many of the careers of the future. Get a fun, hands-on introduction to electronic components by creating crazy circuits combining Makey Makey circuit boards with everything from fruits and vegetables to Play-Doh and coins. We will begin by looking at different kinds of circuits and how we use them in everyday life. Students will learn to recognize and use the symbols found in electrical diagrams. They will experiment with switches, conductors and insulators as they build a simple electric motor. Students will also design and build a working game controller out of paper or cardboard. Then they will use Makey Makey circuit boards as a base for a video game project. We will also take a look at careers such as electrical engineering to inspire students to continue with studies in the field.
  • Cooking with Kids: Edible Science: Knowing how to cook healthy meals is a key life skill that will pay dividends for decades to come. Learn about nutrition, ingredient labels and food science as you experiment with cooking techniques from around the world. Students will use their prior knowledge of mathematics for measuring and mixing ingredients as they learn the basics of cooking. We will explore recipes from around the world and connect different cultures to different cooking styles. Students will learn about good nutrition and choosing ingredients. Through science experiments, we will uncover hidden and harmful ingredients in different foods and learn the importance of reading labels on packaged foods. At the end of this course, students will be able to make simple, healthy meals for themselves.
  • New! Fairy Gardens and Botany: A fairy garden is a whimsical miniature garden complete with tiny structures and actual living plants. Now you can learn a sprinkling of botany as you create your own fairy garden using native San Diego succulents. In this dreamy and whimsical workshop, each student will create a personalized fairy garden to take home. Along the way, they will learn some botany basics, including plant physiology, structure and distribution. We will look at how fairy tales can be represented through the layout of a fairy garden. Students will learn how to propagate succulents native to San Diego and then use them in their fairy gardens. They will be able to apply what they learn to grow succulents in their own backyard gardens.
  • New! Intro to 3D Modeling With Blender: 3D modeling is a fast-developing technology with applications in many fields and careers. Use the open-source program Blender to explore the potential of 3D modeling and printing. We will start with an introduction to Blender, an extremely powerful tool for 3D modeling. Students will learn how to use Blender for computer-aided design projects such as 3D printing, tool making and architectural modeling. They will practice re-creating chess pieces in a physical and a digital environment. Students will also learn the basics of environmental design for video games. The class offers a good starting point for moving on to more advanced 3D modeling skills.
  • New! Intro to Circuits and Makey Makey: Understanding electronics is a key to many of the careers of the future. Get a fun, hands-on introduction to electronic components by creating crazy circuits combining Makey Makey circuit boards with everything from fruits and vegetables to Play-Doh and coins. We will begin by looking at different kinds of circuits and how we use them in everyday life. Students will learn to recognize and use the symbols found in electrical diagrams. They will experiment with switches, conductors and insulators as they build a simple electric motor. Students will also design and build a working game controller out of paper or cardboard. Then they will use Makey Makey circuit boards as a base for a video game project. We will also take a look at careers such as electrical engineering to inspire students to continue with studies in the field.
  • New! 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.
  • New! Intro to Trash to Treasures: Upcycling at its Best: We all know it’s important to recycle to slow the flow of trash into overstuffed landfills. Now discover how to put a creative spin on recycling by “upcycling” – turning trash 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 discuss 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 materials. As they work on individual and group upcycling projects, students will be encouraged to take creative risks and cultivate imagination, persistence and collaboration. The class will help students understand that they have an important role to play in protecting our planet.
  • Math & Murals: Colorful murals can really brighten public spaces and urban landscapes. Learn how to use math and materials science – plus artistic inspiration – to design and execute large-scale murals. Students will investigate how various types of paint adhere to different surfaces and will become efficient at calculating the needed materials and costs to complete murals. Then they will work either individually or in groups to create a sample mural. We will discuss how to get permission and permits for final mural placement. Topics will also include funding and grants and how to use technology to enhance designs. Students will discover the value of merging math and science with creativity to produce successful projects.
  • New! Messy Science: 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.
  • Python: Exploring the Web: A basic understanding of how the internet works is a valuable tool in many of today’s high-tech careers. Explore the intricacies of the web and then use Python to program simple apps for internet communication. Students will examine the technology behind the World Wide Web. Then they will get an introduction to the syntax of the Python programming language and the basics of code documentation. Students will use Python to create a variety of small applications that utilize communications over the internet. In building these applications, they will discover how to use existing network systems to make powerful programs. The class is most suited for students with beginning to intermediate experience in a coding language.
  • Ready, Set, Create: A Maker Space Lab: A Maker Space is a place where people get together to tinker, ponder and create. In our Maker Space 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 marine biologist as we conduct a hands-on investigation of slimy sea creatures. Students will observe and touch sea stars, sand dollars and moon snails, to name a few. They will watch a squid dissection and write their names in squid ink while learning about 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 to take home 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.
  • Tiny Houses: The tiny-house movement is sweeping the country! Explore how and why people are building houses that take up a fraction of the space of a typical home, and then create your own tiny-house model. Students will learn about architecture, social responsibility and community as they envision and design their own tiny houses. They will use clay and found materials to build scale models of their houses. We will explore concepts including sustainability, functionality and how to incorporate natural light into the house design. Students will practice math skills as they scale their models and workforce skills as they complete their projects within time constraints. To refine their communication skills, students will present their tiny houses to the class. The course offers an inspiring introduction for students interested in architecture and sustainable design.

