Summerscape Classes

Summerscape Morning Courses

Aquatic Ecosystems

Have you ever wondered exactly how a single water molecule makes its journey through the ecosystem? We will explore, in depth, a watershed in our own community and follow that water molecule as it travels to the ocean. We will learn about aquatic and marine environments and factors that could affect them. This class will include simulations and scenarios of water pollution, and you will learn how to make "wild" water safe to drink. We will also explore coral reef and ocean ecology through discussions and lab activities about marine animals. Walking field trips will include a tour of the Jordan Creek storm drains under downtown Springfield, the Watershed Center of the Ozarks to conduct stream sampling, and the Wonders of Wildlife aquarium to view animals in replicated habitats. ($30 fee)

Instructor: Elicia Ligon, Phelps Center for Gifted Education - WINGS, Springfield

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. Aha!! 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. ($10 fee)

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

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. ($30 fee)

Instructor: Sarah McDowell, Willard Schools, Green Team Advisor

The Art of Origami

Origami is the Japanese word for paper folding. ORI means to fold and KAMI means paper. Together, they form the word, "origami." It is an art form that has been handed down from parent to child through many generations. In this class we will learn many folding techniques, from the simple crane to intricate animals and geometric shapes. We will also take a look at the history, culture and traditions that this great art form comes from as well as look at how this ancient tradition is still used in many modern scientific and engineering creations.

Instructor: Dee Kerr, Phelps Center for Gifted Education - WINGS, Springfield

Born to Read

If reading is as necessary as breathing and if you would rather read than almost anything in the world, but it never seems like you have enough time to just sit and fall into a book, or having uninterrupted reading time sounds like heaven and your reading list is so long that you have had to start rolling it up, 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

Pure Energy

When you touch your keyboard, or your dog, or a soccer ball, are you really touching it? How is it we dig coal from the ground and turn it into Taylor Swift lyrics? Why is it sometimes hard to rouse in the morning or sleep at night? Energy is, in many ways, the entirety of our existence. Join us to explore its forms, uses, and rules. We’ll be playing with sound and light and motion, as well as learning a bit about physics, chemistry, and other hard sciences, as we seek a new way to see the world around us.

Instructor: Kris Wiley, James Madison University, Virginia

The Science of Superheroes

The Science of Superheroes We are thrilled by the powers of our favorite superheroes: Fighting crime, defeating evil plans and delivering justice to all who would threaten peace! But is this all made-up nonsense or is there real science behind these fantastic stories? In this course, we’ll dive into the world of superheroes, exploring their origins and explaining the science behind their powers. Could there really be X-Men in the future? How could Superman’s heat vision actually work? Could Spiderman’s webs really be that strong? Is Batman truly a superhero? You will take on the roles of investigator, scientist, explorer and creator as we answer all these questions and many more!

Instructor: Dr. Asikaa Cosgrove, Drury University 

Summerscape Afternoon Courses 

Pets R Us                                 

Calling all pet lovers. Have you ever wondered what other jobs your pet could have other than just loving you? Ever wonder how to communicate with your pet? Want to know how to better take care of your pet? Then this is the class for you. In this class we will explore different careers that pets (and their owners) can do. From dog groomers to K9 officers to Service animals, pets, and their people, contribute valuable services to their community.

Instructor: Sarah McDowell, Willard Schools, Green Team Advisor

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


In this class, you will be equipped with a bucket and a pair of drumsticks. We will explore the exciting, primal world of rhythm by playing various games and undergoing challenges. A collaborative marching band style drumline performance will also drive this class, as we create a show to perform for an audience at the end of camp! No musical experience necessary, just a desire to have fun.

Instructor: Jake Viele, Reed Academy, 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 spaceships?! 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

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. ($30 fee)

Instructor: Gary Strunk, Retired Central High School, 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. ($10 fee)

Instructor: Elicia Ligon, Phelps Center for Gifted Education - WINGS, Springfield

Hunger Games: Archery, Engineering and Literature

Explore archery, design and engineer, examine Greek mythology and compare dystopian fiction as we celebrate 10 years of the Hunger Games together. In the Hunger Games class districts will compete against each other through archery, reaping probability, and engineering design challenges and compare the movie with the literature. We will also compare dystopian fiction society with today’s society and the symbolism that exists in our everyday lives. ($40 fee)

Instructor: : Audra Uzzell, Phelps Center for Gifted Education - Scholars, Springfield

The Great Outdoors

Put on your walking shoes and spend some time outside with friends. In this course, we’ll be exploring our environment and who lives there (including us!). We’ll be spending a fair amount of time outside, digging in the dirt, cataloging flora and fauna, then returning to discuss great scientists and adventurers who spent their lives in this way. Along the way, we’ll be engaging the scientific process and engage the life sciences. If you’re looking for a class that gets you out of the desk and into the air, come join us!

Instructor: Dr. Kris Wiley, James Madison University