2014 Explorer Concentrations

Unlike typical classes found in most elementary or middle schools, Explo Mini concentrations are designed to be fun, to stimulate curiosity and discussion, and to foster a lifelong love of learning and exploration.


Printable Listings

2014 Explorer concentrations are listed below. (Click on titles for descriptions.)

If you prefer a printable version of our concentrations, please click the PDF link below.

Students Entering Grades 2+3
For our Explorers, learning is all about doing. Which is why in each of our weeklong concentrations, students will be experimenting, dreaming up, designing, tinkering with, and doing all sorts of things, from building an original World Wonder to examining the natural habitats of ants.

Explorer students are entering 2nd or 3rd grade in the fall. Each day, students spend three academic periods actively participating in their concentration(s) of choice. During the fourth period, Explorer students participate in an activity chosen by the class.



Please Note: The concentrations listed below were offered during the 2014 summer season. While we will offer a similar range of concentrations in 2015, specific options may change. Please look for 2015 listings later this fall.

Week 1
Investigate Nature+

Beneath your feet, in the oceans, and through the skies, there are whole other universes to explore! Armed with microscopes, binoculars, beakers, and other tools of scientific exploration, we'll help you jump right in! You'll shrink to see the world from an insect's point of view, create miniature terrariums (that you can eat), and dissect seeds to see what's germinating inside! You'll grow plants on sponges, track and identify a mysterious beast (by its prints and its "scat"), and collect water samples in the pond. From ladybugs and lizards to cookie clouds and weather patterns, you'll love exploring the creatures, micro-organisms, and general phenomena of the deep, the air, and beyond.

  • > Create sponge gardens, make a sundial + track snails
  • > Collect + prepare specimens for viewing under a microscope
  • > Construct a weather station + film green-screen weather reports
  • > Conduct an indoor rain experiment + build a wormarium
  • > Put on blubber gloves + take an anemometer for a wind walk

Explo Mini is not in session on Friday, July 4, 2014. This concentration is discounted $130 to reflect the shorter session week.

Week 1: June 29 - July 3, 2015
Week 2
Dig Up Dinosaurs+

We've got bones… WE'VE GOT BONES!!! This is big! According to the world-renowned paleontologist Dr. Bones, it's unlike any dinosaur we've discovered before. So grab your pick and trowel, you're going to dig up, collect, and catalog dinosaur bones and fossils at an excavation site! And then you'll do something a bit more unusual: take a trip — a loooong trip — back to the time of the dinosaurs. That's right — in order to discover how a Triceratops moved, travel the skies with a pterodactyl, and see if these mystery bones are more like those of an Allosaurus or a T-Rex, we'll travel back in time and find out what dinosaurs ate, how they lived, and what they (ahem) left behind. Want to see how long their stride is, how fast they are on their feet, and how they'd fare in a Dinosaur War? Hop onto our time machine — it's going to be a wild ride!

  • > Learn proper paleontological excavation techniques
  • > Identify and catalogue dinosaur bones + teeth
  • > Discover dinosaur behavior + character traits
  • > Experiment with dinosaur feeding habits + scat inspection
  • > Explore dinosaur survival techniques + adaptive behavior
Week 2: July 6 - July 10, 2015
Week 3
Create Color+

Dazzle with color! Amaze with light! As the creative director for the world's most fantastic color and light show, you've got one week to get your act together. And what a week it will be! With the assistance of the brilliant scientist Dr. Gamma and the talented artist Spectra, you'll explore properties of color and light that will literally make you glow! Create a working recipe for a rainbow! Build a working light bulb! Make silhouette art out of changing shadows and light! Choreograph a glow stick dance! To make things festive, you'll whip up a batch of see-through "stained glass" cookies and sketch out the wavelength of all the colors using candy. With kaleidoscopes that shift your color perspective and pinhole cameras that let you see the world around you in whole new ways, join us and shape a whole new perspective on color and light!

  • > Dive into color: study complementary + opposing color pairings
  • > Explore the power of shadow + light on color perception
  • > Modify light bulbs, lanterns + spectrometers with electricity
  • > Experiment with light refraction + chemical color changes
  • > Design and mount an impressive color + light show!
Week 3: July 13 - July 17, 2015
Week 4
Get Creative+

First up: construct a working carnival (out of 2 sheets of cardboard). Next challenge: paint a portrait (without touching paint or a brush). Challenge three: remove an ice cube from a glass of water (using only string and salt). Challenge four... well, you get the idea. From theater and the arts to science and engineering, the daily challenges in our Creativity Challenge Room will astound and stretch you. You'll quickly discover that there are no "correct" solutions — and that half the fun is coming up with your own unique way of solving each problem. So what will you do when asked to bake (and decorate) your own one-of-a-kind cupcake? And how will you save an egg from the perils of being flung 500 feet in a trebuchet? And who will provide the first line in a song about an invisible octopus? Join us in the Creativity Challenge Room and get ready to be surprised by your answers.

  • > Develop creative thinking skills for outside-the-box solutions
  • > Become an inventor of wild + unusual creations
  • > Experiment in the kitchen to craft unique culinary delights
  • > Uncover the basic principles of engineering + design
  • > Use daily lab time to work on independent building projects
Week 4: July 20 - July 24, 2015
Week 5
Engage The Stage+

Actors, this is your five-minute warning! Get your costumes on, touch up your makeup, and listen for your cue. Okay, bring up the lights... wait a second… WAIT?! What are you you waiting for? Jump on stage! We've only got one week to get our show off the ground — and there's LOTS to do: our script needs to be revamped, our songs must be rewritten, our sets and costumes must be staged, and we've got to figure out how to make thunder clap and lightning strike on cue. And the acting — don't forget the ACTING! We'll get you comfortable on stage with acting exercises and improv games, so you'll be ready to hit your mark. So stop shuffling your feet, go through those lines one last time, and prepare to put on a show like no other! Because the curtain’s going up in 3, 2, 1...

  • > Explore character development + "fast" acting with improv
  • > Learn the fundamentals of set design, lighting + sound
  • > Step into a director's shoes, staging scenes + building drama
  • > Become a playwright: develop a show's "book" + storyline
  • > Choreograph dances, action, and movement on + off the stage
Week 5: July 27 - July 31, 2015
Week 6
Make World Wonders+

Carve out a (mini) Grand Canyon with dirt, rocks, and water. Crack codes to unlock the secrets of Stonehenge. Build a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge (that’ll support your weight)! From spectacular feats of nature like Mt. Everest to man-made wonders like the Panama Canal, join us on an Explo adventure through the Great Wonders of the World. You’ll replicate the Lighthouse of Alexandria (with mirrors and the sun), sculpt a scale model of the Colossus of Rhodes (and an island to put it on), and spin a sugary Taj Mahal out of eggs, flour, and frosting. As you dive over Victoria Falls, crawl through the Amazon rainforest, and scale the 365 steps of Chichen Itza, you’ll travel the world — and discover first-hand the amazing science, engineering, and artistry of the World Wonders.

  • > Create a (paper) Hanging Garden + see how water travels up
  • > Move boats through the Panama Canal using only water
  • > Investigate marine life: dive into the Great Barrier Reef
  • > Relay race (with fully-loaded pack) to the top of Mt. Everest
  • > Design your own Explo World Wonder
Week 6: August 3 - August 7, 2015