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Courses

Program Levels

Students are grouped according to grade and ability level and attend classes from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day, with a lunch break at noon. Classes in mathematics, physics, computer science, creative writing, history, and environmental science. Typically, students are grouped as follows:

  • A Fifth and Sixth Grade Program: The reading assignment for this year is TBA. Please try to have it finished by check-in on Sunday, June 17, and bring a copy with you to camp. Library copies and e-copies are acceptable. Wesleyan Summer Gifted Camp cannot be responsible for lost library books.
  • A Seventh and Eighth Grade Program – Intermediate
  • A Ninth and Tenth Grade Program – Advanced
  • Eleventh and Twelfth Grade – College Prep

Professors will adjust difficulty levels for students on an individual basis within each class.

Computer Programming (5th and 6th grades)

Students are introduced to the basics of computer programming starting with the BASIC language. During the first week of the course, students learn how to set up simple programs, input data, and output using print statements. Students also learn some simple graphics and sound commands. During the second week, the students write their own programs using the tools learned from the first week.


Physics (5th and 6th grades)

This course typically covers astronomy and geology topics in alternating years. Astronomy topics include the Sun, the planets, stars, and galaxies. Geology topics include minerals and rocks, plate tectonics, volcanism, and earthquakes. Students spend time in the classroom, doing experiments in labs, and outside making observations. Students use basic algebra to solve math problems.


Physics (8th grade)

This course typically covers mechanics, including Newton’s Laws of motion, projectile motion, force, kinetic and potential energy, and conservation of energy and momentum. This course involves both lecture and lab work. Students use algebra to solve problems.


Physics (9th and 10th grades)

This course typically covers topics from electricity, magnetism, atomic, and nuclear physics, including light, radiation, and quantum mechanics. This course involves both lecture and lab work. Students use advanced algebra to solve problems.


Environmental Science

Course Emphasis: Environmental Science involves a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the interaction of humans and the planet. Our emphasis will be on developing foundational knowledge of chemistry, ecology, economics, and social issues which can then be applied in the application and integration of scientific principles in environmental case studies.

Learning Outcomes: At the completion of this course, you will be able to 1) identify and understand the basic concepts, theories, and laws of science; 2) be able to critically and creatively evaluate case studies and laboratory experiments using a scientific approach; 3) demonstrate quantitative skills via integration of mathematical equations and graphs; 4) be able to inform and educate others the role of the environment in our sustainable future; and 5) value the importance of environmental science as a multidisciplinary approach concerned with developing and maintaining sustainable solutions to environmental issues.


Mathematics for Fifth and Sixth Graders

An introduction to the principles of algebra and geometry. Solving algebraic equations, plotting graphs, similar and congruent triangles. Solving least-time and least-distance problems, Pythagoras’ Theorem. Applications to real world problems.


Mathematics for Seventh and Eighth Graders

The basic principles of algebra, solving first- and second-order algebraic equations, plotting graphs of polynomials, learning the conic sections, an introduction to the trigonometric functions, applications to real world problems.


Mathematics for Ninth and Tenth Graders

Advanced algebra and trigonometry, solving polynomial equations, plotting graphs of higher algebraic and trigonometric functions, learning to work with matrices and determinants, the concept of the limit, applications to real world problems.


Advanced Mathematics

An introduction to the methods of calculus, the limit, the derivative, the integral, L’Hospital’s Rule, solving motion problems, max/min problems, finding areas and volumes, applications to real world problems.


Salem Witch Hysteria

The course will explore the infamous history of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials to reveal the various debates over religious views, economic power, political rivalries, and gender dynamics that drove the witch hysteria. By identifying the different “players” in the hysteria, we will discover how the Puritan residents of Salem were not really frightened by witchcraft. Instead, they were scared of the political, economic, and social changes their community was facing. Exposing the hidden connections behind those who were accused of witchcraft and their accusers, will offer a new and complex look into what is often described as a simple case of mass paranoia and superstition.


Conquering the American West

This summer we will explore the history of western expansion in the 19th century through the perspectives of those actively engaged in the movement west and those caught in the way of that movement. We will compare and contrast the experiences of the white western settlers making a life for themselves as ranchers, miners, and farmers and, of course, what the expansion of white western settlement meant for the future of Native American tribes.


Creative Writing: Dr. Eric Waggoner

This course provides grade-appropriate introductory and advanced creative writing instruction in poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction. Students write in class and out of class (for more complex assignments), from prompts or on the subject matter of their choosing, and receive feedback from the instructor, with many opportunities to share their work with their classmates. Students write a combination of short and longer pieces, and many choose to share their work at the camp-closing talent show.