Summer Institute for the Gifted

Woods Academy June 30-July 3

Tropical Treasures

This week in Tropical Treasures, students have had the opportunity to pre-assess their knowledge about rainforests in relation to the topics of study. Students created a post-it graphic organizer to show what they already know about rainforests, and were given the chance to formulate questions that they would like to explore in the remainder of the class. Students also deepened their study about the layers of the rainforest through research of an assigned layer and the creation of a poster describing the ecosystem that is present in that layer.

Cracking Codes

During the first week of Cracking Codes, students were able to brainstorm about what kind of coded symbols are present in their everyday lives. Students were able to look at different pictograph symbols, discuss their meaning, and go on a scavenger hunt around Woods Academy to look for examples of coded symbols to record in their spy journal. In addition to pictograph symbols, students were able to construct their own alphabet cipher and write their name in code. Looking ahead, we will soon be able to write secret messages in our own cipher for other detectives to solve!

Anticipating Algebra

This week in Anticipating Algebra, we have been exploring many of the different facets of algebra, including percents, decimals, ratios and proportions, and functions. Students have spent time working in teams to research percent and ratio problems, working in partners to solve problems based on the research they completed, and working individually to start understanding functions. Next week, we will have the chance to interview several people who use math in their careers, from a nuclear engineer to a high school debate coach. We are even expecting a visitor from Booz Allen Hamilton who will discuss the role of algebra in budgeting and project management!

Recreational Geometry

In Recreational Geometry, we have been focused on understanding geometric techniques and principles, how we can use them in art, and where we can see them in nature! Students were especially interested in learning about Leonardo Fibonacci, the Fibonacci sequence, and the Golden Spiral. They also built model dodecahedrons by folding paper, and they drew their own tessellations using shapes like parallelograms and hexagons. In the coming weeks, we will start to focus on each student's particular area of interest and how they can create an original structure or piece of art that employs geometric principles.


During our first week, students explored some of today’s most innovative inventions and distinguished the difference between inventions and discoveries. Monday, we will begin collages using Smithsonian and Popular Science magazine, as well as individual projects on each student’s favorite inventor or invention. Keep an eye out for their collages and final projects at the closing ceremony!

The Curious Chemist

This week in The Curious Chemist, we have been learning about the basics of chemistry, from atoms and matter to solutions and mixtures. Students have enjoyed conducting several hands-on experiments to help them understand these concepts, including testing different liquids with pH strips, observing what happens when different liquids mix, and using static electricity to make paper hop from the desk to a balloon!

Building Blocks of Engineering

We had an exciting week in Building Blocks of Engineering building straw towers and domes. We explored different engineering fields and started planning for the Popsicle bridges we are going to build next week!

Rocks, Minerals, and Crystals: Earth's Treasures

This week in Rocks and Minerals, students have studied sedimentary rocks and metamorphic rocks. Next week, they will continue their studies and begin to compare sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks.

Spying: Secrets, Surveillance, and and Science

In our first week of Spying, students have learned the importance of observation skills, how to make a disguise, and began to research their individual objectives. Students researched spies, spy gadgets, the history of spies, and more. We are looking forward to lots more spying in the next two weeks!

Simple Machines, Complex Designs

In Simple Machines, we had a great week exploring different simple machine stations and started to learn about complex machines. We are looking forward to more activities that allow us to explore and begin building our own machines!

Putting the U in Universe

This week students learned about trajectory, aspects of space mission planning, and came up with and exploring exoplanets. Next week we will explore stars, constellations, and different types of novas.

The Detective: Master of Mysteries

This week, students learned how to use their five senses to observe all the potential clues around them. They also learned how to analyze their own fingerprints. In the next 10 days, students will delve even deeper into the world of detectives.

Sports Stop

During the first week of Sports Stop, students had fun learning and practicing basic skills in soccer and basketball. Each student has also chosen a specific sport, athlete, or team to focus on and study throughout the rest of the course.

Art Alley

We have had fun studying and completing art of several mediums in the first week of Art Alley. During the next ten days the students will be constructing a paper mâché sculpture, a painting, and a drawing of their choosing. We are also going to be developing a series of artist trading cards that will feature one artist and some interesting facts. The students will then collect the whole class's cards for a set of 14! Each student will write an artist statement that will then be featured with their work at the closing ceremony art gallery.


Thursday July 10th is World Cup Day. Wear your favorite team's jersey or colors to show your support!

Friday July 11th is SIG Picture Day. Please wear your SIG shirt!