Learn to Discover

Course Descriptions

This is a sample of the many courses we have developed. Please visit our home page to see our current offerings.

We have organized our courses into the following categories. Just click on the link to be taken to that section:

INTRODUCTORY COURSES (100's)

"Introduction to Computers & the Keyboard"
Course ID: 101 [ ]
Prereq: None. Recommended for ages 4 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will learn the proper way to handle computers and associated devices such as mice and keyboards. We will cover such “rules” as having clean hands, not having food or drinks around computers, how to handle CD’s, how to use a keyboard and mouse, how to click, double-click, “drag”, “select”, cut-and-paste, etc. We will also cover icons, shortcuts, “how to get around” in Windows, how to turn on and correctly power off a computer, how to insert a CD and “get it to come up” and how to know when to ask for help. We will use educational software as the means to these ends, to the greatest possible extent. We feel this is a very valuable course because this material is either glossed over or never formally addressed.


"Introduction to Educational Software"
Course ID: 102 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 101, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 5 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

We will show students a wide variety of educational software in areas such as Math, Reading, Writing, Spelling, and more! We feel that educational software is an exciting way to supplement students’ learning, especially because it’s so much fun, and because students pick up so many skills by using the large variety of software that’s available. For example, all software of this kind “exercises” small motor skills so students become adept at more advanced computer skills such as mouse dragging and cursor movement. This software also hones skills such as hand-eye coordination, concentration, patience, and creative expression. Parents will be given a list of our recommended software as part of this class.


"Introduction to Typing and Word Processing"
Course ID: 105 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 101, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 5 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

First, students will be shown proper hand placement and posture for typing. Then, students will be introduced to word processing using Microsoft® Word. They will learn how to set up a document, set margins, choose fonts, center and justify text, spell-check, indent, and more! More advanced students will be introduced to using Styles to create well-structured consistent, easy-to-change documents, as well as tables, headers and footers, special characters (such as ¶ and ©), subscripts and superscripts, and more advanced topics.


"Introduction to Art & Creativity Software"
Course ID: 120 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 101, or equivalent. No previous art experience required.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will explore creativity software including the award-winning KidPix. We will cover the following: painting, drawing, creating simple movies & slideshows, digital rubber stamps, and more! Students will also learn how to print their creations. The aim of this course is for students to begin to understand how the computer can be used as a creative tool.


"Introduction to Digital Craftmaking"
Course ID: 121 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 101, or equivalent. No previous art experience required.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will have fun learning how computers can be used to make craft items such as stickers, frames, hats, cards, invitations, mobiles, bookmarks, gift bags, and more. Students will develop an appreciation for computers as creative tools, extending their use well beyond playing games and typing. This class also expands on skills developed in Computer/Technology 101, such as using a mouse, using a keyboard, printing, navigating on the screen, etc.


"Digital Stories"
Course ID: 122 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 101, or equivalent. No previous art experience required.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will learn techniques to author and illustrate books, using a computer as a tool. Students will be introduced to different types of software that help to both encourage creative design as well as assist with the writing process. Each student will produce an entire book by themselves by the end of the session, and will pick up valuable writing and artistic skills in the process.


ELECTRONICS & HOW COMPUTERS WORK (200's)

"Fun With Electronics"
Course ID: 200 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Have fun making electronic devices, including an alarm, generator, timer, RC rover, etc. We use Snap Circuit® electronic labs to build and perform experiments; no soldering involved. Kids will also learn how to draw real electronic symbols.


"Bits & Bytes, I/O, and Storage Concepts"
Course ID: 211 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 101, or equivalent; and comfort with multiplication — we will introduce exponents as a shorthand to multiplying.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This is the recommended starting course, even for students who feel they “know a lot” about computers. This course covers how computers are used in the real-world, close examination of the keyboard, the concept of input and output devices (mice, printers, scanners, etc.), “bits” and “bytes”, storage capacities of diskettes, how data is stored on a computer (ASCII), number systems, character sets, and units of measurement (prefixes such as “mega-”, “giga-”, etc.). Course will be a combination of hands-on, demonstration/lecture, and video segments.