Middle School Level Workshops

  • Android App Design: Android dominates the mobile device market, and Android app design skills are in high demand among tech industry employers. Learn to use MIT App Inventor to create a variety of simple Android apps. Students will learn the basics of Android app design and event-driven programming. Together we will create app background screens and then add elements such as pictures, drawing canvases and buttons. Students will get familiar with MIT App Inventor as they design a variety of simple games and utility apps. We will also learn how to incorporate events so app users can interact with different elements. For a final project, students will work in groups to design and test their own mobile apps. All equipment will be provided, and no prior computer experience is required.
  • Astrobiology: If there is life beyond our planet, what does it look like? Astrobiologists explore that question in part by looking at how organisms have evolved to live in the most extreme environments on Earth. We will survey locations on Earth where conditions approach the limits of survival – places like Antarctica’s ancient red waterfall, the deadly Crystal Caves in Mexico and the Challenger Deep. Students will learn about adaptations that allow organisms to live in these harsh environments. They will get an introduction to microscopy and examine extremophile microbes such as diatoms, tardigrades and nematodes. We will also look at conditions on some of the potentially habitable planets that astronomers have discovered. Students will design a planet that could sustain life and plan an astrobiology mission to Mars.
  • Circuits and Makey Makey: Understanding electronics is a key to many of the careers of the future. Get a fun, hands-on introduction to electronic components by creating crazy circuits combining Makey Makey circuit boards with everything from fruits and vegetables to Play-Doh and coins. We will begin by looking at different kinds of circuits and how we use them in everyday life. Students will learn to recognize and use the symbols found in electrical diagrams. They will experiment with switches, conductors and insulators as they build a simple electric motor. Students will also design and build a working game controller out of paper or cardboard. Then they will use Makey Makey circuit boards as a base for a video game project. We will also take a look at careers such as electrical engineering to inspire students to continue with studies in the field.
  • Crafts and Relaxation: Feeling the effects of too much schoolwork or screen time? Join us to relax and unwind by exploring and creating crafts projects from different cultures. We will take a look at the roles that crafts have played throughout history and in various cultures. We will also discuss the purposes of crafts in the modern world, including relaxation, artistic expression and communication. Then students will learn techniques and practice skills needed for various crafts. They will take on independent projects using fibers, textiles and mixed media. The class will help students develop fine tactile skills and discover leisure activities that can help them reduce stress for years to come.
  • Filmmaking: Filmmaking is a powerful vehicle for making sense of our lives and sharing the stories we want to tell. Learn the skills you need, from scripting and storyboarding to editing and audio, to express your point of view through creation of short films. We will start with an introduction to film theory and move on to the basics of video production, including composition, editing and audio. Students will consider the role stories play in our everyday lives and think about the stories they want to tell. Then, working in groups, students will storyboard, script, film and edit their own short films. Group members will switch roles throughout the week to gain exposure to various facets of filmmaking. We will watch rough cuts of each other’s work and offer constructive critiques. In addition to producing their own videos, students will watch and discuss a variety of short films.
  • New! How to Train Your Demogorgon: The (Pseudo) Science of Stranger Things: Grab a box of Eggos and join us for a brief transdisciplinary tour of 1980s Hawkins, Indiana, as we delve into the (pseudo) science of the popular Netflix series Stranger Things. We will explore the biology and chemistry of the Upside Down and look at parallels in real-world science.
  • New! Intro to Back-End Web Development: Knowing how to manage a website from hardware to software is a crucial skill for tech careers and for operating your own website. This class covers the final stage of web development, managing the equipment that runs a website. Students will discover how the internet works from equipment to website. Then they will learn to create and manage a LAMP server, an open-source technology stack. Students will get an introduction to HTML and to the Linex/Ubuntu operating system. We will also cover basic website security. The class requires a Raspberry Pi computer board or an old computer system that is no longer in use so students can remove and erase the operating system.
  • New! Intro to Circuits and Makey Makey: Understanding electronics is a key to many of the careers of the future. Get a fun, hands-on introduction to electronic components by creating crazy circuits combining Makey Makey circuit boards with everything from fruits and vegetables to Play-Doh and coins. We will begin by looking at different kinds of circuits and how we use them in everyday life. Students will learn to recognize and use the symbols found in electrical diagrams. They will experiment with switches, conductors and insulators as they build a simple electric motor. Students will also design and build a working game controller out of paper or cardboard. Then they will use Makey Makey circuit boards as a base for a video game project. We will also take a look at careers such as electrical engineering to inspire students to continue with studies in the field.
  • New! Intro to Filmmaking: Filmmaking is a powerful vehicle for making sense of our lives and sharing the stories we want to tell. Learn the skills you need, from scripting and storyboarding to editing and audio, to express your point of view through creation of short films. We will start with an introduction to film theory and move on to the basics of video production, including composition, editing and audio. Students will consider the role stories play in our everyday lives and think about the stories they want to tell. Then, working in groups, students will storyboard, script, film and edit their own short films. Group members will switch roles throughout the week to gain exposure to various facets of filmmaking. We will watch rough cuts of each other’s work and offer constructive critiques. In addition to producing their own videos, students will watch and discuss a variety of short films.
