2015 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. 


Galileo Rocks

Music-Inspired Art and Instrument Engineering

Unleash your inner maestro as you explore the melodious world of music. Make harmonious creations inspired by musical compositions and the music-influenced art of Picasso, Kandinsky and Bearden. Investigate the science of sound as you engineer instruments or noise-making devices. Get ready to boogie down and turn the innovation up on a toe-tapping, finger-snapping, music-making adventure.

Nebulas

Pre-K to K

Art: Draw artistic inspiration from The Carnival of the Animals by composer Camille Saint-Saëns. Create bright watercolor and glitter fish influenced by undersea sounds. Listen to the royal rhythms of the king of the jungle as you craft a textured, cut-paper lion mask.

Science: Explore the boisterous, bang-up possibilities of percussion. Experiment with frequency and vibration to design a dulcimer (a plucked string instrument) that produces a variety of tones. Investigate the acoustic properties of different straw lengths as you build a wearable washboard.

Outdoors: Get moving to music from around the world in a globally inspired version of the classic game Freeze Dance. Work in harmony with your team to rescue an array of instruments from Music Island without getting caught.

Stars

1st and 2nd grades

Art: Let the masters be your muse. Use paper folding techniques to make a three-dimensional sculpture modeled on Picasso's guitars. Listen to Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev as you craft an animal puppet inspired by one of the creatures from the composition.

Science: Be the star of your own one-camper band. Learn about pitch, vibration and ergonomics as you engineer an assortment of wearable instruments—harmonicas, drums and cymbals—complete with a comfortable frame to support them and a working kick pedal to keep the beat.

Outdoors: Get in step with your team. Create a rhythmic routine by clapping, snapping and stomping, with each camper adding his or her own set of sounds. Work together to solve a maze and uncover the secret path that leads to the summer's hottest concert.

Supernovas

3rd to 5th grades

Art: Make art that hits all the right notes. Use Bearden's jazz-influenced art as inspiration for your own richly layered collage. Learn about Kandinsky’s abstract compositions, then listen to a series of songs as you create large-scale line paintings that embody the music's rhythm and energy.

Science: Tune in to the science of sound as you explore vibration, waves and pitch, then use what you learn to build a table harp that can play a range of notes. Engineer and test a resonating music box, complete with a rotating drum, crank and plucking device.

Outdoors: Bang your drum in a Galileo-style drum circle that's one part musical chairs and one part garage band. Put the "roll" in rock and roll with a round of Band Bowling, working with your bandmates to knock down cones before another team beats you to it.


Destination San Francisco

Art and Engineering in the City by the Bay

Set your sights on a spectacular San Francisco adventure. Create art inspired by iconic attractions in Golden Gate Park, on Pier 39 and along the city streets. Engineer Bay Area-style bridges, earthquake-safe buildings or working cable cars. Put some flowers in your hair and say goodbye to your heart on a fog-soaked, innovation-filled journey to the City by the Bay.

Nebulas

Pre-K to K

Art: Take your artistic cues from the grazers and gardens of Golden Gate Park. Use a variety of materials to make a richly textured bison collage inspired by the park's shaggiest citizens. Practice paper cutting and folding techniques as you craft a Japanese Tea Garden-style lantern.

Science: Keep the city safely connected by engineering sturdy suspension and beam bridges. Learn about the country's first public playground—built in San Francisco—and construct your own miniature version, designing and testing structurally sound swing sets and jungle gyms.

Outdoors: Work with your fellow builders to construct a bridge that can take your whole team across the bay. Speed through a city-themed scavenger hunt, zigzagging down Lombard Street, traversing the Golden Gate Bridge and sneaking past sleeping bison in Golden Gate Park.

Stars

1st and 2nd grades

Art: Use oil pastels to bring the sea lions of Pier 39 to life, and watercolors to illustrate a lush underwater scene around them. Design and construct your own brightly painted, finely detailed cable car, complete with wheels, benches and a bell.

Science: Jump aboard San Francisco's most classic and convenient conveyances. Explore alignment, friction and potential energy as you build your own light rail tracks and cars. Engineer a miniature cable car system with working pulleys and sturdy cables to pull a car up your custom track.

Outdoors: Explore the city by land and by sea. Pair up in teams of passengers and drivers as you work together to navigate a cable car obstacle course. Take to the bay, following your captain's commands in a San Francisco-themed version of Shipwreck.

Supernovas

3rd to 5th grades

Art: Learn about San Francisco's iconic Victorian houses, then design a "Painted Lady" of your own. Use paper-folding techniques to fashion gables, turrets and towers for your sturdy, three-dimensional cardboard structure. Mix paints and test color ratios to achieve a bright, polished finish.

Science: Use your engineering know-how to keep the city earthquake safe. Learn how tension keeps structures well supported as you construct a sturdy suspension bridge. Create a blueprint and build your own trussed, counterweighted skyscraper, designed to stand up to a simulated quake.

Outdoors: Take on the Galileo outdoors in San Francisco style. Work with your fellow Supernovas to float your way out of the bay and safely onto dry land. Shake things up with a tricky listening tag game called Earthworms, Early Birds and Earthquakes.


