Overview

The Sally Ride Science Junior Academy summer program offers science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) workshops for students entering the 4th-12th grade.  Students will assume the roles of space explorer, marine biologist, computer programmer, and more as they immerse themselves in hands-on projects.

During this trying time, UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your goals. In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have moved this summer’s Sally Ride Science Junior Academy workshops online. These online STEAM workshops will be conducted through virtual class meetings using the Zoom conferencing system and the learning platform Canvas.

Top-notch STEAM instructors lead these workshops, serving as both teachers and role models. These summer workshops also incorporate real-life stories of vibrant women conducting research in each field. Their examples inspire students and help make STEAM careers more accessible.

High School Level Workshops

Filmmaking: Filmmaking  is a powerful vehicle for making sense of our lives and sharing the stories we want to tell. Learn the skills you need, from scripting and storyboarding to editing and audio, to express your point of view through creation of short films. We will start with an introduction to film theory and move on to the basics of video production, including composition, editing and audio. Students will consider the role stories play in our everyday lives and think about the stories they want to tell. Then, working in groups, students will storyboard, script, film and edit their own short films. Group members will switch roles throughout the week to gain exposure to various facets of filmmaking. We will watch rough cuts of each other’s work and offer constructive critiques. In addition to producing their own videos, students will watch and discuss a variety of short films. New! 

Finding Your Passion and Purpose: Time and attention are limited resources. Learn to cut through the noise and create space for reflection, curiosity and self-exploration as you rediscover what you want from life. In today’s attention economy, we seem to be doing more but achieving less. Everyone and everything are vying for our attention and making us feel busier than ever before. How we spend our time and where we focus our attention are choices we make every day, often without realizing it. Students in this class will gain an understanding of the attention economy and the factors that contribute to it. They will also develop techniques to maintain free time in each day. The class will help students clarify their values and figure out how to live in alignment with those values.New! 

History of Space, Astronauts and Technology: The history of space exploration is filled with ingenuity and inspiration. This class sparks interest in science, engineering and adventure by tracing that history and then letting students put their new knowledge to work as they plan their own space mission. Students will learn about NASA’s beginnings and follow the stories of trailblazing astronauts, including Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. They will look at how technologies developed for the space program have transformed our lives on Earth. The class will also survey conditions on other planets and look ahead to future missions. Students will apply what they have learned as they create a model of a habitat to support human life on Mars and plan a mission to transport their habitat to the Red Planet.New! 

Intro to Ocean Science and Marine Biodiversity: The ocean is home to a fascinating variety of ecosystems, from tide pools along the shore to the depths of the middle Pacific. Dive below the surface to explore marine biodiversity and to learn how people can help protect it. Students will explore a variety of ecosystems, including California’s own kelp forests, where sea lions, dolphins and whales roam. They will examine how human activities are changing these ecosystems and how marine creatures cope with the changes. We will take a look at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to learn how plastics move around our oceans. The class will also look at how the work of marine biologists can help protect the diversity of sea life. Hands-on activities will include experiments, dissection of ocean animals and creation of hand-crafted marine creatures from recycled plastics and trash.New! I

Intro to Programming Using JavaScript: If you’re looking to prepare for the high-tech jobs of the future, JavaScript is a great way to start. This popular programming language is the backbone of web development. Learning JavaScript gives you the power to create and control dynamic website content. Students in this course will get a hands-on introduction to JavaScript through group problem-solving projects and daily individual coding practice. They will learn JavaScript syntax and use the developer tools of Mozilla Firefox to explore basic coding concepts such as variables, user input, loops and functions. The class is suitable for students with little or no coding experience. They will gain a base of knowledge to build on as they move ahead in their programming studies.New! 