  • New! Intro to iOS Programming: If you want to create apps for the iPhone, iPad or other Apple devices, it’s essential to learn the Swift programming language. Get an introduction to this powerful and intuitive language and use it to code simple iOS apps. Students will learn the fundamentals of Swift and then develop iOS apps using the Xcode development environment on the Macintosh. They will discover that writing code in Swift is interactive and fun. We will cover topics including functions, data structures, enumerations, classes and closures. Students will also explore object-oriented programming and design of user interfaces for Apple devices. The course provides a good jumping off point for students who want to move on to more advanced programming and app development studies.
  • New! Intro to Virtual Exploration & Design for a Sustainable World: Get a global introduction to sustainable design by using Google Maps and Google Earth as tools for virtual exploration. Analyze sites of past settlements and come up with your own design for a sustainable dwelling or community of the future. Students will gain a deeper understanding of geography, world history and sustainable design as they explore world regions. We will examine historical sites and consider why those sites were successful. After analyzing several case studies, students will learn basic concepts of sustainable design and then sketch a house of the future for a specific site using their new perspective. They will present their sustainable designs to classmates and explain their justifications for specific elements. The class is aimed at students interested in maps, geography, history, natural environments, and sustainable architecture and design.
  • New! Intro to Indonesian Gamelan: Step into another time and place by learning to play and appreciate the ancient music of the Indonesian Gamelan, a traditional ensemble made up mostly of bronze instruments played with mallets. Students will learn to play these instruments from West Java and to perform musical pieces as an ensemble. Gamelan music, long associated with royalty, typically accompanies traditional dance, puppet shows and important events in court life. In addition to learning to play the instruments, we will explore cultural concepts and history surrounding Gamelan. The class will conclude with a performance that friends and family are invited to attend.
  • Living Structures: Walking Beasts: It walks as if possessed by a mind of its own – no motor, no gas, no batteries, just a series of lurching dance steps along the boundaries of reality and imagination. It’s called a walking beast, and in this class, students will study, design and build this fascinating contraption and then set it in motion. We will spend the early part of the week exploring the mechanics of these machines and building the basic parts. Then we begin the assembly. Finally, we will decorate the beast and set it loose with the help of a leaf blower. Concepts we will cover include engineering, wind power, gravity, frictional rotation and structural integrity. Together we will explore how artistic creativity can drive scientific design and vice versa.
  • New! Messy Science: 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.
  • New! Programming Using JavaScript: If you’re looking to prepare for the high-tech jobs of the future, JavaScript is a great way 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.
  • New! Psyched about Psychology: Take on the role of psychologist to unravel the mysteries of human behavior during this fascinating overview of the field of psychology. Through group projects and hands-on activities, we will explore dreams, personality, memory, brain anatomy and other central topics in the field. Students will make and analyze their own inkblots, build and label clay brains, create optical illusions and keep dream journals. We will learn about the different branches of psychology and also explore the theories of Freud, Maslow and other influential figures. The course will give students a good base of knowledge to move on in the study of psychology and to begin thinking about careers in the field.
  • Python: Exploring the Web: A basic understanding of how the internet works is a valuable tool in many today’s high-tech careers. Explore the intricacies of the web and then use Python to program simple apps for internet communication. Students will examine the technology behind the World Wide Web. Then they will get an introduction to the syntax of the Python programming language and the basics of code documentation. Students will use Python to create a variety of small applications that utilize communications over the internet. In building these applications, they will discover how to use existing network systems to make powerful programs. The class is most suited for students with beginning to intermediate experience in a coding language.
  • Raspberry Pi Projects: Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer board that plugs into a monitor and allows people anywhere to explore computing. Learn to use Python scripting to code a variety of fun apps with this powerful little device. Students will get an introduction to the Raspberry Pi Model B motherboard and then will use the device with computer accessories to build real-world applications. Projects will include a dimmer switch, intruder alarm with camera, drum set and visual games. Students will learn the basics of Python scripting and will also learn about electronic components such as resistors, LEDs and rotary potentiometers. The class will give students a foundation to move on to more advanced app design 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 Maker Space 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.”
  • Screenwriting: If you dream of making it as a screenwriter, this course is the place to start. Learn proven techniques for crafting a script that tells a story effectively and holds the attention of your audience. We will dissect scripts from popular films to find out what makes a good story and an engaging screenplay. Using the free platform Writer’s Duet, students will learn the accepted way to format a script. They will also gain an understanding of how to structure a screenplay and construct scenes with compelling characters, settings, dialogue and conflict. Through a variety of writing activities, students will sharpen their screenwriting skills. Finally, they will bring together everything they have learned as they storyboard, write and edit their own scripts.
  • Wonderful Waves: Knowing how waves work is a key to understanding many aspects of the natural world. Dive into the fascinating world of water waves and light waves through hands-on experiments and fun craft projects. Students will explore the science of ocean waves, currents and tsunamis. We will investigate how sand is formed by waves and use microscopes to examine sand from beaches around the world. Students will learn how light waves travel and which color of light travels farthest. Class members will put their new knowledge to work in a variety of art projects, including creating wave paintings with watercolors and salt, and building a miniature surfboard from balsa wood. The class will give students a basis of knowledge for further studies in physics and oceanography.