Galileo Makers

DIY Art and Real-World Inventions

Developed in collaboration with the Maker Education Initiative

Flex your maker muscle and put a creative spin on everyday objects. Design a personalized stool, clock or pillowcase for your room. Build useful inventions to take home like a vacuum or a secret lock box with an alarm that really works. Harness your innovative energy and join the marvelous maker movement as you transform intriguing ideas into functional, faire-ready reality.

Nebulas

Pre-K to K

Art: Design some dreamy additions to bedtime. Practice the ancient Japanese art of suminagashi, or ink marbling, and print your original design on a pillowcase. Learn how to transform fabrics with everyday materials as you use colored tissue paper and water to dye a nighttime-themed T-shirt.

Science: Get building for the great outdoors as you use the "overlap and wrap" technique to construct and test a life-sized tent supported by sturdy beams. Engineer a handcart, complete with strong handles, storage compartments and well-aligned wheels, to tote home the week's projects.

Outdoors: Have some hands-on fun with a rousing round of High Five Tag. Make a whole new reality as you turn camp into an imaginary jungle, following your tour guide's instructions to help you jump over logs, wade through swamps and creep past wild creatures.

Stars

1st and 2nd grades

Art: Make dazzling décor for your room. Create a cardboard stool you can really sit on with a hand-printed fabric seat, painted frame and decorative trims and tassels. Design, draw and cut out an animal-themed silhouette to adorn the shade of your customized night light.

Science: Engineer a pair of powerful picker-uppers. Explore the concept of friction as you make a hinged grabber that can clasp and carry a variety of objects. Learn the basics of circuitry and suction, then build and wire a working vacuum cleaner outfitted with a motor, filter and vent.

Outdoors: Tinker with a traditional game of Red Light, Green Light by establishing different styles—crawling, skipping, slow motion, etc.—for players to travel in. Put your picking-up skills to the test as you cast your clutter into the other team's space in Clean Your Room.

Supernovas

3rd to 5th grades

Art: Create art that keeps perfect time. Brainstorm and sketch ideas for an inventive, character-inspired clock, then commit your concept to Bristol paper. Cut and assemble your device, using a clock kit, watercolors and acrylic paints to turn your design into a moving, ticking reality.

Science: Lock down your desktop security with a safe of your own design. Build the safe box and housing, then decide whether to guard it with a combination, magnet or deadbolt lock. Use what you learn about simple circuits to engineer your safe's alarm from a battery and piezo buzzer.

Outdoors: Put your imagination to good use as you invent anecdotes for the storytelling tag game Boiler Burst. Play a round of the classic game Chicken Thief, working with your team to improvise innovative ways to sneak past the chicken keeper unseen.


Mount Everest Expedition

Himalayan Art and the Science of Scaling Mountains

Embark on an epic adventure to the earth's highest peak. Create traditional, tactile art inspired by the crafts and cultures of Nepal and Tibet. Master the mechanics of gaining traction on slippery surfaces, building avalanche-safe shelters and making mountain rescues as you build and test your climbing supplies designed for Everest's extreme environment. Pack your bags, plot your route and prepare to reach innovative new heights on the climb of a lifetime.

Nebulas

Pre-K to K

Art: Using the embellished animals of the Chitwan Elephant Festival as inspiration, create a brightly printed paper elephant head, decorated from trunk to tusk. Explore the meaning of mandalas and the concept of symmetry as you make your own multilayered mandala design.

Science: Get a grip as you investigate the concept of traction, engineering wood and cardboard crampons to keep your feet safely anchored to the ice. Learn about Himalayan pack animals, then build a spacious, sturdy cargo container designed to balance on the back of a yak.

Outdoors: Explore Everest's far reaches as you collaborate with your team to travel around the mountain and safely back to base camp. Build yourself an airy avalanche shelter and a powerful snowball launcher as you play an array of parachute games.

Stars

1st and 2nd grades

Art: Make Tibetan art that ranges from ornamental to practical . Create a traditional thangka wall hanging decorated with designs from a stamp you etch yourself. Fashion a cozy wa sha (fox hat) embellished with printed paper and trimmed with faux fur to keep you warm on your trek.

Science: Create a personalized mini-climber to test your gear for Everest. Use what you learn about structural engineering to build and strength test an avalanche shelter. Design a low-friction zipline rig to securely transport your climber over a treacherous mountain pass.

Outdoors: Get caught up in a gust of getting-to-know-you fun with fast-paced round of The West Wind Blows. Test your imaginary mountaineering skills as you work with your fellow Stars to stay securely situated on a shrinking mountain ledge.

Supernovas

3rd to 5th grades

Art: Try your hand at crafting your own Nepalese puppet. Use wood, clay and paper mache to craft a flexible figure with articulated shoulders, elbows and wrists. Decorate your creation with a bright headdress, stylized tunic and traditional painted designs.

Science: Harness the power of hydraulics to engineer a mountain climbing robot. Use water pressure to transfer energy to your robot's limbs, helping it conquer challenges from clearing paths to surviving avalanches. Design and test mechanically efficient tools to aid your bot as it ascends.

Outdoors: Get a handle on your Himalayan surroundings. Put your Supernova heads together to figure out how to stay safe on fewer and fewer patches of solid mountain ice. Team up inguide/climber pairs to navigate an Everest-inspired obstacle course.