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We offer courses in 5 broad areas: Chess, Code Academy, Minecraft Madness!, Robotics, and Video GameMaker.

Below is a general overview of our courses. Specific course descriptions can be found with the course listings for each month and the summer.

Chess:

chessChess is a wonderful pursuit, as this timeless game provides a range of benefits. Chess helps develop critical thinking skills; improve academic performance; and build sportsmanship, self-confidence, and discipline. Nicely, chess is very appealing to many kids, as it’s interesting, challenging, and a lot of fun to play.

Each of our chess courses includes a fun mix of more-formal instruction, practical exercises, and playing opportunities. Our instructors monitor and work individually with students in the development of their chess skills, with separate sections for beginning, intermediate, and more-advanced players.

Code Academy:

scratchCode Academy is our program of courses designed to introduce students to the study and use of computer science. Our particular focus is on helping students to develop their programming and coding skills.

We currently offer courses in Scratch, App Development, Python, and Java. Our Scratch and App Development courses introduce students to the basics of programming. Scratch is a simple visual programming language designed specifically for ease of use by children. It is an excellent first programming language as it is fun, educationally rewarding, and easy to learn. Similarly, we use the student-friendly visual programming language App Inventor to let students begin to design and build their own functional apps.

programming for kidsOur Python and Java courses introduce students to the basics of coding. Python is a general purpose (animation, games, apps etc) programming language that is based on actual lines of code. It is commonly used to first expose students to coding because of its simplicity, ease of use, and versatility. Our Java courses let more-advanced students begin to learn this widely-used and foundational programming language.

Students progress through our Code Academy courses at their own pace. Students can take these courses as many times as desired, as each time they can continue to build on their knowledge of computer science while undertaking new projects.

Minecraft Madness!:

minecraft coursesMinecraft is a widely popular 3D video game that lets users explore, construct, create, and interact inside an open and changeable virtual world. Because of its educational potential, Minecraft has evolved into an excellent (and engaging) way to expose students to STEM-related subjects, including especially computer science and technology.

We offer a series of Minecraft courses throughout the year. These courses have been developed specifically to take advantage of Minecraft’s educational possibilities, as well as to let students enjoy a favorite activity. If students are already Minecrafters, these courses will satisfy their love of the game. If they are not familiar with Minecraft, these courses are a wonderful way to get started on developing a digital literacy that will aid them throughout their academic careers.

Students can take our Minecraft courses as often as desired, as each course introduces a new world or civilization, with different missions, quests, or challenges. Students do not need a Minecraft account as we use a proprietary curriculum where kids access Minecraft using our accounts and explore and learn in our networked server.

Students who are Minecrafters may be interested in our Minecraft Modding courses where they can learn to build mods for the Minecraft game. Students who have never used Minecraft will also find themselves intrigued by the game and the possibility of making changes to its various worlds. Students do not need a Minecraft account for these courses as we use a modding curriculum accessed through our accounts and networked server. Students learn to create modifications (mods) to existing Minecraft worlds using an icon-based programming language. This icon-based software incorporates the widely used programming language Java. As students develop their modding skills, they also start to learn about Java and how it is used in coding. Returning students can continue to build upon their existing mods or embark on new projects.

Robotics:

LEGO RoboticsWe have a special interest in robotics and conduct our robotics courses throughout the year. These courses are designed both for students who want to start to learn about this fascinating field as well as for students who want to continue to explore the subject in more depth.

Students are introduced to the basics of robotics while working hands-on with various LEGO robotic systems, including Mindstorms, Mindstorms NXT, and EV3. Students design and construct different robots and then use computers to teach them to move, react, and solve various challenges.

Our monthly school-year courses and weekly summer courses are designed for both new and returning students as the courses include both beginner and more advanced sections. For more advanced students, we also offer longer 8-week courses that let them undertake more involved projects that cannot be completed in our standard course lengths.

In addition to our regular robotics courses, we have various special courses, such as Sumo Bot Olympics, that let students put their skills to work in handling different design challenges.

Video GameMaker:

Our Video GameMaker courses let students become creators as well as consumers of these widely played games. Students are introduced to the basics of game development while learning to use Kodu gamemaking software. This software uses a visual programming language designed to be accessible to children and made specifically for creating games. Kodu’s various capabilities enable students to develop and program a wide range of inventive and visually interesting games that are played in a 3-D world. As students progress from single player to multiplayer, multi-level games, they are also exposed to the software Gamestar Mechanic. This user-friendly software was developed specifically to aid students in honing their game design skills.

Our monthly school-year courses and weekly summer courses are designed for both new and returning students as the courses include both beginner and more advanced sections. For more advanced students, we also offer longer 8-week courses that let them undertake more involved projects that cannot be completed in our standard course lengths.