MakerSpace: Wooden Games, Carving & Building  

Hand-make your own wooden games: Pinball, checker board, ring toss and more! Students will have plenty of opportunities to get creative while learning basic carpentry skills, from glue ups to hand tool fundamentals, in the process. Then, they can learn how to carve or wood burn decorative details! This class does not require prior woodworking experience. Advanced students will be able to customize their work and pick more complex projects. Instructor: Josh Briggs, Acera Math and Engineering Teacher and Woodshop Manager 

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Science Lab (9+)

What are the simplest creatures considered alive? Those invisible things hiding in the bread we eat, in the soil beneath our feet, even in our stomachs? That’s right, bacteria! But what, exactly, are bacteria? How do they work? How do scientists even look for things you can’t see or, sometimes, smell? In this science lab, students will enter the worlds of biology (fall trimester), chemistry (winter) and biochemistry (spring). Next to bacteria, they will explore acid-based chemistry, electro-chemistry, and try some cool experiments involving chemical reactions and their classifications. Students will run their own experiments, analyze their results and learn what it’s like to be a scientist. No prior scientific knowledge required — just bring a sense of curiosity and a desire to explore scientific phenomena! Sessions will be capped at 6 students. Instructor: Michael Hirsch, Acera Science Lab Manager, former biotech scientist and AP science teacher


Game Modding and Design (8+)

Do you play by the rules? Or do you like to try new rules in your games? Do you like to make up new games? This program will look at game design from many different angles over the course of the school year. In the first trimester, discover how to design and develop your own tabletop game (board/card/no limits to your imagination!) Working in a small team, you can design, test and refine your game, just like the pros! Students employ creativity, collaboration, and systems-thinking in putting their own twist on familiar game styles; and document and reflect on their progress along the way. In the second trimester, students can continue to work on their games, or try out their new skills by designing a video game. Instructor: Danny Fain, STEM teacher, software developer and Acera specialist teacher

SEEDS Design Studio (10-15)

Let’s hack some electronic toys to make better ones. Or build a microscope out of a simple webcam, taking photos and video as we explore our environment on a different scale. Or, how about a painting that includes light? In our SEEDS StudioLab, students blend creativity, coding, engineering, imagination, design and robotics to tell their stories and develop interactive projects that defy classification. Interactive murals, drawing robots, programmable projections, solar-powered jewelry, and electronic textiles are just a few examples of recent SEEDS StudioLab projects. This program for older students will include designing a project in CAD to be 3d printed! Instructor: Alisha Panjwani, Acera SEEDS StudioLab founder, MIT Media Lab alum, author, and designer

Games, Arts & Discovery

Are you eager to explore our nature-based adventure playground, and engage both your body and your mind as you create theaters and forts, tie new platforms into the trees or make a new swing using ropes and branches? Do you like to take all the blocks and board game pieces and other supplies you can find in your house and turn them into an airport, a city, or a land no one has ever seen before?  This program is all about free, creative play, outdoors and indoors. Based on the group and their interests, student will play games, build and create, supported and guided in their quests and explorations by our afternoon staff. (This program also serves as a drop-in option.) Instructor: Acera afternoon staff.  

Debate Club (Middle School students)

Debates are an important part of the political process (not just in an election year) but for some, they are also a team sport: You research an argument, then you use your creativity, logical thinking and powers of persuasion to argue – nope, not what you think, but both sides of the issue! In this program, you will improve your public speaking and research skills as you deeply explore topics in current affairs, and learn how to present an argument convincingly and concisely within a time limit (2-4 minutes!) You will learn how others think about an issue, and take many perspectives that help you understand and communicate effectively in a global society. We will visit several (optional) weekend conferences where you will have the opportunity to debate students from other schools. Instructor: Debbie Seidell, Acera Secondary Math Teacher 


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