"ASCII & Number Systems"
Course ID: 212 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 201, or equivalent.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course reviews ASCII character representation, then presents a more thorough treatment of math as applied to computers, including expanded notation, exponentiation, and the binary (base 2), octal (base 8), decimal (base 10) and hexadecimal (base 16) number systems. Special attention is given to show how these concepts relate directly to computers, with an emphasis on binary representation and its correspondence with underlying hardware (transistors). Course will be a combination of hands-on, demonstration/lecture, and video segments.


"Introduction to Digital Circuits"
Course ID: 213 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 203, or equivalent.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

For those who wish to continue their exploration of digital electronics, this course will present an introduction to digital circuits. Components such as transistors, diodes, resistors, capacitors, DC power supplies, LED’s, and the like will be introduced and demonstrated. Basic breadboarding techniques will be demonstrated and students will be given an opportunity to develop their own simple circuits. We will show how circuits are constructed that add two two-digit binary numbers together (half-adders and full-adders). Course will be a combination of hands-on, demonstration/lecture, video segments, and computer-aided instruction through CD software.


"Logic, Transistors & Chips"
Course ID: 214 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 202, or equivalent.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course relates number systems to the underlying digital electronic components (esp. transistors) that are the basis for computers and other digital devices. The concepts of binary, On/Off and transistors operating as a “switch” will be unified. Special attention will be given to the story behind the invention of the transistor through an excellent video that shows its significance and its foundation for much of what goes on in Silicon Valley. Students will be given an opportunity to handle transistors, and a basic introduction to digital circuits will be given. We will show how transistors can be used as a switch to illuminate an LED in a simple circuit. We will present a brief introduction to microprocessors (Pentium® CPU’s) so that the student understands how a computer computes. Finally, we will introduce truth tables (AND, OR, and NOT), and show how transistors are used as building blocks to construct more complicated integrated circuits that form the basis of microprocessors, memory, and storage devices (it all comes back to the transistor!). The class will culminate in a field trip to the Intel Museum in Santa Clara. Course will be a combination of hands-on, demonstration/lecture, video segments, and computer-aided instruction through CD software.


"What's Inside the Computer?"
Course ID: 220 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 202, or equivalent, which may be taken concurrently. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This is one of our most popular classes, as it gives students a chance to see what’s going on “under the hood”. We will begin by explaining and demonstrating the safety precautions that must be taken when working with computers. We will then look at the major components of a computer, how they relate to each other, and what they do; we do this from a critical perspective so that students begin to develop an understanding for what makes some computers better than others. We will show, in particular, how motherboards have evolved since their introduction over 20 years ago. We will explain the difference between memory and disk, and students will be given a chance to install and remove memory. After the hands-on portion, we will present a video which demonstrates how one can build one’s own computer. Finally, we will present a checklist for building a computer, along with useful websites, stores, and other resources. Whether or not the student ever builds their own computer, this course is really fun and educational, because it gives students an appreciation for what’s in that “beige box”. It also demonstrates how the previously-learned fundamentals (such as those learned in Computer/Technology 201, 202, and even 203 and 204) come into play.


"Troubleshooting My Computer"
Course ID: 250 [ , ]

Prereq: Computer/Technology 202, or equivalent, which may be taken concurrently. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This is a very popular class, because we all have glitches, gotchas, gaffes and goof-ups with our computers. Wouldn’t it be great if computers always ran without a hitch? Well, they don’t. But, how do we go about fixing them? This class presents troubleshooting methodologies and techniques that can help us refine the art of helping ourselves. Bring your questions, problems, even your computers (!!) to this class, and we’ll help you make sense of them. Then, the next time your computer has a problem, you’ll have a much better understanding of how to tackle it! We’ll look at software installation, operating system re-installs, hardware troubleshooting, device drivers, and more. We’ll also look at activities you should be performing on a regular basis to keep your computer running at its peak, such as scandisk, antivirus protection, Microsoft® Windows Update, power conditioning, etc. Don’t let your computer get the best of you; begin mastering it today!


