The Advent School | Summer Programs
Experience The Advent School's unique engineering and design-based summer program for elementary school children.
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Dream, Design, Discover

The Advent School offers a unique engineering and design-based summer program for elementary school children.

Registration is now open. Click here to register.

Program at a Glance

Dream Design DiscoverOur program uses children’s natural instinct for problem solving as the foundation for exploration. Students sketch ideas, experiment with materials, and build prototypes.

Each session is lead by certified teachers. Designers also meet artisans, musicians, engineers, architects, and scientists during classroom visits and on field trips.

The city of Boston acts as an extension of the classroom and serves as inspiration for design challenges. Students take field trips and engage in daily outdoor play during each session.

Designers are divided into three groups based on their age. Click the sections below to learn more about each group.

Junior Designers (5-­6 years old)

The Junior Design program follows Advent’s Reggio Emilia-inspired teaching philosophy. Students learn the design process by experimenting, exploring, and asking questions. A daily blog documents the students’ day with photos and descriptions of their projects.

Junior Designers work with our Design Leaders (10-12 year olds) throughout the program. Our Design Leaders guide the younger students through a project, acting as mentors and providing support.

Senior Designers (7­-9 years old)

Senior Designers focus on generating ideas and gathering feedback as they build, test, and reimagine their designs. Each step builds toward the creation of a final prototype.

Senior Designers visit the D-Lab at MIT and address problems faced by underserved communities, focusing on the design, experimentation, and prototyping processes. Participants will learn about the technologies designed by D-Lab and engage in building one of the solutions that help communities around the world.

Design Leaders (10-­12 years old)

The Design Leader track combines a hands-on design program with leadership opportunities. Design Leaders work alongside Junior Designers, guiding the younger students through the design process. Design Leaders mentor, support, and encourage the Junior Designers.

Designers create a prototype and share their final creations with the D-Lab team. Participants present their ideas, receive feedback, and work alongside the D-Lab reviewers to refine their concepts. Students will also learn about intellectual property and patents.

Sessions are open to children ages 5 through 12 (by September 1, 2016). Students will be divided into Junior Designer, Senior Designer, and Design Leader groups within each class.

Dream, Design, Discover runs for three two-week sessions:

June 20 – July 1: Light & Shadow: Constructing Images with Everyday Materials
July 5 – July 15: Instrument Making: Engineering Sound
July 18 – July 29:  Kinetic Structures: Simple to Complex

Each session culminates with a Design Expo where students, families, and friends are invited to campus to view the designs.

Drop off location: 99 West Cedar Street
Pick up location: 15 Brimmer Street

Day program: $1,200 per session
Extended day program: $20 per day

Day Program: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Extended Day: 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Student-teacher ratio:
Junior Designers 16:2
Senior Designers 18:2
Design Leaders 10:1

Summer Program Guide 2016

Advent Summer Program Policies 2016

2016 Summer Program Themes

Light and Shadow: Constructing Images with Everyday Materials

June 20 – July 1

You won’t believe your eyes at Advent’s Makerspace!

Come explore the nature of light and shadow by building your own optical illusions, moving images, and shadow art. Designers will tinker with everyday materials to learn how colors, angles, and reflections shape the world we see.

Students will visit the Mugar Omni Theater at the Museum of Science (all ages) and MIT (ages 7-12) to experience the cutting edge of visual technology.

Instrument Making: Engineering Sound

July 5 – 15

In this session we will construct and connect simple machines to create audio kinetic sculptures! Designers will investigate how found and recycled objects can be transformed into musical instruments. Design Leaders will work with Advent faculty to create mini-lessons to teach Junior Designers how to make games that produce sound.

Both Senior and Design Leaders will travel to the D-Lab at MIT to learn about some of the technologies the D-Lab developed and build one of these solutions in a design activity.

Kinetic Structures: Simple to Complex

July 18 – 29

What resets the pins at a bowling alley? What makes a rollercoaster go? Look closely and you’ll see that moving structures are everywhere!

This program explores how kinetic structures work. Designers begin by building and playing with simple machines in order to learn basic scientific principles like motion, gravity, and force. Designers will connect their simple machines to build large, interactive kinetic structures.

Designers ages 7 to 12 will visit the MIT Museum to view the kinetic sculptures and all students will travel to a bowling alley. There they will see first hand how pins are reset and how bowling balls are returned. And, of course, bowl!