Saturday Accelerated Programs

Galapagos hosted four Northwestern Saturday’s this school year. 

Galapagos Rockford offers a variety of one day class offerings on Saturdays.   Galapagos partners with Northwestern University to offer a variety of accelerated classes for grades 3rd-8th.  Classes are held at the Lower Academy for all grade levels.   The classes are supported by GRCS staff and taught remotely by NU teachers.  

  • Single-day, 3.5 hour experiences on weekends during the school year
  • Deep dives into high interest topics
  • Experienced instructors
  • Engaging live online classroom experience involving a variety of small and large-group activities
  • Opportunity to engage with like-minded peers from near and far

The next two Saturday offerings are May 22 and June 5.   Scholars can sign up for one or both classes.  Please scroll down for more information and the sign-up form.

May 22 Class Offerings

  • May 22 Class for 3rd-4th graders

    Symbiotic Relationships: The Science of Togetherness (Grades 3 – 4)

    How can we describe the relationship between sea anemones and clownfish? What about barnacles and whales? Symbiosis demonstrates the interconnectivity between different organisms that live in the same environment. Through hands-on explorations, research, and active discussion, learn about multiple types of symbiosis found on our planet and apply that knowledge to create a symbiotic pair of organisms that live in a specific ecosystem.

  • May 22 Class for 5th-6th graders

    Jet Propulsion: Physics & Engineering (Grades 5 – 6)

    Nature has used jet propulsion to quickly travel from one location to another for hundreds of millions of years, as seen in squids, the chambered nautilus, some jellyfish and even dragonfly larvae. Even humans have found ways to harness it as a source of energy since at least the first century AD, when Hero of Alexandria developed the aeolipile. But how does jet propulsion work, and how can we use it in our own designs? In this hands-on workshop, students explore the physics concepts seen in jet propulsion, and use that knowledge to engineer and iterate their own creations. How fast can your jet-propelled car, boat or aircraft travel?

  • May 22 Class for 7th-8th Graders

    Evolutionary Biology: Genetics, Phylogeny and Macroevolution (Grades. 7-8)

    How and why do organisms evolve, and what mechanisms lead to evolutionary change? Go beyond the study of natural selection and explore the role of biology and genetics in evolution during this interactive course. Through lecture, discussion, collaboration and an exploratory lab, discover the interconnectedness of species through phylogenetics, and dive into the study of macroevolution.

June 5 Class Offerings

  • June 5 Class for 3rd-4th graders

    Investigations in Algebra: Patterns, Functions and Problem Solving (Grades 3-4)

    Suppose everyone in a classroom with 20 people shakes hands (or bumps elbows, to be safe!) with every other person in the room. How many handshakes will that be? Through the use of math literature and manipulatives, mathematicians explore and summarize patterns then represent them numerically, algebraically, and geometrically. Model mathematical problems and work with peers to generate tables, graphs, and algebraic equations to describe and represent patterns. A variety of problem solving strategies will be utilized to help prepare scholars for future work with expressions, equations, and functions.

  • June 5 Class for 5th-6th graders

    Engineering Design: Topics in Biomimicry (Grades 5 -6)

    Biomimicry is the science that studies nature’s best ideas and then applies those designs and processes to solve human problems. Learn about the biomimetic approach and how designers apply nature’s adaptations to create real-world solutions. In a collaborative setting, students research strategies and patterns found in nature and share those findings with classmates. Apply the engineering design process to a prototype inspired by an animal’s clever home-making practice and test how your creation holds up!

  • June 5 Class for 7th-8th graders

    Art + Algorithms: Coding Patterns (Grades 7-8)

    Naturally occurring patterns are foundational in a wide array of  fields including art, engineering, and computer science to name a few. In this project-based workshop, students engage with these patterns through observation and analysis, breaking down their inner structures for reuse in original design. Scholars explore the power of algorithms as a generative tool for creative purposes and data visualization using the core web design stack of Javascript, HTML, and CSS. Discover the power of patterns through input and output, observation and creation.

General Information

  • Location, start and end time of classes

    All class offerings for both days will be held at the Lower Academy (2605 School St.)   Doors will open at 8:35 am and we ask that all scholars arrive by 8:45 am.   Programming will last until 12:30pm.   Please drop  off and pick-up your scholar at the main entrance on School St.

  • How do I sign up for the classes?

    You can indicate you interest on the interest form located at the bottom of this web page.

    Once we know that you are interested, we will follow up with the final application to Northwestern.   This is a relatively quick form too but it is required for any programming supported by Northwestern.

  • What is the cost?

    We are excited to be able to offer these classes at no cost to the scholar.  We have partnered with Northwestern to provide scholarships for all of our interested scholars.

    However, we ask that if you do sign-up that you ensure that your scholar attends.   If a scholar signs-up and does not show up, we not only lose the space that we could have offered to another scholar but we also have to pay for any no-shows.

  • What should my scholar bring?

    Most importantly, make sure that your scholar brings their chromebook and power cord.   You may receive a list of supplies needed from Northwestern but GRCS will try to provide most if not all of those supplies.  If there is anything specific that you need we will inform you in advance of your scholar’s class.

    Additionally, we will provide all scholars with a small snack in the morning.