"Advanced Hardware Fundamentals"
Course ID: 299 [ , , ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 204, or special permission.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course is designed for those who wish to create their own customized course that includes material from one or more of the above courses, either as a review or as newly-introduced material.

This course is also a “catch-all” for those who want more advanced study (beyond Computer/Technology 204) where students can continue to explore more advanced and challenging topics. We will work with parents and students to identify areas of study that are of particular interest. Because of the custom nature of this class, it is likely that the student may be the only one in the “class”, and will receive individualized instruction & guidance.


THE INTERNET & THE WEB (300's)

"Introduction to the Internet"
Course ID: 301 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 101, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 6 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will be given a gentle introduction to the basic tools and techniques for using the Internet. We will approach “Safe Computing” from a pragmatic perspective by introducing “kid-friendly” sites and search engines. Students will learn how to “get on” the Internet by using a browser (Internet Explorer and Opera), navigate via links, and control various aspects of the browsing experience by changing some simple browser settings. Students will also learn how to save favorite sites, organize them, and access these “bookmarks” at a later time. Students will also be introduced to doing research on the Internet, and will learn how to identify “credible” sources of information.


"Introduction to Networks, the Internet & the Web"
Course ID: 302 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 101, or equivalent; and Computer/Technology 201, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

We start the course by explaining that, while “standalone” computers are useful, they can be “hooked together” in a network to harness even more power and flexibility. This leads to a discussion of the natural extension of networks from “LAN’s” to “WAN’s”. We then draw a distinction between the Internet and the World Wide Web (“Web”), and show how the two are related, but very different technologies. We learn how and why the Internet was created, and learn about its place in history. We continue with the history and creation of the Web, looking at its early days and its evolution. We conclude this class by learning about the organizations that set standards and maintain cohesiveness of the Internet and the Web.


"Connecting to the Internet"
Course ID: 303 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 302, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course begins with a comprehensive look at the various technologies used to connect computers to the Internet, such as analog modems, ISDN, and DSL. We then examine the infrastructure of Internet providers so that students can understand how it all “hangs together”. We look at the costs, speeds and bandwidths of the various access methods. We look at the difference between analog and digital communication, and learn how modems work. We discuss how high-speed transmission is accomplished using fiber-optic cable. The course culminates in a visit to a local Internet provider to see the Internet from their perspective.


"Introduction to Web Page Programming"
Course ID: 320 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 301, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course is the first in a series that teaches students how (and why) to write web pages. We begin with an introduction to HTML, the language used to author web pages. We then go through a series of exercises of increasing difficulty that lead students through the construction of their own web pages. After some practice, the students will be introduced to some software tools that help them to create web pages more efficiently. Finally, the students will learn how web pages are uploaded to web servers via programs that implement the FTP protocol.


"Intermediate and Advanced Web Page Programming"
Course ID: 325 [ , , ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 320, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course is a continuation of Computer/Technology 320, and will survey a variety of subjects related to web design, including image capture and preparation (using Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Fireworks), page layout and design principles, automated webpage development (using Macromedia Dreamweaver), audio and video, scripting (using JavaScript), and client/server technologies such as ASP and server-side includes. The course will be tailored to the participants and can draw on several of the above topics, as well as additional topics not mentioned.


"How an Internet Browser Works"
Course ID: 350 [ , ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 320, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

After a brief review of the topics covered in Computer/Technology 301 & 320, we look more closely at the browser as a piece of application software. We examine its inputs (HTML “source code”, etc.) and outputs (a displayed web page, etc.), and learn how the browser communicates with an external website through the HTTP protocol. We examine Internet traffic, and learn how routers are used to direct packets of information in the most efficient manner. We use a tool to “watch” traffic going between the browser and the remote website. Finally, we study Internet connectivity in detail.


