Blast is a summer program designed specifically for students who have completed grades 2-6 who want to take a deep dive into a topic - all while having fun with other bright kids who share their level of interest and ability. Students get to choose one class to focus on all day, for a full week – and these aren’t just any regular classes! With options like Harry Potter, STEAM, Mixed Media Art, Virtual Reality, Programming (and more!), we're sure to have something for your curious kid.

About the Program

Students will spend their days at the Belin-Blank Center on the University of Iowa campus, learning all about one of their favorite subjects, in a class full of other bright kids their age who share their enthusiasm for learning. Each day will be filled with activities, opportunities to develop friendships, and excitement for learning! Early drop-off and late-stay options are available.

The Blast program is designed to challenge students in their areas of interest and strength. Students explore a single advanced level topic for the entire week. Class sizes are small, and they take place on the University of Iowa campus, giving your child access to valuable university resources and experts. Our instructors are vetted professionals, including classroom teachers, local artists, graduate students, and professors who have the expertise to delve into a subject at an advanced level, while keeping it accessible for the age group.

We encourage careful reading of the course descriptions when choosing classes. Specific questions about course content should be directed to the Blast coordinator at summer@belinblank.org.

Blast takes place at the Blank Honors Center in four sessions, with a different set of classes each week. Choose from among the four sessions, or join us for all of them!

  • June 15-19, 2020 
  • June 22-26, 2020 
  • July 6-10, 2020 
  • July 13-17, 2020 

Application Timeline:

  • December 1, 2019: Course descriptions available. 
  • December 15, 2019: Applications open
  • December 15, 2019 - May 31, 2020: Students will be accepted into Blast on an ongoing basis until all classes are full. Students will typically be informed of their status within two weeks of applying.
  • May 31, 2020: Accepted students must enroll in the program.

Program Events:

  • Parents and families are encouraged to join us on the last afternoon of your student's session for the Closing Showcase, where each class will get to share what they've done and learned!
Quote Author

It was amazing and I learned so much. I also loved being surrounded by kids who all have the same passion for learning.

2019 Classes

Harry Potter

Grades 3-5

June 17 - June 21, 2019

The wizarding world of Harry Potter will come to life this summer! Your professor is busy attending the quidditch playoffs and will be back soon to divulge the details of what you will learn after you meet at Platform 9¾.

Registration is closed.

STEAM

Grades 3-5

June 17 - June 21, 2019

Get a taste of science, technology, engineering, art, and math in this hands-on class. This course will introduce students to computer programming skills, engineering and building, stop-motion animation, pixel art, augmented reality and more!


Registration is closed.

Introduction to Advanced Math

Grades 4-6

June 17 - June 21, 2019

This course is primarily designed around several famous mathematical ideas and the underlying mathematical principles that help to support student understanding. Examples include, but are not limited to: The Konigsberg Bridge Problem, Monty Hall’s Let’s Make a Deal Problem, the Probability of Winning the Powerball, Einstein’s Riddle, and the Binomial Theorem. Some of the specific topics covered include: Pascal’s Triangle, Sums of an Infinite Geometric Series, Probability of Independent Events, Logic, and Euler Paths. 

Registration is closed.

Word Nerds

Grades 4-6

June 17 - June 21, 2019

Come with us on a summer adventure into words, language, and cultures. In this course we will learn new words and language, and to investigate and learn languages other than English. The course will build on fields like linguistics, world languages and literatures, cultural studies, and communication studies to help you develop your skills as a word nerd!

During the course, we will be looking at patterns across languages, nonverbal parts of language, different writing systems, and idioms and expressions. Students will learn how to communicate in another language (or two), and they will be encouraged to share their own knowledge of other languages. We will explore the relationship between language and culture, the phenomenon of disappearing languages, and language origins and interrelationships. Students will even have a chance to invent a language or way of communicating! 
  

Registration is closed.