High School Level Workshops

  • Filmmaking: Filmmaking is a powerful vehicle for making sense of our lives and sharing the stories we want to tell. Learn the skills you need, from scripting and storyboarding to editing and audio, to express your point of view through creation of short films. We will start with an introduction to film theory and move on to the basics of video production, including composition, editing and audio. Students will consider the role stories play in our everyday lives and think about the stories they want to tell. Then, working in groups, students will storyboard, script, film and edit their own short films. Group members will switch roles throughout the week to gain exposure to various facets of filmmaking. We will watch rough cuts of each other’s work and offer constructive critiques. In addition to producing their own videos, students will watch and discuss a variety of short films.
  • New! Finding Your Passion and Purpose: Time and attention are limited resources. Learn to cut through the noise and create space for reflection, curiosity and self-exploration as you rediscover what you want from life. In today’s attention economy, we seem to be doing more but achieving less. Everyone and everything are vying for our attention and making us feel busier than ever before. How we spend our time and where we focus our attention are choices we make every day, often without realizing it. Students in this class will gain an understanding of the attention economy and the factors that contribute to it. They will also develop techniques to maintain free time in each day. The class will help students clarify their values and figure out how to live in alignment with those values.
  • New! 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! Intro to Ocean Science and Marine Biodiversity: The ocean is home to a fascinating variety of ecosystems, from tide pools along the shore to the depths of the middle Pacific. Dive below the surface to explore marine biodiversity and to learn how people can help protect it. Students will explore a variety of ecosystems, including California’s own kelp forests, where sea lions, dolphins and whales roam. They will examine how human activities are changing these ecosystems and how marine creatures cope with the changes. We will take a look at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to learn how plastics move around our oceans. The class will also look at how the work of marine biologists can help protect the diversity of sea life. Hands-on activities will include experiments, dissection of ocean animals and creation of hand-crafted marine creatures from recycled plastics and trash.
  • New! Intro to Programming Using JavaScript: If you’re looking to prepare for the high-tech jobs of the future, JavaScript is a great way 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.
  • Intro to Wind Power: Developing eco-friendly energy sources like wind power is a growing field with the potential to help us combat climate change. Become an active player in this important green technology by exploring the science behind wind power and engineering your own turbine. We will look at how the exchange of energy between Earth and the atmosphere leads to the generation of wind. Students will investigate why some places are always windy. Then they will harness their new knowledge to design and build a simple turbine that puts wind power to beneficial use. Students will also create artworks that respond to the movement of air. The class offers a great opportunity for environmentally conscious students to start exploring future STEM careers that can help protect our Earth.
  • New! Introduction to Indonesian Gamelan: Step into another time and place by learning to play and appreciate the ancient music of the Indonesian Gamelan, a traditional ensemble made up mostly of bronze instruments played with mallets. Students will learn to play these instruments from West Java and to perform musical pieces as an ensemble. Gamelan music, long associated with royalty, typically accompanies traditional dance, puppet shows and important events in court life. In addition to learning to play the instruments, we will explore cultural concepts and history surrounding Gamelan. The class will conclude with a performance that friends and family are invited to attend.
  • New! Invisible Life of the Oceans: A single drop of seawater can hold millions of marine plankton, and understanding the diversity of these tiny organisms can help us protect ocean ecosystems. Get a hands-on introduction to marine microbes and to the lab techniques scientists use to study them. We will start by exploring the diversity of marine plankton and their roles in open-ocean and coastal ecosystems. We will then practice identifying, classifying and drawing accurate representations of live phytoplankton and zooplankton using water samples collected from Scripps Pier. Finally, students will work in groups to design a model of a neutrally buoyant marine microbe and then test their designs. Students will emerge from the class with a deeper understanding and appreciation of these tiny but incredible organisms.