LEGO® & LEGO® ROBOTICS (400's)

"Lego® WeDo™ Robotics"
Course ID: 401 [ ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This is an introductory robotics course using the innovative LEGO® WeDo™ robotics system. Students will experiment with design principles, aesthetics, organizational skills, team-playing, & programming, and gain an appreciation for the role of robots in society.


"LEGO® WeDo® Marine Robotics"
Course ID: 405 [ , , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This is a science course using the LEGO® WeDo® robotics system in which students will explore robots in an oceanic context. Students will learn about coral reefs while building a variety of robots, including a scuba diver, a fish, a manta ray and a sea turtle.


"Intermediate LEGO® Robotics"
Course ID: 409 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 401, or equivalent.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course is a continuation of Computer/Technology 401. Students will learn to build more advanced LEGO® robots that perform more complex behaviors. We introduce flowcharts and planning in the robot building process. We also formalize the concept of programming languages, and demonstrate how software relates to the control of devices, such as robots, cars, television set-top boxes (such as TiVo®), and similar devices.


"LEGO® NXT Sumo Robotics"
Course ID: 410 [ ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Learn about robotics, related careers, and programming by combining the art of Sumo wrestling with the creation of computerized robots. Participants will program a robot to push its opponent out of a Sumo arena and explore how to develop the best winning strategies.


"LEGO® NXT Racing Robotics"
Course ID: 415 [ , , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will design & build a robotic racing vehicle, which they will then race on an indoor race track and explore how to develop winning strategies.


"Variety of LEGO® NXT Robotic Creations"
Course ID: 420 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Build and program a variety of "smaller" LEGO® creations, to jumpstart your imagination. These are not just robots! You will build and program a spider, a roller coaster, a remote control vehicle, and more.


"Create a LEGO® Movie"
Course ID: 425 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Learn to make a stop-motion movie using LEGO® bricks and mini figures. Make background scenery, storyboards, gain experience using cameras and tripods, and have fun being a director. [Same as Animation, Art, Photography & Multimedia Course 625].


"LEGO® Robotic Scorpion"
Course ID: 430 [ ]
Prereq: Some prior experience with LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robotics is highly recommended.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Build Spike, a robotic scorpion, and then learn how to program it to behave like a scorpion. Learn about animal behaviors, their habitats, mechanical design, and robotics terminology.


"Build and Program a LEGO® Robotic Animal"
Course ID: 435 [ , , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Build an animal from plans provided. It could be a Frog, Gorilla, Polar Bear, Sloth, Dinosaur, Alligator, or ??. This is a great introduction to "behavior-based robotics", where robots are used to simulate living creatures to help us learn more about them.


"LEGO® NXT Robotics Musical Instruments"
Course ID: 450 [ , , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will explore how robotics can be incorporated in the design of musical instruments. They will design a robotic guitar, trumpet, drum, or xylophone, and then learn how to program it to play music. Along the way, students will learn about sensors, gears, pitch, tone and rhythm.


"Introduction to Simple Machines"
Course ID: 460 [ , ]

Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will learn about engineering concepts, simple machines (levers, axles, gears, pulleys, and more), problem solving, the scientific method, and engineering careers. They will build a variety of models incorporating simple machines, including a vehicle and a windmill, and then test their models.


"LEGO® Robotics Challenge Lab"
Course ID: 480 [ , , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Design and build a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robot to interact with objects to complete various missions. Learn about navigation, attachments and the importance of keeping your design simple, while using your creativity to develop winning strategies. This is an excellent class to take if you are thinking about participating in our FIRST LEGO League Challenges/Exhibitions that we offer in the Spring and Fall of each year, but the class is equally fun for all.


"LEGO® Design and Building Lab"
Course ID: 490 [ , , ]

Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Using LEGO® bricks and specialty pieces, kids will build themed designs, play LEGO® board games, design LEGO® structures on the computer, & learn building techniques and tips. There will be a different theme each week. Workshops will also be provided.


