- Grades 3-4
- Science and Engineering
Did you know the idea for the microwave all started with a candy bar? Inventor Percy Spencer was standing in front of a magnetron when he noticed his chocolate treat was melting in his pocket. When Spencer held a bag of corn kernels next to the magnetron and they started popping, he knew he was on to something. This course will teach you about inventors like Spencer, their creations, and their impacts on our world. If you’re the kind of kid who likes to take things apart to figure out how they work, this is the class for you. You’ll deconstruct household gadgets to understand the science of simple machines, create your own products and apply for mock patents, collaborate with your fellow inventors, work in teams to create hovercrafts or design more effective burglar alarms, and chronicle your progress in a journal. It might even spark an idea for your own groundbreaking innovation.
Typical Class Size: 12
- Research and share the historical significance of creative inventions from diverse inventors around the globe, and their impacts on society
- Investigate, analyze, and demonstrate the role of simple machines in historic inventions
- Design, build, and test a variety of inventions made from simple and complex machines, both individually and collaboratively, including a student-designed Rube Goldberg machine
- Measure and interpret the results of experiments conducted on inventions created in class, and make adjustments that will improve efficiency and/or function of the invention
- Evaluate competing design solutions based on jointly developed and agreed-upon design criteria of fellow inventors
- Propose a unique invention through a simulated U.S. patent process; build and test a prototype; and create an advertisement for their unique invention
Summer Dates & Locations
Testing and Prerequisites
|Required Level||CTY-Level||Not required|
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.Sign up for Testing Learn More
Cost and Financial Aid
- 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.
Please acquire all course materials by the course start date, unless noted as perishable. Items marked as “perishable” should not be acquired until the student needs them in the course. If you have questions about these materials or difficulty locating them, please contact [email protected].
Course Extras (Lab fee info, etc): Lab fee: $145
These titles have been featured in past sessions of the course, and may be included this summer. CTY provides students with all texts; no purchase is required.
- Inventing Stuff, by Ed Sobey
About Science and Engineering at CTY
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.