Invisible Life of the Oceans: A Single drop of seawater can hold millions of marine plankton, and understanding the diversity of these tiny organisms can help us protect ocean ecosystems. Get a hands-on introduction to marine microbes and to the lab techniques scientists use to study them. We will start by exploring the diversity of marine plankton and their roles in open-ocean and coastal ecosystems. We will then practice identifying, classifying and drawing accurate representations of live phytoplankton and zooplankton using water samples collected from Scripps Pier. Finally, students will work in groups to design a model of a neutrally buoyant marine microbe and then test their designs. Students will emerge from the class with a deeper understanding and appreciation of these tiny but incredible organisms.New! 

iOS Programming: If you want to create apps for the iPhone, iPad or other Apple devices, it’s essential to learn the Swift programming language. Get an introduction to this powerful and intuitive language and use it to code simple iOS apps. Students will learn the fundamentals of Swift and then develop iOS apps using the Xcode development environment on the Macintosh. They will discover that writing code in Swift is interactive and fun. We will cover topics including functions, data structures, enumerations, classes and closures. Students will also explore object-oriented programming and design of user interfaces for Apple devices. The course provides a good jumping off point for students who want to move on to more advanced programming and app development studies.New! 

Leadership in the Digital Age: The leaders of tomorrow will combine leadership skills with a grasp of technology. Develop the skills and practices you will need to exercise leadership in the digital age. We will explore prominent leadership theories and philosophies, including Adaptive Leadership, Servant Leadership and Transformational Leadership. Students will consider the impact of social media and technology on leadership in today’s world. We will also look at the importance of self-awareness and mindfulness in a leader and at the difference between leadership and authority. Students will learn about different personality types and discover how personality type informs the way a person interacts with individuals and groups. Students will also examine what their core values are and consider how such values affect the practice of leadership.

Living Structures: Walking Beasts: It walks as if possessed by a mind of its own – no motor, no gas, no batteries, just a series of lurching dance steps along the boundaries of reality and imagination. It’s called a walking beast, and in this class, students will study, design and build this fascinating contraption and then set it in motion. We will spend the early part of the week exploring the mechanics of these machines and building the basic parts. Then we begin the assembly. Finally, we will decorate the beast and set it loose with the help of a leaf blower. Concepts we will cover include engineering, wind power, gravity, frictional rotation and structural integrity. Together we will explore how artistic creativity can drive scientific design and vice versa.

Python: Exploring the Web: A basic understanding of how the internet works is a valuable tool in many of today’s high-tech careers. Explore the intricacies of the web and then use Python to program simple apps for internet communication. Students will examine the technology behind the World Wide Web. Then they will get an introduction to the syntax of the Python programming language and the basics of code documentation. Students will use Python to create a variety of small applications that utilize communications over the internet. In building these applications, they will discover how to use existing network systems to make powerful programs. The class is most suited for students with beginning to intermediate experience in a coding language.New! 

Robotics With JavaScript: We’re on the verge of a robotics revolution. Learning to program robots using the popular language JavaScript is a great way to prepare for the careers of the future. We will start with an overview of robotics and automation, and then explore the challenges of programming in the real world. Students will get a crash course in the popular coding language JavaScript and use it to write programs to make a robot interact with the world in specific ways. We will use Dexter, a high-precision robotic arm from Haddington Dynamics, for demos and for testing student programs. Students will also complete a project of their own choosing to demonstrate what they have learned. The class offers a foundation for further studies in programming and robotics.New! 

Virtual Exploration & Design for a Sustainable World: Get a global introduction to sustainable design by using Google Maps and Google Earth as tools for virtual exploration. Analyze sites of past settlements and come up with your own design for a sustainable dwelling or community of the future. Students will gain a deeper understanding of geography, world history and sustainable design as they explore world regions. We will examine historical sites and consider why those sites were successful. After analyzing several case studies, students will learn basic concepts of sustainable design and then sketch a house of the future for a specific site using their new perspective. They will present their sustainable designs to classmates and explain their justifications for specific elements. The class is aimed at students interested in maps, geography, history, natural environments, and sustainable architecture and design.New! 

The Practice of Self-Care in a Fast-Paced World: Pursuing your goals is important, but it can also be exhausting in today’s fast-paced world. Learn how to use self-care practices to restore yourself physically and mentally when you’re feeling burned out and overwhelmed. This class will help students see that accomplishing their goals and taking care of themselves are not mutually exclusive. We will look at what research shows about the negative effects of overuse of technology, with a focus on how screen time affects sleep patterns. Then students will learn different practices they can use to maintain wellness while pursuing their goals. Students will discover how to establish boundaries with the tech in their lives and how to take advantage of nature as a resource for self-care and wellness. Students will emerge from the class with a self-care plan to help them cope with the demands of the modern world.New! 