"LEGO® League Spring Challenge"
Course ID: 499 [ , , , ]

Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

What is it?
The theme for our Spring Challenge is “Robots on Parade”. Each team of students will:

  1. Design and build a parade “float” that will be pulled by a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robot;
  2. Design, build & program a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robot that will pull their float;
  3. Program their robot to use a Light Sensor to follow a black line (the parade route);
  4. Program their robot to use an Ultrasonic Sensor to prevent their robot and float from running into the robot in front of theirs;
  5. Design and build scenery using craft materials, LEGO constructions, etc., which will be placed on a portion of the parade route;
  6. Create a tri-fold presentation board to show what you have accomplished in pictures and words;
  7. Participate in the Robot Parade at the Celebration Demonstration Open House on April 21. The public, as well as local media (TV and Press) will be invited.

How it Works:

Each team will need a parent/coach and a place to meet. Teams will be composed of 4-6 students, and will meet one or more times a week, often in a team member’s garage. It will be up to you and your team to decide the dates, times and frequency that you will meet, but we recommend you meet at least 2 hours each week. The team is issued a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT Robotics Kit, along with the materials and guidelines for the Challenge. Each team will need the use of a computer, preferably a laptop running either Windows 7 or Windows XP, which is not provided by the Challenge. Apple computers are not recommended.

The Challenge is open to any child in Monterey County, age 6 and up. Basic knowledge of building with LEGO®s, and following LEGO® instructions are helpful, but familiarity or knowledge of LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT Robotics is not necessary. There are various levels of difficulties in the challenge in order to accommodate the participants’ range of experience and abilities.

The role of the team coach is not to provide technical know-how or provide solutions to the design and build, but rather to shepherd the team to cooperatively seek solutions, help the team keep their focus and not get stuck on minor details, guide the team in formulating a plan with a timeline, and stick to it in order to have something to show off at the exhibition.

Registration:

* * * Enrollment Closed. Event Cancelled. * * *


COMPUTER PROGRAMMING (500's)

"Introduction to Programming with DarkBASIC"
Course ID: 505 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 202, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

When we ask kids what kind of programs they want to learn how to write, they almost always say “Games!”. Unfortunately, writing games is one of the most complex programming activities, because you are required to understand many details of drawing shapes, 3-D principles, data structures, etc. That is, until now! We have found an outstanding programming language, DarkBASIC, that has been specifically designed to get games up-and-running quickly because of the advanced language statements. But, the other main advantage of learning this language is that it is based on the original BASIC programming language, an excellent “first” language, as it is very easy to learn and “read” (unlike C++, for example). Once the BASIC language is mastered, we can go on into 2-D and 3-D programming. This course is the first in a series that introduces the simpler elements of the DarkBASIC language, and is the stepping-stone to more advanced programming. We will only touch on 2-D and 3-D in this class, and will learn many of the principles required to write more complex programs in more advanced classes.


"Introduction to Data Structures and 2-D Programming"
Course ID: 506 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 505, or equivalent.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This class is a continuation of Computer/Technology 505. We write more advanced programs with DarkBASIC, explore simple data structures (arrays, stacks, and queues), and learn about algorithms via sorting numbers, all important groundwork for more advanced work. We also learn the 2-D language statements that enable us to draw and manipulate simple shapes. We will begin to see how what we’ve learned can be used to create games.


"Introduction to 3-D Programming with DarkBASIC"
Course ID: 507 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 506, or equivalent.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course is a continuation of Computer/Technology 506. We do more advanced work with 2-D, exploring the power of the DarkBASIC language. Students then have an option to create a full-blown application using what’s been learned so far, or choosing to learn principles of 3-D and its associated language statements. After a good bit of exploring the 3-D power of the language, we will help students develop a program which “puts it all together”.