  • New! iOS Programming: If you want to create apps for the iPhone, iPad or other Apple devices, it’s essential to learn the Swift programming language. Get an introduction to this powerful and intuitive language and use it to code simple iOS apps. Students will learn the fundamentals of Swift and then develop iOS apps using the Xcode development environment on the Macintosh. They will discover that writing code in Swift is interactive and fun. We will cover topics including functions, data structures, enumerations, classes and closures. Students will also explore object-oriented programming and design of user interfaces for Apple devices. The course provides a good jumping off point for students who want to move on to more advanced programming and app development studies.
  • New! Leadership in the Digital Age: The leaders of tomorrow will combine leadership skills with a grasp of technology. Develop the skills and practices you will need to exercise leadership in the digital age. We will explore prominent leadership theories and philosophies, including Adaptive Leadership, Servant Leadership and Transformational Leadership. Students will consider the impact of social media and technology on leadership in today’s world. We will also look at the importance of self-awareness and mindfulness in a leader and at the difference between leadership and authority. Students will learn about different personality types and discover how personality type informs the way a person interacts with individuals and groups. Students will also examine what their core values are and consider how such values affect the practice of leadership.
  • Living Structures: Walking Beasts: It walks as if possessed by a mind of its own – no motor, no gas, no batteries, just a series of lurching dance steps along the boundaries of reality and imagination. It’s called a walking beast, and in this class, students will study, design and build this fascinating contraption and then set it in motion. We will spend the early part of the week exploring the mechanics of these machines and building the basic parts. Then we begin the assembly. Finally, we will decorate the beast and set it loose with the help of a leaf blower. Concepts we will cover include engineering, wind power, gravity, frictional rotation and structural integrity. Together we will explore how artistic creativity can drive scientific design and vice versa.
  • Python: Exploring the Web: A basic understanding of how the internet works is a valuable tool in many of today’s high-tech careers. Explore the intricacies of the web and then use Python to program simple apps for internet communication. Students will examine the technology behind the World Wide Web. Then they will get an introduction to the syntax of the Python programming language and the basics of code documentation. Students will use Python to create a variety of small applications that utilize communications over the internet. In building these applications, they will discover how to use existing network systems to make powerful programs. The class is most suited for students with beginning to intermediate experience in a coding language.
  • New! Robotics With JavaScript: We’re on the verge of a robotics revolution. Learning to program robots using the popular language JavaScript is a great way to prepare for the careers of the future. We will start with an overview of robotics and automation, and then explore the challenges of programming in the real world. Students will get a crash course in the popular coding language JavaScript and use it to write programs to make a robot interact with the world in specific ways. We will use Dexter, a high-precision robotic arm from Haddington Dynamics, for demos and for testing student programs. Students will also complete a project of their own choosing to demonstrate what they have learned. The class offers a foundation for further studies in programming and robotics.
  • Rube Goldberg Engineering: We’ve all seen the crazy chain-reaction contraptions called Rube Goldberg machines, named for the cartoonist who originated them as a parody of modern life. Now you can explore the creative side of engineering by designing and building your own Rube Goldberg devices. We will start with a broad look at the principles of mechanics and design and also go over measurement and hand-tool use. Then, working in teams, students will design and build interactive machines where a simple push starts a chain reaction of pulleys, dominoes and so much more. As the week progresses, our designs will become more complex, culminating in a grand finale chain reaction on the last day. Ultimately we will see how these devices, which waste time and energy to accomplish simple tasks, can be a vehicle for engineering ingenuity and artistic expression
