The Center for Gifted Education

Summerscape Classes

Morning Courses

Afternoon Courses

Summerscape Morning Courses

Take Off!

Take Off is a class designed to teach basic aerodynamics and the physics of flight. The syllabus incorporates a blend of class discussion, hands-on activities, demonstrations and direct instruction.  Students will learn essential principles of aerodynamics along with the differences between gliding and powered flight, bird/insect flight and mechanical flight.  Some engineering concepts will also be introduced when students investigate weight-saving measures and how to steer an aircraft.  The class culminates with a flying machine contest where groups of students collaborate to design and build their very own aircraft and then watch them Take Off! FEE $10

Instructor: Asikaa Cosgrove, Drury University

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

Geocaching and GPS

Want to learn to use GPS tracking like a Navy Seal does? We will explore the newest technology of hand held global positioning systems and the sport of geocaching. It is an international treasure hunt that uses GPS receivers to locate hidden caches. We will weave the history of Springfield through our discovery of geocaches located in and around Drury and downtown.  Internet research time will uncover the history of Route 66, The First People, The Cobra Scare of Springfield,  Pythian Castle, and Doling Park.  Pack your walking shoes, a water bottle, and your sense of adventure as we cache our way through Summerscape. 

Instructor: Debbie Clary, Phelps Center for Gifted in Springfield

Goldberg & His Crazy Contraptions

Do you like the sound of pounding hammers, the feel of sticky duct tape, or the sight of marbles rolling down a tube?  You will put your creative imagination to work and experience many hands-on activities as you learn about Rube Goldberg, the man who invented crazy contraptions that made simple tasks very complicated.  As you build two Goldberg contraptions of your own, your imagination will come to life as balls roll, dominoes tumble, and levers tilt.

Instructor: Darlene Taylor, Phelps Center for the Gifted, BRIDGES

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

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, Central High School

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 Carl, Central High School, 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 Uzzelle, Central IB Program

Summerscape Afternoon Courses

The Watering Whole - Not Naked and Afraid

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, Central High School Gifted Program, Springfield

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

Bazaar Cultural Cuisine

Do you have an appetite for international culture and cuisine?  Do you like to travel and experience new things?  Me, too!  Join me as we learn about other countries and their food. We will choose some foods that we would like to explore; learn how to cook them; and eat them!  At the end of the class, you will have a recipe book to take home, and the skills to cook the food, too. We might decide to travel to countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East for a truly international experience.  Yum!  I could go for some crêpes or baklava right now!  $30 FEE.

Instructor: Catia Gilpin, Phelps Center for the Gifted

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 

Instructor: Sarah Gurney, Willard Schools

Caves: The World Below Our Feet

Caves are a unique and special window that allows us to look into the Earth’s history. Come explore our planet in a way very few people ever get to, from the inside out.  For Millions of years caves have been a home to many strange and exotic animals as well as humans. Through our explorations we will get hands on with rare animals that only survive in the harsh environment of caves. We will also look at the prehistoric beasts that once called the caves of Missouri their home and how their extinction allowed humans to begin to use caves for shelter.  FEE $30

Instructor: Matt Forir, Missouri Institute of Natural Science, Springfield, MO


NEWS RELEASE: An ancient Mayan tomb has just been discovered in Southwest Guatemala. Your help is needed to navigate a robot through the tomb to discover its riches. Are you ready for an adventure to Central America to investigate a Mayan ruin? Your trip will be filled with intrigue, laced with traditions of the Mayan people, and driven by the robots that you design, create, and program to complete tasks inside the Mayan tomb. You will solve complex programming problems with Lego NXT robotic kits. After investigating the ancient Mayan civilization, including their customs, architecture, and food, we will discuss their importance and the impact of their culture and advancements on society.  Don't forget to bring your imagination, problem solving skills, cooperative attitude, and sense of adventure for this incredible journey to the Guatemalan jungle.

Instructor: Erica Hankison, Phelps Center for Gifted Education, Springfield      

Who Needs a Hero?

Who is your hero, and why? Harry Potter, Odysseus, Katniss Everdeen, and Frodo Baggins share more than a bookshelf. They travel the same path of events under different costume, and they are popular literary figures because their journey is also ours. In 1968, comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell outlined this journey by looking for common elements in myths across world cultures. In this course, we will look for Campbell’s Hero’s Journey in the fiction and movies we love, in the mythology of the ancients, and in the news. If you like to dream stories or understand people, come along!

Instructor: Dr. Kris Wiley, Drury University in Springfield