Engineering with Nature

Grades 3-5

June 24 - June 28, 2019

This course introduces students to engineering through the ingeniousness of the living world around us. During this course, students will explore fundamental concepts and develops skills in many engineering subfields, as well as concepts in physics, life science, and more. Finally, this class will support students developing into Nature-inspired engineers themselves, capable of observing and applying technological ideas from the natural world to solve human challenges through innovation, just like modern professional engineers, architects, and designers do.

Students will discover:

  • How would a pond beetle design a boat without a propeller?
  • Why don’t plants need janitors to keep their leaves clean?
  • Why aren’t chicken eggs square?

Students will design and test towers, gliders, and boats inspired by nature. They discover how snails can travel with one foot over an adhesive mucus, and that’s just the beginning! In the end, after lots of practice problem-solving with nature’s help, students design their own inventions, having learned to see and engage with nature as a phenomena full of extraordinary abilities and things to teach us, able to help humankind innovate to make our world a better place. 

Registration is closed.

Green Screen

Grades 3-5

June 24 - June 28, 2019

Have you ever wanted to be anywhere in the world at the snap of your fingers? Give a weather report from on top of Mt. Everest? Be the leader of a band performing in outer space? Or travel back in time to experience the Wright Brothers invent flight? Green screen technology is a innovative way to promote outside of the box thinking using digital storytelling and media creation. In this course, students will develop unique ways to craft and communicate a story to visually enhance an idea. Learners will write scripts, act, record, and edit their own green screen creation.

 


Registration is closed.

Mathematics of Games

Grades 4-6

June 24 - June 28, 2019

Get ready for fun and friendly competition as we learn the mathematical strategy behind playing games! Many mathematical topics will be explored such as probability, statistics, number theory, pattern analysis, geometry, and algebra.  We will tackle the math behind games such as tic-tac-toe, Mastermind, Pachici (known in modern times as Parcheesi), Hearts, Risk, Settlers of Catan, Bridge and many, more.  Playing games will take on new meaning when fun and mathematical thought come together.  Please join us for this active, thought-provoking class! 

Registration is closed.

Mixed Media Art

Grades 4-6

June 24 - June 28, 2019

Have you ever wondered how to paint with wax or craft a stop motion animation movie? In mixed media art, students will explore a variety of art techniques. From drawing, painting, and bookmaking to stop motion animation and digital art creation. We will learn creative thinking tools that help us grow as artists and inventors. Learn how to think like an artist every day. And how to create like one too!

Registration is closed.

Visualizing Mathematics

Grades 3-5

July 08 - July 12, 2019

In this course, students will experience math concepts in more visual forms. They will connect the things they see every day to the world of math as well as express their understanding of math concepts through art and pictures. Math can be challenging to visualize as concepts get more abstract. Skills learned in this course will help students to conceptualize abstract concepts and algebra through tangible pictures. Students will draw, construct and photograph. They will work individually, in groups and as a whole class. This class is well suited towards students looking for a hands-on approach to math. All artistic abilities welcome! 

Registration is closed.

Weird & Amazing Animals

Grades 3-5

July 08 - July 12, 2019

Animals with strange and amazing bodies and incredible abilities live everywhere on Earth, from the deepest trenches of the ocean to our own backyards! In this class, we will investigate some of the fascinating adaptations of animals and how they compare to our own human abilities. Exactly how big is the biggest animal on Earth? How and why do some animals use bioluminescence (glowing in the dark)? What does it mean to have “eagle eyes”? Bring your thinking caps and imaginations and we will explore these questions and more! 

Registration is closed.

Logical Leaps

Grades 4-6

July 08 - July 12, 2019

There’s much more to math than arithmetic! Using games and puzzles, we will explore logical reasoning, proofs, induction, and deduction. Not all of our activities will include numbers, but each will be rich in mathematical reasoning that goes beyond computation. We'll even use ciphers, codes, and cryptography to test your puzzle cracking skill! Prepare your math brain for work in algebra, geometry, and other advanced mathematics by practicing the concepts and logical reasoning skills that lie at the center of great math thinking.


Registration is closed.

