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New Weekend Enrichment Classes For Gifted Students

In-depth classes offered on architecture, optics, animation and nanoscience

  • Challenging weekend-long courses available for children in grades 3 through 8
  • Choices include architecture, optics, animation and nanoscience
  • Weekend immersion provides alternative to longer out-of-school programs
  • Registration also open for fall semester of Saturday Enrichment Program
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development has launched a new weekend-long enrichment program targeting children who are passionate about math, science and technology.

The one- or two-day courses in architecture, optics, animation and nanoscience, called the Accelerated Weekend Experience (AWE), will be held Aug. 15 and Aug. 16 on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The classes are open to qualifying children in grades third through eighth.

“Students are able to immerse themselves in something they’re interested in or get a taste of something new,” said Jamie Guess, the weekend enrichment program coordinator at the Center for Talent Development. “The classes provide a challenging, hands-on, in-depth exploration for students and an alternative for those who can’t commit to the out-of-school programs that last weeks or longer.”

For gifted children from preschool (age four) through ninth grade who want a semester-long class, registration is open for the fall session of the 2015 Saturday Enrichment Program. Individualized online courses for academically talented students also are available through the Center for Talent Development.

Read on for more details on the upcoming weekend courses:

DIGITAL ARCHITECTS (grades 3-4): Led by architect Richard Kasemsarn, a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute, children explore the design and building process using SketchUpMake® 3D modeling software. Math, physics and visual-spatial reasoning all come into play as novice architects practice using the tools of the trade. Students experience how math and art come together in design as they plan and create their own architecture projects in SketchUp.

When: Saturday, Aug. 15, or Sunday, Aug. 16, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Note: This class takes place on only one day.)

OPTICS AND ANIMATION (grades 5-6): Taught by Sara Holwerda, a practicing Chicago teaching artist, the course explores the science behind animation while students create their own animation machines. From flipbooks to Pixar, children learn how animation technology has developed alongside a scientific understanding of human perception of motion and optical illusions. They analyze the structure of the eye and how it communicates with the brain. Students also construct early animation devices -- like a zoetrope -- to bring optical phenomena to life.

When: Saturday, Aug. 15 and Sunday, Aug. 16, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

NANOSCIENCE (grades 7-8): Nanoscience is the study of the extremely tiny. Students investigate and manipulate materials at the nanoscale while integrating physics, chemistry, engineering and biology. The children will visit the Northwestern University Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center (NUANCE), an electron microscopy center. Led by Kenneth D’Aquila, who holds a Ph.D. in materials science, students will learn about the importance of nanoscience and how the research is applied to information technology, medicine and other fields.
When: Saturday, Aug. 15 and Sunday, Aug. 16, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Tuition for the one-day course is $122. Two- day courses are $245. More information, eligibility guidelines, financial aid and the online application can be found on the Accelerated Weekend Experience website.

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