2014 Themes
4 Fresh Themes
to incite innovation

Every year, we introduce rich, riveting new themes to inspire budding innovators. Each theme combines art, science and outdoor activities around a whimsical week-long narrative that’s crafted to keep kids giggling and engaged. This year we feature four fresh themes, each adapted for three different age groups. Our themes are created together with our fabulous curriculum partners at Klutz, The Tech Museum of Innovation and The Chabot Space & Science Center.


Adventures Down Under

Art and Science of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea

Set sail on an epic adventure to the Pacific Islands. Craft extraordinary creations inspired by indigenous art and exotic animals. Engineer contraptions to test and tame the tropical forces of nature. Get ready for rough weather, rich culture and plenty of innovation on an island-hopping adventure down under.

Nebulas

Pre-K to K

Art: Dive into the Great Barrier Reef. Use clay-sculpting techniques to craft a nifty nudibranch (a brilliantly colored sea slug) and mixed media to make a realistic reef habitat. Experiment with geometric shapes and Sepik design motifs to create a traditional Papua New Guinean dance wand.

Science: Harness the forces of nature. Mix your own magma, then test its volcanic viscosity as it erupts 25 feet in the air. Learn about tropical storms in Papua New Guinea and construct a sloped-roof, rain-safe structure.

Outdoors: Take to the seas with an island-themed version of London Bridge that lets you sail, swim or breeze between bridge towers. Make waves playing parachute games as you dive for underwater treasures.

Stars

1st and 2nd grades

Art: Explore the creatures and cultures of Oceania. Craft beautiful birds of paradise with sculpted heads, painted bodies and printed-paper wings. Create feathered, symmetrically designed headdresses inspired by the ceremonial attire of the Sepik people.

Science: Travel the islands with some unconventional transport. Build a rubber band-powered snorkel scooter designed to speed through the water. Learn about lift, drag and soaring marsupials as you make your own airborne sugar glider.

Outdoors: Use a little tropical teamwork (and plenty of resourcefulness) to keep treasure hidden from a curious traveler. Work together to get a ball traveling through a tube in the aboriginal Australian game Juluhya.

Supernovas

3rd to 5th grades

Art: Try your hand at traditional Papua New Guinean art by transforming paper into tapa cloth and adorning it with symmetrical designs. Use slab building techniques to create a ceremonial shield, carve it from clay and decorate it with Sepik symbols.

Science: Learn the secrets of surviving wild winds and waves. Design a sturdy shelter built to withstand the huffing and puffing of the toughest typhoon. Use your knowledge of levers and tsunami science to engineer a warning system that detects a dangerous rise in the water column.

Outdoors: Set a course for New Zealand to learn about the Haka chants of the Maori—and invent one of your own. Work with your fellow Supernovas to stay dry inside a swiftly shrinking shelter as monsoon waters rise.


GALILEO ROAD TRIP

Art and Engineering along Route 66

Put the pedal to the metal on a road trip adventure along Route 66, America’s first highway. Make eclectic art inspired by people and places from Chicago to Santa Monica. Build cars, contraptions, bikes, or bridges as you explore and travel the terrain. You’re in the driver’s seat on this classic trip west, where all roads lead to innovation.

Nebulas

Pre-K to K

Art: Paint the night sky with fireworks as you cut out and illustrate a silhouetted Chicago skyline. Travel to Arizona, where you’ll use resist and sgraffito techniques to depict the layered landforms of the Painted Desert in oil pastel and watercolor.

Science: Get your rides road trip-ready. Use what you learn about center of mass to design and test a teetering car balanced on one set of wheels. Build an RV and adjust the alignment to make it travel safely down hills and through tunnels.

Outdoors: Pack up and get moving on a road trip scavenger hunt, completing challenges and collecting clues at stops along the way. Work with your team to zigzag through a car and driver obstacle course.

Stars

1st and 2nd grades

Art: Create a mixed-media sign for a roadside diner, featuring oversized food inspired by sculptor Claes Oldenburg. Head west to the home of the Hopi and craft traditional Kachina dolls from balsa wood and adorn them with feathers and symbols.

Science: Hightail down the highway in a rubber band car. Wield the powers of elastic potential energy to engineer a drivetrain and test your car for speed. Build a reflective, battery-powered, headlamp to seek out semi-precious metals and minerals in the remarkable Grand Canyon Caverns.

Outdoors: Get revved up for a trip outdoors, where you’ll work in pairs to navigate the Mother Road in the dark. Take Red Light, Green Light to the next level with a road trip twist—trying not to get tagged by the traffic cop.

Supernovas

3rd to 5th grades

Art: Kick off your trip in Chicago. Explore media techniques as you construct a three-dimensional skyscraper inspired by the city’s art and architecture. Wrap up your route in Venice Beach, creating collaborative urban art layered on a gessoed surface.

Science: Hit the road in your own rocket car. Use your knowledge of circuits and projectile motion to create the car’s electrical headlights and engineer high-flying jumps. Work with your team to build a sturdy bridge across the Mississippi, complete with carefully tested trusses.