Virtual Reality

Grades 4-6

July 08 - July 12, 2019

Virtual Reality (VR) immerses you into a 3D environment where you can interact with objects and characters. VR is used in both games and real world applications. In this class, you will have the opportunity to tour places on campus that have created VR rooms and systems to research real world problems—one even has an entire car inside the VR environment! You will also be introduced to VR programming to create your own VR worlds. What will you create?

 

Registration is closed.

Interdisciplinary Science

Grades 2-3

July 15 - July 19, 2019

You will start each day learning about magical potions — when science and creativity meld, it’s pure magic! You will be using science to create some seemingly magical outcomes, and to find out what’s really happening. You will experiment with a variety of different chemicals and materials to create magical concoctions. You will brew up potions such as: heat sensitive color changing slime, glow in the dark magic mud, and homemade lava lamps.  Along the way you will learn about friction, buoyancy, chemical reactions, magnets, compression, and physics.

After lunch, you will explore the Jurassic time period! Prehistoric earth — it’s environment, plants, animals, and events — is a rich and diverse subject for learners of all ages and interests. You will become a paleontologist and study fossils to learn more about prehistoric mammals including dinosaurs. You will also have an opportunity to learn excavation techniques used by archaeologists and paleontologists in the field. Come ready to learn, explore, and be amazed!

Registration is closed.

Programming

Grades 2-3

July 15 - July 19, 2019

In this course, you will get to be creative with computers!

You will start each day with Lego Robotics, which is a fun way to be creative and learn how to design, build, and program robots to do exactly what you tell them to! You will also get to use a First Lego League competition table to have your robot compete against a friend’s.

After lunch, you will continue to explore the creative process of computer programming! You will learn how computer programs work and design programs that tell jokes and stories, play games, and solve problems that cannot be solved without a computer. By the end of the day, you will have learned about programming, graphic design and animation, storytelling, testing and debugging, and other skills that are needed to make software.

You do not need to have previous experience with Legos, robots, or computer programming.

Registration is closed.

Advanced Interdisciplinary Science

Grades 4-5

July 15 - July 19, 2019

You will start each day learning the basics of 3D design. You will design your own puzzle cube that we will 3D print and take home! Then, we will work together with the goal of designing and building catapults with 3D printed parts, wood dowels, and rubber bands.

After lunch you will hear fizzing, popping, oohs, and aahs as you enter the lab to learn about chemical changes! You will investigate lots of different types of reactions—what makes them go, how to modify them, why some reactions are similar, and others are not. You will spend time in the lab to discover the wonders of chemistry! Specifically, we will learn how to detect if a change is physical or chemical, perform tests that identify certain products of chemical reactions, and learn how to make lots of fizzing, foaming, popping, and color changing chemical reactions. 

Registration is closed.

Advanced Programming

Grades 4-5

July 15 - July 19, 2019

You will start each day with Cozmo the Robot, a robot with personality that evolves as you interact with it. You will start by interacting with Cozmo by playing games, and learning to control Cozmo though an iPad app. Then you will program Cozmo using Code Lab. Finally, you will see how to program Cozmo using Python.

After lunch, you will explore Lego Robotics, a fun way to learn how to design, construct, and program robots. Use your creativity while learning how to design and program task specific robots. You will review basic design, construction, and programming techniques that will serve as an introduction to the robotics world. You will work individually and engage in peer collaboration to create robots together!

You do not need to have previous experience with Legos, robots, or computer programming.

Registration is closed.

How to Apply

Ready to Apply? The application process is straightforward, but we recommend careful consideration of your child's academic strengths and interests when selecting a class. We're here to help with all the information you will need in order to complete the application.

Eligibility

Any student who is currently in 2nd-8th grades is eligible to apply for this program. They do not need to be in a talented and gifted program to apply. Qualified students will show a high level of interest in the topic, motivation to learn, and ability to positively contribute to a classroom environment.

Application Process

All application materials must be submitted online.

Here's how to apply:

  1. Identify one or more classes that are a good fit for your student’s academic strengths and interests. Classes should be selected based on the student's grade during the current academic year.
  2. Complete an application for each selected class. Application materials are specific to each class, and are included in the course descriptions.
  3. If accepted, complete your student's enrollment via the student’s account. If a selected class is not a good fit, you will be supported in the identification of other classes or programs that may be a better fit for the student.
  4. If there are more eligible students than seats in a class, then students will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and a waitlist will be generated for the class.
  5. Submit payment.

