About the Course

Decoding Our World

How do we see, perceive, and describe the world around us? We can use mathematics to measure, calculate, and find patterns. We can use technology to expand what we see and observe. And we can tell stories to capture details and create meaning from our experiences. This course sampler gives students an opportunity to explore and describe the world from new and different perspectives. 

The sampler will be designed with three cohorts of 3rd and 4th grade students using the following courses as a basis: 

Math: Geometry and Spatial Sense 

Spatial understanding is necessary for interpreting, understanding, and appreciating our inherently geometric world. Many everyday tasks such as designing a treehouse, solving a jigsaw puzzle, or laying out a garden require spatial reasoning abilities. This course will help students develop those abilities through hands-on investigations and discussions about big ideas as they learn practical and fun ways to apply geometric foundations and spatial sense to the larger world.

In this course, students will learn how to: 

  • Use coordinates (scale drawing) to develop enlarged images
  • Classify and categorize angles and geometric shapes 
  • Define and calculate perimeter, area, and volume 
  • Compare geometric objects to determine best fit 
  • Construct figures using a protractor, compass, and straight edge 
Science: Through the Microscope 

Today’s 3D microscopes that can capture the nerve connections inside a brain are a far cry from the magnifying lenses ground by hand in the 13th century. Yet both can help us think critically about microscopic worlds. In this course, we’ll learn to identify the parts of a microscope and how they work together to serve as a window into another world. We’ll learn how scientists use microscopes and we’ll record our own observations —such as the color, shape, and features of different cells and multicellular organisms—in a lab notebook. Along the way, students will learn to think and do research like real scientists and gain an introduction to the field of biology.

In this course, students will learn how to: 

  • Explain how light, refraction, and magnification make a microscope work
  • Examine and identify the parts and functionality of a microscope, and calculate magnification
  • Use microscopes to make observations and record specific details in a lab notebook, such as the color, shape, and features of different cells and multicellular organisms 
  • Model scientific techniques for using microscopes as a tool to investigate cell responses to changes in the cell’s environment 
Writing: Being a Reader, Becoming a Writer 

How do writers effectively capture the people and places they observe? In this course, we’ll read pieces of fiction and nonfiction and begin to explore the elements of good storytelling. Students will learn to provide details that develop character and a sense of place, and to think inwardly as they write a short story or personal narrative based on people and places they know.

In this course, students will learn how to:

  • Keep a writer’s journal
  • Create a story using the writing process
  • Explain the basic elements of narrative writing
  • Understand and apply the concept “show, don’t tell”
  • Illustrate and apply elements of character development
  • Apply various writing techniques for creating a setting of a story
  • Explain the importance of the use of the five senses and realistic details in a story
  • Provide constructive feedback to peers in a writers’ workshop setting

Summer Dates & Locations

Registration deadline:

Session One

Image of the Quest Academy in Palatine, Illinois.
Palatine, Illinois
Commuter cost: $3,099
Additional fees: $50
Image of Mirman School
Los Angeles, California
Commuter cost: $3,599
Additional fees: $50

Session Two

Image of Mirman School
Los Angeles, California
Commuter cost: $3,599
Additional fees: $50

Testing and Prerequisites

  Math Verbal
Required Level Not required Not required
Check your eligibility using existing test scores If you do not have existing test scores:

Students must achieve qualifying scores on an advanced assessment to be eligible for CTY programs. If you don’t have qualifying scores, you have several different testing options. We’ll help you find the right option for your situation.

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Cost and Financial Aid

  • Tuition
    • Varies
  • Application fee
    • Nonrefundable Application Fee - $50 (Waived for financial aid applicants)
    • Nonrefundable International Fee - $250 (outside US only)

Financial Aid is available

We are committed to serving all talented youth regardless of financial circumstances. Financial assistance is available based on need.

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About Language Arts at CTY

Explore storytelling

Want to have fun reading popular stories and writing your own tales of adventure? Pen your hero’s journey and explore a diverse range of books in Behind the Mask: Superheroes Revealed, or have fun shaping your prose and experimenting with different formats and styles in Fiction and Poetry.

Find your voice

Take your writing to the next level! In Writing and Imagination, you can build your vocabulary and gain the tools to write your own creative fiction. You’ll learn to craft compelling narratives about your own experiences at the college level in Crafting the Essay, and have fun learning new literary devices and figurative language in Writing Your World.

Meet our instructors and staff

Explore the study of shapes

Many of our courses allow students to describe the world around them in basic and profound ways. Our younger students learn about shape, scale, and proportion in Geometry and Spatial Sense. Middle School students explore beautiful real-world applications of lines; analyze data based on curves that fit a uniform, symmetric and bell-shaped, or skewed pattern in Data and Chance. And advanced students explore the underlying mathematics and fundamental characteristics of shapes, distance, and continuous deformations in our proof-based Topology course.

Dive deep into logic and reasoning

Our courses in formal logic give you the tools to question the world around you. Inductive and Deductive Reasoning introduces younger students to different types of reasoning, as well as the strengths and weaknesses inherent in various forms of critical analysis. Older students explore how logical reasoning can explain (or fail to explain) counter-intuitive results in Paradoxes and Infinities, or take a more rigorous approach to formal logic in Mathematical Logic.

Meet our instructors and staff

Explore space and our planet

In our Introduction to Astronomy course, we’ll visit a nearby observatory or planetarium, see what the cosmos looks like through various spectra, and immerse ourselves in the science and technology that bring the universe closer to home. In Marine Ecology, we’ll visit local wetlands and tidepools, observe flora and fauna, collect water samples and analyze them for clues about their health and humans’ impact. And in The Global Environment, we will explore the human impact on our environment and generate proposals for addressing climate change.

Bond over chemistry

Our chemistry courses help you see the world differently, starting at the atomic level. The Edible World gives budding chefs and science lovers a glimpse into the chemical reactions that happen when we make food, and the chemical makeup of meals and treats we eat every day. In our Crystals and Polymers course, we’ll synthesize slime, grow rock candy, and isolate strawberry DNA to learn about the molecular structure of naturally occurring gems and human-produced plastics. In Chemistry in Society, we’ll consider how the chemicals in products can both enhance and degrade the world around us; produce biodiesel in a lab to understand alternative fuels; and prepare aspirin to learn about the healing and toxic properties of pharmaceuticals.

Meet our instructors and staff