"Advanced Programming with DarkBASIC"
Course ID: 508 [ , ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 507, or equivalent, or special permission.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course is a continuation of Computer/Technology 507, and will be tailored to the course attendees. There is a wealth of additional material to explore, such as advanced data structures, algorithms, and more advanced features of DarkBASIC. Students who wish to learn another programming language, once they’ve learned Dark BASIC, should enroll in this course.


"Video Game Programming"
Course ID: 510 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Using a variety of software programs, learn how to design and create your own video game. Learn the art of planning the game, programming, terminology, problem solving, and critical thinking. Have fun playing it, too!


"Android™ App Design"
Course ID: 520 [ , , , ]

Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This class is an excellent introduction to computer programming. Students will create apps (miniature programs) for Android devices (phones, tablets, etc.) using MIT App Inventor, a blocks-based programming language. Students will work in teams to develop fun and engaging games and other useful apps.


ANIMATION, ART, PHOTOGRAPHY & MULTIMEDIA (600's)

"Introduction to Animation"
Course ID: 601 [ ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Get an overview of animation by learning a variety of software programs to create 2-D and 3-D animations of your own. Learn about different animation techniques, concepts and careers.


"Introduction to Animation"
Course ID: 602 [ ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This is an introductory mini-course covering computer animation. Kids will have fun while learning what it is like to be a computer animator. They will make a short animated movie as a final project.


"Scratch Animation"
Course ID: 603 [ ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Get an overview of animation by learning the animation program called Scratch, developed by MIT. Learn about different animation techniques, concepts and careers.


"Animation with Virtual LEGO® Minifigs"
Course ID: 605 [ , , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Get an overview of animation by learning two different software programs to create animations. Students will animate virtual LEGO minifigures while learning about various animation techniques & concepts.


"Animation: Intermediate"
Course ID: 610 [ ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 601, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course presents a survey of the field of animation, including software and technologies used to produce movies such as Shrek and Monsters, Inc. We will discuss how animation has evolved over the past 50 years, and explain the roles of computers and animators in this process. Students will have hands-on instruction using various professional software programs, including Macromedia Flash and Alias|Wavefront Maya (the latter is the primary program used by professional animators today).


"Clay Animation"
Course ID: 620 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Plan, design a storyboard, and write a script. Then, build clay characters, scenery and props to bring your story to life using a digital camera, tripod, animation software and moviemaking techniques. (Note: Course cost includes a $10 Materials Fee).


"Stop-Motion Movie-Making using a Green Screen"
Course ID: 622 [ , , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will have fun learning how to make a stop-motion movie. They will also learn to incorporate and use a green screen as their background to transport their character to any place in the world. Students will learn to plan their movie, design storyboards, use art software, film the movie and finally edit the movie.


"Create a LEGO® Movie"
Course ID: 625 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Learn to make a stop-motion movie using LEGO® bricks and mini figures. Make background scenery, storyboards, gain experience using cameras and tripods, and have fun being a director. [Same as LEGO® & LEGO® Robotics Course 425].


"Computer Art"
Course ID: 630 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Learn a variety of computer art programs similar to what a graphic artist would use. Paint with watercolors & oils, and draw with pencils, pastels and charcoal --- all on a computer. Then, create a 3-D virtual art museum to display your computer-created artwork.


"3-D Virtual Art Museum"
Course ID: 635 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Learn to use a variety of computer art programs and study different artists' styles. Virtually visit museums from around the world and then create a 3-D virtual art museum to display your computer-created artwork.


"Computer Design/Drawing"
Course ID: 640 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Learn a variety of computer design and drawing programs. Paint with watercolors & oils, and draw with pencils, pastels and charcoal --- all on a computer. Then, create a virtual museum to display your computer-created designs.


"Computer Design/Drawing"
Course ID: 641 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Learn a variety of computer design and drawing programs. Paint with watercolors & oils, and draw with pencils, pastels and charcoal --- all on a computer. Have building your own art portfolio!