Outdoors: Put your Supernova team on the map. Collaborate to create a human road map of scenic sites and cities along Route 66. Shift into high gear for a road trip-inspired game of tag called Boiler Burst.


The Incredible Human Body

Art and Science of Being Human

Investigate the mysterious inner workings of the marvelous human body. Learn what it’s like to create art with—and without—certain body parts and senses. Build apparatuses inspired by human eyes, noses, lungs and hands. Dive into an eye-opening, spine-tingling, innovation-sparking adventure to uncover the secrets of what makes us human.

Nebulas

Pre-K to K

Art: Get hands on with your sense of touch. Design a texture tube paneled with differently textured materials and adorned with repeating patterns. Learn about body-inspired art and create a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull decorated with features and festive designs.

Science: Discover new ways to see as you try out everyday tasks without using your sense of sight. Investigate methods for spreading and diminishing impact, then construct a helmet designed to protect a very important body part: your head.

Outdoors: Get your body moving in People to People as you go toe to toe (and shoulder to elbow, and head to knee) with your partner. Practice your teamwork skills in Brain Train, working together to pass foam-ball messages from brain to body.

Stars

1st and 2nd grades

Art: Put your best face forward. Draw a range of expressive features and make a moveable, mix-and- match face that showcases a unique combination of emotions. Don the painting device you build in Science to create an abstract watercolor without using your hands.

Science: Consider the axes of human movement as you engineer an adaptive device to allow you to paint with your head, rather than your hands. Build a set of nostrils designed to filter out contaminants and test them using a simulated lung.

Outdoors: Get tuned up from head to toe. Create silly sounds and songs with your body in the game Human Xylophone. Put your brain to work as you test your memory and collaboration skills to find your way out of a maze.

Supernovas

3rd to 5th grades

Art: Set your sights on the extraordinary eye. Learn to draw a realistic version in graphite pencil and construct an origami eye that opens and closes. Create a unified relief sculpture in the style of artist Louise Nevelson, then recreate it using only your sense of touch.

Science: Investigate the mechanics of the human hand, then build a prosthetic one. Design working appendages, bones, ligaments, tendons and a system of straps to attach it to your arm. Add modifications to outfit your new limb for specialized tasks of your choosing.

Outdoors: Take to the outdoors with games inspired by your insides. Defend your white blood cells from attack in Body Wars. Link up like liver cells with with your teammates as you clean up blood toxins in Liver Link Up.


Leonardo’s Apprentice

Inventions and Art of the Renaissance

Embark on an epic expedition back in time to the workshops of Renaissance Italy. Engineer inventions that can dive, lift, stand tall and entertain. Make realistically rendered, beautifully embellished art inspired by the masters. Escape from the Dark Ages and get ready to innovate on a rollicking Renaissance adventure.

Nebulas

Pre-K to K

Art: Shed some light on Renaissance art. Learn about different types of lines and hone your stenciling skills as you master the art of illuminated letters. Practice printmaking in the style of Albrecht Durer, creating your own textured, etched-foam animal stamps.

Science: Explore the ups and downs of an invention first imagined by da Vinci as you pair up to experiment with mass and density and build a neutrally buoyant submarine. Learn about strong shapes and construct your own stable scaffolding like Michelangelo did in order to paint the Sistine Chapel .

Outdoors: Bring some Florentine flair to the Galileo outdoors, playing parachute games inspired by the city’s famous Duomo dome. Transform into significant—and very still—works of art in a Renaissance- themed round of Sneaky Statues.

Stars

1st and 2nd grades

Art: Come face to face with the art of self-portraiture as you practice observation, color mixing and drawing realistic features for a Renaissance-style portrait. Learn about sewing and symmetry as you craft your own stylishly patterned 16th-century hat.

Science: Reach innovative new heights. Design your own da Vinci inspired crane, using your knowledge of strong shapes, cranks and cables to help it lift a heavy load. Use compression, tension and the power of parallelograms to engineer an original pop-up book inspired by innovative Renaissance texts.

Outdoors: Turn the outdoors into an open-air workshop as you collaborate with your fellow Stars to form a human sculpture masterpiece. Let improvisation be your inspiration in a silly game of catch called Ball of Transformation.

Supernovas

3rd to 5th grades

Art: Take your art beyond the canvas. Pour plaster, mix paint and create tints and shades as you make a wall adorned with a Michelangelo-inspired fresco. Use perspective and symmetry to design a landscape backdrop and proscenium arch for a Commedia dell’arte theater.

Science: Become a Renaissance machine maker as you build a working winch, using your knowledge of mechanical advantage to design and test its pulley system. Engineer automata inspired by da Vinci’s designs, with moving scenes and characters all driven by a single crank.

Outdoors: Get your imagination in gear with an improv game inspired by the Commedia dell’arte performances of the Renaissance. Stay on your toes as you stay out of reach of mischievous machines in Automaton Tag.