Middle School Classes are closed for the summer!
The classes for students in grades 6-8 are designed to teach students basic fundamentals and apply what they have learned to fun hands-on activities. This year the students will get a choice of 3 classes in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Click on the course titles below to view the course descriptions
Students will have fun learning anatomy and physiology concepts and applying them to fun hands-on activities. Students will participate in a dissection activity.
Back 2 Basics - Mechanical Engineering
Come explore the basic mechanical engineering principles as you learn how to design and construct an egg carrier and spaghetti tower. Students, in a team environment, will engage in hands-on design activities to demonstrate concepts learned. Two competitions will be held, awarding a prize to the team that best meet the competition requirements.
Build Your Own Electrical Gadgets: An Introduction to Electronics and Electromagnetics
This course includes the following perils:
(1) Students will be exposed to grueling hands-on learning through "learn it while you build it" projects that they will keep. In-class projects include constructing gadgets (all parts are provided) that may or may not be aesthetically pleasing, useful, or even fully functional, but include: - Benjamin Franklin's bells: harvest and discharge high-energy electrons to produce motion (and often, a startling shock) - rail motor: an electromagnetically-powered single axle roller - a miniature rail-gun: launches steel BBs at velocities that may frighten small animals
(2) Instructors may at any time during the course attempt to download physics concepts into participants' minds. Protective tinfoil hats will *not* be provided. Contaminating knowledge may include, but is not limited to: - electrons, insulators and conductors - voltage and current, AC / DC - circuit basics: batteries, switches, resistors, capacitors, inductors, transistors, diodes, and transformers - electromagnetics: magnets, RF signals, right-hand rule, motors
(3) Students may be exposed to electric fields, magnetic fields and/or minor shocks from static electricity. Pacemakers not recommended.
Cryptography: Code Breakers and Code Makers
This is a unique hands-on opportunity to enrich scientific method of problem solving with intrigue. Students will be taught various approaches to break cipher. The capstone project will require use of course material to develop their own coding system.
OBJECTIVE/ APPLICATION: Students can use this approach when considering school or regional science & engineering fair challenges.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: This is the ‘stuff’ of the international Intelligence Community to establish very specific skills and techniques that can also be applied to mathematics, computer programming, or problem-solving.
Learn about cyber security. We’ll scan ports, snoop data, crack passwords and learn about how the web implements security. You’ll learn what private key, public key, symmetric keys, encryption, hashing, certificates, certificate authorities, phishing, spear phishing, session hijacking, XSS, and SQL injection are and many other important aspects of cyber security. We’ll finish the class discussing wireless and mobile security.
Come and learn how to become an electrical engineer. We will plan, design, prototype and build electronic circuits and systems. No experience necessary, but engineering requires math. Once applied, you'll have all the experience necessary to design and build your own circuits. How cool is that? How about an alarm system to catch someone in the act? Or how about a sound amplifier to hear conversations from a distance? How about an AM radio? It is all possible. And the possibilities are endless, at any age.
Let's make some fractals! Fractals are beautiful patterns found everywhere in the world around us. We will become fractal detectives as we discover fractals in trees, rivers, flowers and more! We will zoom into algebraic fractals and create fractal art, then make custom fractal t-shirts. We will also learn about the amazing Fibonacci sequence, and construct a giant spiral fractal. Come see why fractals are SMART: Science, Math, and Art!
Fundamentals of Engineering Water
This course is for students interested in learning about how scientists and engineers work together to manage one of the most valuable and important resources on the planet: Water. The course will begin with an introduction to water management and conservation in the Arid Southwest—and particularly in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico. Week 2 of this course will include presentations on water body creation and dynamics as well as an overview of Hydrologic/Hydraulic Engineering. In the third week of this course students will discuss various types and functions of dams and other water resource management structures and will then construct a water storage feature. These water storage features will be examined and tested for functionality on the final day of the course, which will conclude with a brief overview of fundamentals of engineering for water.
Computer programming is not only a highly valued skill, it can be a lot of fun and can be a powerful tool for creative expression. Java is a popular and convenient object-oriented programming language. It is often used for interactive web pages and a variety of computer and device applications and games. In this course, we will teach programming skills while students compete in a multi-player taxi game developed in Java. Students will run taxi companies and try to be the fastest ones to pick up passengers, take them to their destinations, and collect fares. Being competitive will require students to write Java code to direct their taxis along the best routes and manage their taxi companies efficiently. Students will learn to use computer programming as a tool for creative problem solving.
This course will teach students the basic principles of managing money. It will be an interactive and hands-on experience that will allow students to balance checkbooks, pay bills, create budgets and handle unexpected expenses.
This course will teach students how to learn problem solving skills, operate and optimize a remote control car to maximize it's performance.
In this course, students will be introduced to computer programming through the use of Python and Turtle Graphics. Python is a simple, easy-to-learn, programming language. It is also robust, so it can be used to write basic programs as well as large, professional applications. Python's ease of moving from simple commands to complex software development makes it an ideal vehicle for an introductory experience in computer programming. Turtle Graphics is a drawing system developed in the Logo programming environment that was originally used for introducing students to programming. The "turtle" in Turtle Graphics is an on-screen cursor which can be given movement and drawing instructions and is used to produce line graphics. Students can understand the actions of the turtle by imagining themselves in its place and thinking in terms of commands such as "move forward," "turn right," and "raise/lower the pen." Students will be using Turtle Graphics in Python and some simple mathematics to explore concepts such as variables, loops, and functions and to draw interesting pictures.
Students will learn how robots work while using math, science, and technology in exciting robotic challenges. Students will work in teams to design, build, program and test robots to perform a variety of challenges against the clock. Note: This is a beginner's class and is for students who do not have any experience with Lego MindStorms.
Topics in Science
In this class we will study topics in physics and chemistry. We will study the effects of gravity, kinetics, and potential energy on household objects. We will explore electricity and its uses. We will build an electromagnetic and observe its effect on nearby objects. We will observe polymers behavior and study density and viscosity of liquids. We will witness the behavior of a lava lamp. We will investigate chemiluminescence and how the environment influences its behavior, and it’s role in nature.
Video Game Development
This course will focus on students designing and building their own 2D video game using the GameMaker game engine. Students will learn about various aspects of the game development process including: algorithm development for game mechanics, level design, player interfaces, and usability testing. By the end of the course the students will have created a simple, functioning 2D video game.
In this class, students will learn: to create web sites using free resources; to create web sites using traditional coding methods; and to understand the basic grammar of programming languages. Students will learn how to locate and use free, online templates and codes for creating and hosting web sites. By using these resources, students will be able to create web sites using advanced functionality. In addition, students will learn how to create web sites from scratch using HTML, the primary programming language of the web. Though this is not a full-blown programming class, once students learn the grammar of HTML, they will be able to use it to understand the grammar of other programming languages. Students will leave this class with a web site and with the ability to create web sites on their own.