Summerscape Classes

Summerscape Morning Courses

The Watering Whole

What would you do if you were stranded somewhere without water? Would you drink from a stream? Do you appreciate your water supply? Do you really understand how we get the water we drink and use every day and what is done to it between point A and point B? We will explore, in depth, a watershed in our own community. Walking field trips will include a tour of the Jordan Creek tunnels, and off-site field trips to the Watershed Center of the Ozarks to conduct stream sampling. We will follow a water drop from the place it hits the ground until it ends up in the James River, and look at sources of pollution it may encounter. How do people on shows like Survivor get clean water to drink? How do we?
Instructor: Elicia Ligon, Phelps Center for Gifted Education - Scholars, Springfield


Games, Game Theory, and Strategic Thinking. Games can challenge and sharpen your intellect—but did you know they can also provide insights into human and even animal behavior? We’ll play games and talk about games and how game theory can help in decision-making for tomorrow’s leaders. Having trouble convincing your parents that a game class is more than fun and games? Tell them eight game theorists have won the Nobel Prize in Economics. Besides an introduction into game theory, you’ll learn addictive games such as Diplomacy (featuring negotiation and geopolitical strategy) and Pig (spelling and strategy).
Instructor: Joe Miller, Attorney at Law, Springfield, Missouri

Crime Scene Investigator

A crime has been committed, and it was one of your classmates! How do we find out who it was? Use a lie detector? No. Not reliable enough. Torture? No. Too messy. Have a line up? No. Many of the Summerscapers look alike and could be falsely accused as the criminal. Ah ha!! Let’s use forensic science techniques to solve the crime and correctly identify the guilty person. It has been proven reliable, is not too messy and it is easy to collect and analyze the evidence. We will be using the same forensic techniques and scientific analysis to solve our own classroom mystery. Please join the CSI team and help me to uncover who committed the crime. FEE $10
Instructor: Eric Wilbur, Kickapoo High School, Springfield

Whose Line?

"Whose line is it anyway?" If you've ever seen the show, you now know what this class is all about. These theater games will sharpen your improvisational skills and help you develop the following fundamentals: imagination, concentration, ensemble-building, confidence, observation, and creativity. So, the answer to the question is: "It's your line!" Come and join in the fun.
Instructor: Michael Butcher, Kickapoo High School, Springfield

Digital Image & Design

We will use digital software such as Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and tools such as digital cameras and scanners to explore the integration of visual design principles and digital technology. We will study the design elements of line, balance, rhythm, color theory, texture, and value to create a wide variety of digital collages. Your friends and family will be amazed at the masterpieces you create.
Instructor: Gary Strunk, Retired Central High School, Springfield

The Science of Doctor Who

Do you like stories about adventure? How about robots? Or robot dogs? Scary monsters? Time travel? Wait! What about romance? Aliens? Cowboys and cyborgs? And bowties! (hey, bowties are cool). Do you like dinosaurs in space ships?! If you do, this class is for you! Each episode of Doctor Who is so bizarre and exiting that it’s no wonder the most commonly used word in the series is “RUN!” And this is the unbelievable part…ready?...this is a science class! You get to watch Doctor Who and then learn the science behind those amazing stories!
Instructor: Jackie McCarthy, Phelps Center for Gifted Education - WINGS, Springfield

Hunger Games 101

Do you like literature? Or how about science? Maybe some math too? Are you intrigued by Suzanne Collins dystopian science fiction trilogy? Have you ever considered the science that is interwoven in her novels or what other pieces of literature coincide with her stories? And what about archery, how does that fit into all this? In this class we will explore the literature, math and science connections of The Hunger Games, as well as try our hands at basic archery. FEE $40
Instructor: Audra Uzzell, Phelps Center for Gifted Education - Scholars, Springfield

Born to Read

If reading is as necessary as breathing and if you would rather read than almost anything in the world, Heck, anything! If you never have enough time to just sit and fall into a book, If having uninterrupted reading time sounds like heaven, If your reading list is so long that you have had to start rolling it up, and If you have more piles of books in your room than furniture, and If your best friend is someone who will sit there quietly and read with you, and If you get cranky if it’s been too long between reads, Then, this is your lucky summer! Summerscape is here to fulfill your deepest reading fantasy, and mystery, and adventure, and so on! In this class, we will read, and read, and read, (bring something comfy to read on – an old sleeping bag? Big pillow?) – and we will talk about and experiment with different genres and share some of our favorite bits and books…and those of us who like to write about books can write at length on our class blog and in a journal, too. And those of us who don’t can just write or draw a little. We will also visit how various libraries work and come up with some useful ideas for our fabulous book repositories here in the Queen City. We will also develop a booklist with synopsis to share with all of camp. But mainly, this one is for book lovers! You know who you are!
Instructor: Catia Gilpin, Phelps Center for Gifted Education - WINGS, Springfield

Summerscape Afternoon Courses

Make Your Own books! Explore No-Rules Journaling!