"Fun with Digital Photography"
Course ID: 660 [ , , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Learn new digital camera skills and refine the ones you already know. Learn how to use a digital camera to take quality and interesting photos. Practice transferring photos to a computer, editing photos, enhancing photos, and making fun photo projects.


"Advanced Multimedia"
Course ID: 699 [ , ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 601, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course is available for students who wish to explore more advanced multimedia topics for which we do not have individual courses yet, such as: Advanced Flash, Maya, Audio (including music production, MIDI, audio formats including MP3 and WAV), Video (including video production, digital cameras, titling, storyboarding, etc.), Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Aobe PageMaker, Adobe InDesign, Macromedia Fireworks, etc.


"CRITICAL SKILLS" COURSES (700's)

"Microsoft® Windows Operating System Techniques: Beginning"
Course ID: 710A [ ]

Prereq: Computer/Technology 101, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

We’ll cover many topics in this comprehensive, practical course on how to get the most out of Windows: what files are & how they’re organized and stored, file suffixes, folders, the Desktop, shortcuts, “saving” files, “Find”, the Start menu & how to organize it, the System Tray, the Taskbar, minimizing and maximizing windows, “right-clicking” to access context menus, customization of your workspace, how to properly shutdown your computer, scrolling, the Task Manager, the Control Panel, the Recycle Bin, and more!


"Microsoft® Windows Operating System Techniques: Int./Adv."
Course ID: 710B [ , ]

Prereq: Computer/Technology 710A, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course is a continuation of Computer/Technology 710A, which we briefly review, then introduce the following additional topics: Hidden files, power-saving configuration, adjusting the settings of your mouse and keyboard, inventorying your system, adding and removing software nd hardware components, configuring sound, Windows Update, antivirus protection, and more! Those who desire advanced instruction should also sign up for this course.


"Microsoft® Word: Beginning"
Course ID: 720A [ ]

Prereq: Computer/Technology 710A, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course is a systematic presentation of the world’s most popular word processor, and covers the following topics: how to set up a document (margins, page orientation, etc.), character and paragraph formatting (fonts, line spacing, etc.), page headers and footers, page and column breaks, bulleted and numbered lists, copy/paste/delete, spelling and grammar checking, image handling, saving, and printing.


"Microsoft® Word: Intermediate/Advanced"
Course ID: 720B [ , ]

Prereq: Computer/Technology 720A, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course is a continuation of Computer/Technology 720A, and is highly recommended for those that really want to “master” Word. We cover the following topics in detail: fonts (True Type, Adobe, etc.), how to design a document so it looks “professional”, configuring Word (Options), styles (very important!!), tables, pagination, macros, tools, borders and shading, using Help, and more! Those who desire advanced instruction should also sign up for this course.


"Microsoft® Excel: Beginning/Intermediate"
Course ID: 730A [ , ]

Prereq: Computer/Technology 710A, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Microsoft Excel is perhaps one of the most-underappreciated programs available. We dispel that notion by showing just how powerful Excel is. We cover the following topics: setting up a spreadsheet, entering and editing data, formatting (cell formatting, alignment, resizing columns and rows, character formatting, borders and shading), setting up formulas, creating charts and graphs, and more!


"Microsoft® Excel: Intermediate/Advanced"
Course ID: 730B [ , ]

Prereq: Computer/Technology 730A, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

In this course, a continuation of Computer/Technology 730A, we develop a budget for a fictitious company, and learn the importance of: planning, the visual presentation of data through graphs and pictures, “what-if’s”, scenarios, field validation, tools, add-in’s, and more! This course will be tailored for the age groups taking the class. Those who desire advanced instruction should also sign up for this course. More advanced students will explore some of the statistical and business analysis tools on a level suitable and meaningful for them. This course is a “must” for those who wish to “master” Excel.