Selection

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of Belin-Blank Center faculty and staff. Program acceptance is based on a review of the student’s strengths and interests. The selection committee works to ensure that the class is a good academic fit to nurture the student’s potential.

Selected students will be notified on a rolling basis no later than the end of May.

After You're Accepted?

Get ready for lots of learning and tons of fun! Here you can find answers to all the questions you may have while making your plans to join us.

Cost & Financial Aid

Cost

Each student will pay a program fee of $480 per class. This fee covers tuition, books, materials, and a t-shirt. Please note the fee for the program is not eligible for tax credits or other pretax reimbursements because it is an educational rather than child care program.

Payment Deadlines

You must either pay in full or have arranged monthly installments or a payment plan (see Payment Options) by the first day of the program in order to participate in the program. All fees are payable to the Belin-Blank Center.

Payment Options

There are three options to pay program fees:

  1. Pay the entire amount on a credit card.
  2. Pay in three equal monthly installments using a credit card.
  3. Set up an individualized payment plan. Payment plans are available by contacting the Belin-Blank Center at 319-335-6148.

Financial Aid

If selected, you may apply for financial aid when you enroll your student in the program. Financial aid is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis, while funds are available. Eligibility is typically determined by qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. After your information is reviewed, a decision will be made, and you will receive an email regarding the amount of your award. Awards will be applied directly to your program fee.

Daily Schedule

Classes will be held from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, with a supervised lunch in between. Students should bring a sack lunch. A Closing Showcase will be held on Friday afternoon.

Students must attend the full length of the program. Teachers plan instructional activities based on the scheduled time. Student attendance and participation are essential to receive the full benefit of instruction.

Drop-off & Pick-up

Belin-Blank Center staff will provide supervision for students ten minutes before and after classes are held. Arrangements must be made to drop students off no earlier than ten minutes before class is scheduled to begin and to pick them up no later than 10 minutes after classes are released.

Extended-Stay Options

You may register your student for extended-stay options when enrolling in classes. The early drop-off program will be from 8 am - 9 am with a fee of $35 per week, and the late-stay program will be from 4 pm - 5 pm with a fee of $35 per week. Fees must be paid-in-full 3 weeks prior to the start of the student’s session.

  • Enrollment: Enrollment and payment for extended stay options are separate from enrollment and payment for regular programming. Your student is not enrolled in the extended-stay program until he/she is registered and payment is complete.
  • Location: Parents must bring students inside the Blank Honors Center for early drop-off and come inside to pick them up after 4:10 pm.
  • Prearranged drop-in option: With 24-hour notice, you may sign your student up to drop into the early drop-off or late pick-up program. The fee will be $20 per day for each prearranged extended-stay option. To schedule, email summer@belinblank.org.
  • Cancellation of Extended-Stay Registration: If cancellation occurs two or more weeks prior to the start of the program, a refund will be issued. However, if cancellation occurs within two weeks of the start of the program, no refund will be provided. If a student does not attend the extended-stay program, is dropped off late or picked up early, fees will not be prorated.

Late fees

If your student has not been picked up 10 minutes after class is released, he/she will join the students in the extended-stay program inside the Blank Honors Center. A $25 late pick-up fee will be charged to your student's account.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations of a student's enrollment must be processed by Belin-Blank Center staff.

  1. If a cancellation occurs at least four weeks before the class begins, we will refund program fees, less a $100 cancellation fee per class.
  2. If a cancellation occurs less than four weeks before the class starts, we will refund half the cost of program fees.
  3. If a cancellation occurs within a week of the start date of the class, no refund is given to any cancellations, regardless of circumstance.
  4. If a student misses class, regardless of reason, program fees will not be prorated and refunds will not be issued.

What to Bring

Each day, students should bring a sack lunch, water bottle, and snack.

Handbooks

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