July 31, 2012

Rockets, roller coasters and more for young scholars – with slideshow

News and Information

Pedestrians along the UW’s Rainier Vista may have noticed an unusual warning last Friday. “Danger Rocket Launching Area,” the sign read. Below that someone had drawn a cartoon stick figure receiving a “doink” to the head from a descending bottle rocket.

The sign was part of a demonstration by students in grades five through 10 enrolled in summer sessions for advanced learners, organized by the UW Robinson Center for Young Scholars. This year’s 507 participants came from around Puget Sound.

Apart from the rocket launch, which was part of the robotics class, seventh-through-ninth graders in the “Summer Stretch” program could choose four-week sessions on math, chemistry, filmmaking, literature and more.

The “Summer Challenge” program, offered to fifth and sixth graders and lasting three weeks, taps into astronomy, math puzzles, urban design, physics of roller coasters and other topics.

The summer classes are designed to be hands-on learning experiences that challenge students to solve problems and think critically and creatively.

“Most importantly, the classes provide opportunities for students to meet other kids with similar interests,” said Nancy Hertzog, director of the Robinson Center. “When asked by a parent about what students took away from their filming of a documentary, one student said, ‘Friendships!’ and hugged her teammates.”

Check out this year’s demonstrations of rockets, model roller coasters, future cities and more in the slideshow below.