Science & Math

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ADVENTURES WITH OPTICAL ILLUSIONS

Grades 4-6   Class maximum: 8
Trip the light fantastic in this course which explores the properties of light and sight. You’ll also learn about optical illusions in life and art. Lots of hands-on experiments and projects will having you doing double-takes and thinking you’re seeing things. There may be a field trip to MassMOCA, too.

AMAZING AMAZON ADVENTURE

Grades 2-3   Class maximum: 10
With a focus on the incredible animals of the Amazon, you’ll learn about the rain forest from their firsthand experience and use your new knowledge to create some wonderful masks and sculptures. The final project will involve creating a life-size Amazon scene and exploring it for signs of animals.

ANIMALS ALL AROUND US

Grades 2-4   Class maximum: 8
In this course, you’ll learn about a few of the many animals that live in the Berkshires, some even in our backyards! The focus will be on snakes, turtles, and common mammals (there may even be some live visitors). You’ll create a nature journal, explore some of the areas near us where animals live, and learn a lot about a few of our “neighbors.”

BONKERS FOR BIOLOGY

Grades 5-6   Class maximum: 10
Germs, DNA, volcanic explosions, plant tricks, dense solutions, all kinds of cool stuff are explored in this class. Plenty of hands-on experiments in a fun environment.

COMPUTERS

Grades 5-6   Class maximum: 10
This course will serve as an introduction to object-oriented computer programming. We will use the KAREL++ programming by presenting material through a graphical interface. Students will learn to program Karel, an on-screen robot, to work and perform tasks. This course will take place on the Williams College campus.

COOL CHEMISTRY IN THE KITCHEN

Grades 2-3   Class maximum: 8
Everybody likes to mess around with goop and glop! In this class, you’ll make great projects like silly putty, rock candy, and (everyone’s favorite) volcanic explosions! If you’re lucky, your parents may let you try some of this neat stuff at home (but only if you promise to clean up).

CREATIVE FUN WITH MATH, ART AND DESIGN

Grades 2-4   Class maximum: 6
Explore the fun, practical and creative possibilities of combing art, math and design. You’ll create “math art” shapes with string and cardboard, design blueprints for a house, build bridges with popsicle sticks, and more. You’ll also take occasional outing to observe mathematical patterns in nature.

DESIGNING A HOMEPAGE

Grades 5-6   Class maximum: 5
If you want to learn about the internet and specifically would like to create your own homepage, you should sign up for this course. You’ll learn about creating text and lists, making hyperlinks, scanning images and other important computer skills.

ENVIRONMENTAL ADVENTURES

Grades 2-3   Class maximum: 8
You probably already know a lot about the environment, but this course will expand your horizons. You’ll contemplate marine life, investigate the insect world, wonder about the weather and get into garbage. Highlights include live animal visitors and a field trip to the dump, of all places (you wouldn’t believe how many animals live out there!).

ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY

Grades 3-5   Class maximum: 8
Everyone knows about recycling and littering, but what does pollution look like up close? Really close, like under a microscope? How can you tell clean water from dirty water? What actually happens when you make compost? Explore these and many other important science questions through a variety of hands-on experiments and explorations.

EUREKA!

Grades 4-5   Class maximum: 8-10
Ever wonder how things float in water? How candy is made? How buildings stand? Every week you’ll make exciting scientific discoveries that will have you saying “Eureka!” You’ll build aluminum foil boats and spaghetti towers, make sugar crystals, and drop an egg without breaking it, in this series of fun science experiments.

KIDS INQUIRY

Grades 4-6   Class maximum: 8
Have you ever baked a cake and it came out as you thought it would, or it came out all wrong? Have you ever tried an experiment and the results completely surprised you? In this class you will create a scientific hypothesis and conduct experiments to test the hypothesis, to see whether your predictions were correct or incorrect. At the conclusion of the program you will present the results of your work. Who knows, maybe you will can become a genius!

MARVELOUS MILKY WAY

Grades  4-6  Class maximum: 8-10                                                                            Explore our very own galaxy, the Milky Way!  Through activities of all kinds, we will learn about what a galaxy is, what ours is like, and where our solar system is within it.  We’ll talk about the stars that make up the galaxy: how they are different from each other, how they “live” their lives, and why they look the way they do here on Earth.  We’ll discuss fascinating denizens of deep space from nebulae to black holes to other solar systems.  Finally, we’ll learn a little about galaxies beyond our own!

OUT OF THIS WORLD ASTRONOMY

Grades 4-6   Class maximum: 8
Everyone wonders what’s out there in Outer Space — this course will help answer some of those questions. You’ll explore “The Atom — What It Is and What It Isn’t,” “The Life of a Star — From Humble Beginnings to Final Fireworks,” “The Solar System — A Few Hunks of Rock and a Whole Lot of Space,” “The Galactic Zoo — Various Inhabitants of Our Milky Way Galaxy,” and “The Universe — Going Out with a Whimper or a Bang?”

PETS AND VETS

Grades 2-4   Class maximum: 10
If you’re dying for a pet of your own or want to learn more about the pets you already have, here’s your chance. You’ll meet a variety of creatures, from rodents to reptiles and from Fido and Fluffy to some feathered friends. We’ll work on a different animal art project each week if time permits. One week we will travel to the animal hospital for a behind-the-scenes look at veterinary care.

THE SCIENCE OF SLEUTHING

Grades 3-4   Class maximum: 8
Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys fans, here’s a chance to follow in your idols’ footsteps. Identifying clues, analyzing fibers and fingerprints, investigating the scene of the crime – you’ll learn basic forensic techniques used to solve crimes and then try to solve one yourself. Dafina taught a science class for AIL last year.

SCIENTIFIC SILLINESS

Grades 2-4   Class maximum: 10
Volcanoes, goop, weird concoctions and plenty of opportunity to make a mess – what could be more fun? This hands-on approach to science is always popular.

BUGS, WATER, ACTION!

Grades 2-4   Class maximum: 10
What’s more fun than learning about bugs? Creating one of your own to take home! In this course, you’ll learn about life in streams and the bugs, big and little, that inhabit them. You’ll get to mess around in buckets of water (with various things hiding in them!) and may have a field trip to the river, if it’s not too cold. Plus, a special guest at the end will show you how to use bugs to fool fish.

WINDOW ON WHALES

Grades 2-4   Class maximum: 8
You probably know a little about whales already, but here’s your chance to really explore the world of these wonderful creatures with someone who’s just spent a few weeks in Bermuda studying them. Starting with what you’ve already learned, you’ll read stories, follow up ideas that interest you (the history of whaling, the life cycle of the killer whale — you name it!) and come up with a final project to work on together.