"Microsoft® PowerPoint: Beginning/Intermediate"
Course ID: 740A [ , ]
Prereq: Computer/Technology 710A, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

PowerPoint is used to create presentations (face-to-face, or “canned” for later consumption). We introduce the following concepts: creating a presentation, slides, formatting techniques, views, transitions, animation, sound, Speaker Notes, and techniques for designing effective presentations. Instruction will be tailored to the ages of the students taking the course.


"Microsoft® Access: Beginning/Intermediate"
Course ID: 750A [ , ]

Prereq: Computer/Technology 710A, or equivalent. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

This course introduces the concept of a database from a practical point-of-view, using the world’s most popular desktop database management system. We cover the following topics: what is a database?, why do I need one?, design techniques, normalization, user-interfaces, querying techniques, importing and exporting data, field validation, and more. We also gently introduce the concept of customization using VBA (Visual Basic), and will happily go into depth for more advanced students.


THEMED ENTERTAINMENT (800's)

"Theme Park Design"
Course ID: 810 [ , ]

Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Plan, design, virtually build and manage a theme park on the computer. Learn how roller coasters work, how to design amusement park rides, theming, and how to make your park successful, using a computer program. Then, physically build a theme park ride using hands-on K'NEX kits.


OTHER COURSES (900's)

"The Science Behind Sports"
Course ID: 905 [ , , ]

Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will explore the connection between science and sports. Sports do not just involve strength and skill; they involve forces, gravity, trajectory, energy, physiology, technology and much more. Students will have fun performing experiments as well as computer simulations related to sports science.


"Forensic Science"
Course ID: 910 [ ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Get an overview of forensic science and crime scene investigation techniques using problem solving, analytical skills and science lab skills. Learn about fingerprinting, crime scene protection, trace evidence, fiber analysis, forensic anthropology, the FBI, and more.


"All About Energy"
Course ID: 920 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

By designing and building virtual cities of the future, students will learn about many forms of energy generation, such as thermal, ocean, solar, hydro and more, as well as learn about environmental management. They will also learn about environmental stewardship and urban (city) design.


"Marine Biology"
Course ID: 930 [ , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will learn to understand the world of marine biology and what it is like to be a marine biologist. Using a variety of media, they will study the ocean floors, coral reefs and sponges, the deep sea, microbes, fish, tides, marine reptiles and birds, and related careers.


"Aviation for Kids"
Course ID: 940 [ , , ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will virtually fly a plane through the use of a computer software program as well as fly a remote-control helicopter. They will learn to taxi, take off, fly, bank, land, etc. Students will also learn about the history and science of flight, the parts of planes and helicopters, flight safety, and careers related to flying.


"Geology"
Course ID: 950 [ ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Students will explore the world of geology by performing a variety of experiments and completing fun activities. They will learn about types of rocks, the rock cycle, plate tectonics, and much more.


"Sport Stacking"
Course ID: 980 [ , , ]

Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Have fun learning to sport stack (stack specialized cups in patterns), while increasing your hand-eye coordination, flexibility, reaction time, and ambidexterity. Sport Stacking promotes physical fitness, as well as helps academic learning through concentration. You have to try it to believe it. Kids love it!


SPECIALTY COURSES (5000's)

"Computer and Digital Camera Basics"
Course ID: A5001 [ ]
Prereq: None.
Length: 4 to 8 sessions, 1 to 2 hours each.

Enhance or learn new computer and digital camera skills and learn how to make the computer your friend. Learn to use the computer to:

  • Communicate with family and friends
  • Write and send correspondence
  • Track expenses and prepare a home budget
  • Find friends and family members
  • Research your genealogoy
  • Navigate the Internet quickly
  • Research health care information
  • Upload files
  • Transfer photos to your computer
  • Edit photos
  • Do art on the computer
  • Make an online photo album
  • Perform secure Internet shopping
  • Make greeting cards


Thank you for your interest!

Please note: We are continually adding classes to our curriculum. If you don't see the class you'd like to take, please contact us. Chances are, we're very interested in offering such a course and/or could offer one custom-made just for you!