  • New! Virtual Exploration & Design for a Sustainable World: Get a global introduction to sustainable design by using Google Maps and Google Earth as tools for virtual exploration. Analyze sites of past settlements and come up with your own design for a sustainable dwelling or community of the future. Students will gain a deeper understanding of geography, world history and sustainable design as they explore world regions. We will examine historical sites and consider why those sites were successful. After analyzing several case studies, students will learn basic concepts of sustainable design and then sketch a house of the future for a specific site using their new perspective. They will present their sustainable designs to classmates and explain their justifications for specific elements. The class is aimed at students interested in maps, geography, history, natural environments, and sustainable architecture and design.
  • New! The Practice of Self-Care in a Fast-Paced World: Pursuing your goals is important, but it can also be exhausting in today’s fast-paced world. Learn how to use self-care practices to restore yourself physically and mentally when you’re feeling burned out and overwhelmed. This class will help students see that accomplishing their goals and taking care of themselves are not mutually exclusive. We will look at what research shows about the negative effects of overuse of technology, with a focus on how screen time affects sleep patterns. Then students will learn different practices they can use to maintain wellness while pursuing their goals. Students will discover how to establish boundaries with the tech in their lives and how to take advantage of nature as a resource for self-care and wellness. Students will emerge from the class with a self-care plan to help them cope with the demands of the modern world.
  • New! Using Artistic Expression in Science: Art offers a powerful means for communicating about science. Learn to use artistic expression to share your scientific observations and discoveries in a way that resonates strongly with viewers. We will start by learning about the diversity of marine algae and using a microscope to examine plankton. We will also explore form and function by comparing the anatomy of different types of fish. Students will act as field biologists observing the natural world and then will create artworks linked closely to what they have observed. Projects will include algae pressing, phytoplankton illustration and Japanese Gyotaku-style fish printing. The goal is not to produce the most beautiful piece of art, but rather to produce informative and accurate works.
  • New! Your Brain and Body on Nature: A growing body of research shows that spending time outdoors benefits us physically, emotionally and mentally. Explore the science behind these benefits and learn how to get more nature into your day-to-day life. The average person is awake for 16 hours a day but only spends two of those hours outdoors. We will look at what research tells us about how spending time in nature affects our brains and our bodies. Students will learn how much outdoor time is needed to experience positive effects. We will also look at how to overcome barriers to spending time outdoors and survey great nature spots to visit in San Diego County.

Adult/Parent Level Workshops

Wellness in the Digital Age: Living in a digital age with technology all around us has many benefits but also creates serious challenges to our well-being. Learn how to set healthy boundaries on your use of electronic devices while also cultivating practices that promote wellness. We will look at what research shows about the negative effects of too much technology use. For one thing, our dependence on devices is causing us to spend more time indoors and less time in nature than ever before. Participants will learn how spending time in nature provides an effective counterbalance to increased screen time and tech use. We will also look at the benefits of cultivating mindfulness and a growth mindset and of making time for play. Finally, we will consider how to incorporate these practices into our daily lives.


Junior academy parent student handbook

2020 Parent Student Handbook


2020 Junior Academy Scholarship Application

*Submission deadline for consideration is April 24, 2020. Limited to one scholarship for one workshop per student.


Junior Academy FAQs

Have questions? Check out these FAQs, we may already have an answer for you.


BOOKS BY SALLY & TAM