Summer Explorations

Enrichment classes for children entering grades 5-8. Students spend 15 hours - 5 days, 3 hours each day - with other curious, creative and intelligent students in small classes usually a 10:1 student: teacher ratio. Classes are taught by enthusiastic undergraduates and community members. Most classes are full.  There are one or two openings in Math Circle.  Look for our fall class schedule which will be online by Labor Day.  And see you next summer!

Summer 2016 Courses:

Some classes will be held only in the morning, or afternoon, and some classes will be offered both morning and afternoon.  If the class you wish to take is offered both in the morning and afternoon, choose either the morning or the afternoon, not both.  

Math Circle - join the club! – Explore mathematical games, solve puzzles, and apply mathematical principles to everyday activities. This is a class for the young person who loves mathematical riddles and puns! As one student explained: 'Math Circles is like a board game, there is no right answer, each decision changes the problem.'

Computer Game Design with Scratch – Design animated, third-person view, video games. Learn computer programming using Scratch software. Create, share, and take home your own game! This class is FULL.  

Parents: Scratch is free software developed by MIT to teach young students to program using icons, rather than text.  We chose Scratch because it is fun and a good teaching tool and because families may download the software at home at no cost. 

Programming with Alice - New Class!  Prerequisite: Computer Game Design with Scratch.  Introducing Alice, a 3D programming environment! Explore this powerful software while you develop aspects of your story or game and build your computer programming skills. Alice is freeware from Carnegie Mellon University and allows the student to learn to animate their games and stories. 

Creative Writing – Do you love to write? Learn interesting prompts and new techniques to develop your best ideas into stories. Bring your writing to life.

Author a Graphic Novel - New class!  Do you love graphic novels?  You will create your own graphic novel and learn to share your story using minimal text and stylized and powerful drawings.  This class is FULL.

Beginning Robotics – Design and program a robot to race, wrestle, joust, or play songs you compose. Learn engineering and design concepts to create a faster, fleeter, and stronger robot. Develop your computer programming skills using the Lego Mindstorm icon-based software. This class is FULL. 

Advanced Robotics – Prerequisite: Beginning Robotics. Design and build robots using motors and sensors to bring touch, sound, and sight to your robot.  Engineer robots for specific environmental conditions. You and your team will work together to tackle engineering challenges. Similar to engineers and robot designers everywhere, you will design, build, test, de-construct, rebuild and re-test your ideas in an active classroom filled with like-minded young engineers and designers in training.  

Web Page Design - Create your own web page using Adobe Dreamweaver software.  Learn design concepts and computer skills and take home a web page of your favorite sports team, animal or school subject.  

When are classes held?

This summer we are offering two sessions

Session 1: June 27- July 1, 2016

  • Morning Classes: 9:00 a.m. – noon.
  • Afternoon Classes: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Session 2: August 1-5, 2016

  • Morning Classes: 9:00 a.m. – noon.
  • Afternoon Classes: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Each class is 5 days long and 3 hours each day. Morning classes run 9 a.m.- noon and afternoon classes run 1 - 4 p.m. each day.

Lunch Breaks – Please note that students who are enrolled in both morning and afternoon classes should bring their own lunch. Supervision during the lunch break (from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.) will be provided.

Where are classes held?

Classes are held in Smullin, Collins, and Olin Science Center at Willamette University.


Early Registration – Register early and the price is $100* per class.

The deadline for Early Registration is: 

  • Session 1: May 16, 2016
  • Session 2: June 27, 2016

Regular Registration – On or after May 16 for session 1 and June 27 for session 2 the price is $115* per class.

*Registration fee includes all supplies and materials.