Your Brain and Body on Nature: A growing body of research shows that spending time outdoors benefits us physically, emotionally and mentally. Explore the science behind these benefits and learn how to get more nature into your day-to-day life. The average person is awake for 16 hours a day but only spends two of those hours outdoors. We will look at what research tells us about how spending time in nature affects our brains and our bodies. Students will learn how much outdoor time is needed to experience positive effects. We will also look at how to overcome barriers to spending time outdoors and survey great nature spots to visit in San Diego County.


Middle School Level Workshops

Android App Design: Android dominates the mobile device market, and Android app design skills are in high demand among tech industry employers. Learn to use MIT App Inventor to create a variety of simple Android apps. Students will learn the basics of Android app design and event-driven programming. Together we will create app background screens and then add elements such as pictures, drawing canvases and buttons. Students will get familiar with MIT App Inventor as they design a variety of simple games and utility apps. We will also learn how to incorporate events so app users can interact with different elements. For a final project, students will work in groups to design and test their own mobile apps. All equipment will be provided, and no prior computer experience is required.

Filmmaking:  Filmmaking is a powerful vehicle for making sense of our lives and sharing the stories we want to tell. Learn the skills you need, from scripting and storyboarding to editing and audio, to express your point of view through creation of short films. We will start with an introduction to film theory and move on to the basics of video production, including composition, editing and audio. Students will consider the role stories play in our everyday lives and think about the stories they want to tell. Then, working in groups, students will storyboard, script, film and edit their own short films. Group members will switch roles throughout the week to gain exposure to various facets of filmmaking. We will watch rough cuts of each other’s work and offer constructive critiques. In addition to producing their own videos, students will watch and discuss a variety of short films.New! 

How to Train Your Demogorgon: The (Pseudo) Science of Stranger Things: Grab a box of Eggos and join us for a brief transdisciplinary tour of 1980s Hawkins, Indiana, as we delve into the (pseudo) science of the popular Netflix series Stranger Things. We will explore the biology and chemistry of the Upside Down and look at parallels in real-world science.New! 

Intro To Filmmaking: Filmmaking is a powerful vehicle for making sense of our lives and sharing the stories we want to tell. Learn the skills you need, from scripting and storyboarding to editing and audio, to express your point of view through creation of short films. We will start with an introduction to film theory and move on to the basics of video production, including composition, editing and audio. Students will consider the role stories play in our everyday lives and think about the stories they want to tell. Then, working in groups, students will storyboard, script, film and edit their own short films. Group members will switch roles throughout the week to gain exposure to various facets of filmmaking. We will watch rough cuts of each other’s work and offer constructive critiques. In addition to producing their own videos, students will watch and discuss a variety of short films.New! 

Intro to iOS Programming: If you want to create apps for the iPhone, iPad or other Apple devices, it’s essential to learn the Swift programming language. Get an introduction to this powerful and intuitive language and use it to code simple iOS apps. Students will learn the fundamentals of Swift and then develop iOS apps using the Xcode development environment on the Macintosh. They will discover that writing code in Swift is interactive and fun. We will cover topics including functions, data structures, enumerations, classes and closures. Students will also explore object-oriented programming and design of user interfaces for Apple devices. The course provides a good jumping off point for students who want to move on to more advanced programming and app development studies.New! 

Intro to Virtual Exploration & Design for a Sustanable World: Get a global introduction to sustainable design by using Google Maps and Google Earth as tools for virtual exploration. Analyze sites of past settlements and come up with your own design for a sustainable dwelling or community of the future. Students will gain a deeper understanding of geography, world history and sustainable design as they explore world regions. We will examine historical sites and consider why those sites were successful. After analyzing several case studies, students will learn basic concepts of sustainable design and then sketch a house of the future for a specific site using their new perspective. They will present their sustainable designs to classmates and explain their justifications for specific elements. The class is aimed at students interested in maps, geography, history, natural environments, and sustainable architecture and design.

