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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 Around the Moon, by Jules Verne. Please try to have it finished by check-in on Sunday, June 16, 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.


Computer Programming (7th and 8th grades)

Students use the BASIC programming language to solve problems involving polynomial equations and series.  Students also learn how to plot their solutions on screen.


Computational Astrophysics (grades 9-10)

Students use the C programming language to solve common astrophysical problems such as calculating the mass of a star or the orbits of planets.  Students spend part of their time in class learning the fundamentals of planetary orbits and part of their time in the computer lab learning how to write simple program to model planetary systems.


Physics (5th- 8th grades)

In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of rocket and airplane flight.  Topics include 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 in which students build their own water bottle rockets to test the criteria for stable flight. Students use algebra to solve problems.


Environmental Science (All grades)

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.


Salem Witch Hysteria (5th and 6th grades)

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.


Creative Writing (All grades)

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.


Mathematics (All grades)
Cryptography Fundamentals

Cryptography is a science that applies complex mathematics and logic to design strong encryption methods.  Not only are strong encryption methods critical for the high volume of commercial economic transactions on the internet, they are also the key for all transactions in the modern digital society, from ensuring the integrity of data to allowing low-overhead encryption of communication between automated vehicles.  This course will cover both symmetric and asymmetric encryption techniques, as well as other topics, such as hashing algorithms and digital signatures.

Professor Tobin will apply principles of algebra, finite fields, and number theory at all grade levels to show the foundations of cryptography.


Introduction to Gender Studies (7th-12th grades)

Students will explore the role that gender plays in the ordering of society and how perceptions of masculinity and femininity can enhance or limit an individual’s social, legal, economic and political experiences.  The course will address, for example,   gender inequality and how the traditional classification of women as the inferior sex has justified denying women the same rights and opportunities as men throughout history.  It will also explore how certain expressions of masculinity and femininity in today’s popular culture can be harmful to the development of self-worth and self-confidence for both young men and women.