We will make several books using many materials. Then we’ll fill them with doodlings and fiddlings and noodlings and treasures! Some will be beautiful keepsakes. Some might be chaotic and jam-packed with exciting tidbits of inspiration spilling out everywhere. Some will be surprising, causing you to rethink your ideas of what books are. All will be special and unique. You will LOVE making them and using them and having them always.
Instructor: Donna Turner, Warrensburg School District and ARTIST

Becoming Dr. Doolittle: Investigations into Animal Behavior

Have you ever wondered why certain kinds of animals exhibit certain types of behavior? Have you ever wanted to know what an animal is thinking or wished to be able to talk to it? There is an entire branch of science called ethology that studies the behavior of species. Find out these things and more and you might just become a Dr. Doolittle yourself!
Instructor: Phillip Taylor, Willard Schools, Willard, Missouri

Movie Classics

Do you love movies? Do the stories and the way that the films are made fascinate you? If you are a movie buff, this is the class for you. We will take an in depth look at many of the classic films that have significantly influenced modern film and film makers. Through the viewing of these films, you will become a more perceptive viewer of film while learning basic cinematic techniques that define different genres of film. Through analysis and discussion, you will acquire a keener sense of film awareness and a deeper appreciation for the art of film-making.
Instructor: Michael Butcher, Kickapoo High School, Springfield

What Happened to My Hero?

Have you ever wondered why Luke Skywalker doesn't just start pushing the buttons on Darth Vader's chest? And what if Frodo, tired of lembas, had traded in the One Ring for a swiss on rye? Did you ever, once, wonder how Harry Potter would do in the Zombie Apocalypse? In this class, we will abuse our most familiar stories by breaking them down and modifying them with our own creative thought. Along the way, we will discuss the Hero's Journey and other common story arcs, why some tales work better than others, and how Aristotle advised us to pay close attention to our own narratives. A great option for budding authors, screenwriters, cartoonists, animators, or philosophers!
Instructor: Dr. Kris Wiley, Drury University, Springfield

Draw Something!

Tracing, tessellating, tangling…amazing art can begin by simply putting pencil to paper. This class will explore how to create complex art using basic materials, shapes, and concepts. We will study optical illusions to see how and why certain things catch our eyes, and we will use geometry as an artistic building block. Whether you have dreams of being an artist or only know how to draw stick figures, this class has something for you. Come draw something with us!
Instructor: Dee Kerr, Phelps Center for Gifted Education - WINGS, Springfield

Groove Theory: An Exploration into the Realm of Rhythm

In this class, we will explore the vast world of grooves and focus on the rhythms that create them. We will use percussion techniques on instruments and everyday items. Come enjoy various music styles while we layer percussive rhythms and sounds together with others sharing our interests in the primal world of rhythm.
Instructor: Jake Viele, Reed Academy, Springfield


Make the change from being a passive user to active creator. In this class we will invent our own toys, board games, and other creations using duct tape, cardboard, and whatever we can get our hands on. Stop-motion Lego animation and short movies are a possibility, in addition to learning how to use a Makey-Makey, a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino. We will play with some toys including gravity mazes, marble towers, and gears. In short, if you like the idea of science meets art and do-it-yourself projects, this is the place for you. FEE $10
Instructor: Elicia Ligon, Phelps Center for Gifted Education - Scholars, Springfield

Bodyworks for the Medical Mind!!

Does the human body fascinate you? Are you considering a job in a health or medical field someday? Do you like to work with your hands? Attend Body Works! This class is packed with hands-on projects, labs, and field trips about the human body. We will explore careers in this field by talking to experts and people currently in the medical workforce. Some special class activities are a field trip to tour a local hospital, a dissection lab, creating models of the body systems, a visit to The Springfield Discovery Center, and so much more! This course is ideal for students considering the medical field for a program of college study. FEE $30
Instructors: Sarah Gurney & Sarah McDowell, Willard Schools