Living Structures: Walking Beasts: It walks as if possessed by a mind of its own – no motor, no gas, no batteries, just a series of lurching dance steps along the boundaries of reality and imagination. It’s called a walking beast, and in this class, students will study, design and build this fascinating contraption and then set it in motion. We will spend the early part of the week exploring the mechanics of these machines and building the basic parts. Then we begin the assembly. Finally, we will decorate the beast and set it loose with the help of a leaf blower. Concepts we will cover include engineering, wind power, gravity, frictional rotation and structural integrity. Together we will explore how artistic creativity can drive scientific design and vice versa.New! 

Messy Science: Ready to get messy in the name of science? We will design things, test things, throw things and stomp on things while exploring fascinating phenomena in Earth science. Students will conduct messy and noisy experiments as they investigate glaciers, volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, permafrost, sea level rise and tsunamis. We will make slime-like “flubber” to model glacier movement and create a landscape in a box to simulate the destructive power of earthquakes and tsunamis. Students will also observe lava flow in a volcano fueled by baking soda and vinegar. These and other fun, hands-on experiments provide an engaging introduction to geology, seismology, oceanography and other branches of Earth science.New! 

Programming Using JavaScript: If you’re looking to prepare for the high-tech jobs of the future, JavaScript is a great way to start. This popular programming language is the backbone of web development. Learning JavaScript gives you the power to create and control dynamic website content. Students in this course will get a hands-on introduction to JavaScript through group problem-solving projects and daily individual coding practice. They will learn JavaScript syntax and use the developer tools of Mozilla Firefox to explore basic coding concepts such as variables, user input, loops and functions. The class is suitable for students with little or no coding experience. They will gain a base of knowledge to build on as they move ahead in their programming studies.

Python: Exploring the Web: A basic understanding of how the internet works is a valuable tool in many today’s high-tech careers. Explore the intricacies of the web and then use Python to program simple apps for internet communication. Students will examine the technology behind the World Wide Web. Then they will get an introduction to the syntax of the Python programming language and the basics of code documentation. Students will use Python to create a variety of small applications that utilize communications over the internet. In building these applications, they will discover how to use existing network systems to make powerful programs. The class is most suited for students with beginning to intermediate experience in a coding language.

Ready, Set, Create: A Maker Space Lab: A Maker Space is a place where people get together to tinker, ponder and create. In our Maker Space Lab, students will tackle a variety of engineering challenges and develop their own innovation or invention. Using a variety of everyday materials, students will take on challenges such as “create a fall-proof skateboard” or “create an all-weather hat.” Art, science and engineering will come into play as students develop innovative solutions. As a final project, students will come up with an innovation or invention of their own. They will gain experience in product design, technical writing and art design as they develop their creations. Then they will present their inventions to a panel of classmates in a format similar to the television show “Shark Tank.”

Screenwriting: If you dream of making it as a screenwriter, this course is the place to start. Learn proven techniques for crafting a script that tells a story effectively and holds the attention of your audience. We will dissect scripts from popular films to find out what makes a good story and an engaging screenplay. Using the free platform Writer’s Duet, students will learn the accepted way to format a script. They will also gain an understanding of how to structure a screenplay and construct scenes with compelling characters, settings, dialogue and conflict. Through a variety of writing activities, students will sharpen their screenwriting skills. Finally, they will bring together everything they have learned as they storyboard, write and edit their own scripts.

Wonderful Waves: Knowing how waves work is a key to understanding many aspects of the natural world. Dive into the fascinating world of water waves and light waves through hands-on experiments and fun craft projects. Students will explore the science of ocean waves, currents and tsunamis. We will investigate how sand is formed by waves and use microscopes to examine sand from beaches around the world. Students will learn how light waves travel and which color of light travels farthest. Class members will put their new knowledge to work in a variety of art projects, including creating wave paintings with watercolors and salt, and building a miniature surfboard from balsa wood. The class will give students a basis of knowledge for further studies in physics and oceanography.


Cost and Session Information

Session 1:  6/29/20 -   7/2/20 
Session 2:    7/6/20 -   7/10/20 
Session 3:  7/13/20 -   7/17/20 
Session 4:  7/20/20 -   7/24/20

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