What is it? IDEAS (Inter-Disciplinary Explorations Across the Sciences) is for highly motivated and talented high school students. The program provides students with four days of investigations in agriculture, bio-medical sciences/environmental studies, computer science, mathematics/statistics, or physics involving fun activities, projects, and hands-on explorations, all while being mentored by Dordt faculty. The program will also expose students to careers and research in mathematics and the sciences.
When is it? Plan to arrive on Dordt’s campus the evening of Monday, June 16. After checking into the dorms and receiving a brief orientation that evening, you will be ready for four full days of learning and fun. On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday you will participate in a variety of workshops, activities, and talks related to topics in your chosen area of interest. Interspersed throughout your day will be time for team-building and other fun activities on and around the campus of Dordt College. You will also have time to hear about careers in mathematics and the sciences and the college search process. You will depart approximately 2 p.m. on Friday, June 20.
What activities are involved? Be prepared to take to heart the motto “Work Hard. Play Hard.” Each day will feature one of the following themes:
Agriculture (No longer accepting applications)
You will be introduced to several laboratory bioassays, tests which use living organisms to screen for the presence of xenobiotics. Using soils, insects, seeds, plant tissues, and entire plants, you will be given the opportunity to screen for herbicide resistance of local common waterhemp1, measure respiration of soils collected from fields with varying management practices2, and test for corn rootworm3 resistance to Bt traits in corn hybrids4. The skills you gain may easily generate a successful high school science fair project. Just as importantly, you will learn how basic science research is applied to questions in a wide range of agriculture.
Bio-medical Sciences/Environmental Studies (No longer accepting applications)
Throughout the week students interested in bio-medical sciences will engage in activities with the goals:
- to have fun discussing topics in medicinal chemistry, structural biochemistry, molecular biology, and bioethics;
- to learn modern laboratory techniques/processes including bioinformatics, the polymerase chain reaction, electrophoretic analysis and DNA sequencing, molecular cloning and mutational analysis, and drug docking/molecular modeling;
- to consider career options and college plans in fields related the biomedical sciences medicine, biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology, and pharmaceutical chemistry;
- to visit local biomedical facilities.
Students interested in environmental studies will be involved in the following:
- conducting microsatellite analysis of population structure in butterfly milkweed
- exploring species richness and diversity analysis of various landscapes
- conducting phenotypic analyses of species across landscapes
- participating in descriptive studies of plant communities using modified nearest neighbor analysis
- learning to identify prairie plants
The summer computer science camp will engage students in socially-relevant, project-based learning activities designed to foster computational thinking within the Big Ideas and Concepts of advance placement computer science. Principle topics include: creativity, abstraction, data, algorithms, programming, the Internet and impact. Participants will put the principles of computer science (CS) into action by creating interdisciplinary computational artifacts that combines CS with music, art, literature, and science (life, physical, and social).
- Algorithms: Algorithms are responsible for music and movie recommendations on media player websites, and product recommendations on commerce sites; they even recommend friends on social media sites. We create algorithms (strategies) every time we play a card game or a board game.
Programming as an expression of creativity: Move from creating stand-alone algorithms to incorporating multiple algorithms into complete programs with user input and graphical output.
Data and abstraction: Learn how a computational system is composed of a hierarchy of abstraction that, at its root, is controlled by the nature of digital information. Create abstractions to represent the structure of data and the computational processes that act on data.
- Internet and impact: Learn about the technology of the Internet and how computing enables impact on a global scale and innovation in a variety of fields.
The following areas will be covered:
- Actuarial science, risk/risk management, and probability/chance. For more about the field of actuarial science visit www.beanactuary.org. You will participate in a series of activities, games, and competitions centered on this theme.
- Mathematical modeling. Mathematical modeling is used by researchers in disciplines as wide ranging as biology, economics, political science, engineering, chemistry, medicine, and graphic design/animation. You will learn about and experience how mathematical models can describe disease epidemiology.
- Statistics, with a particular focus on biostatistics and statistical genetics. The rapidly growing field of statistics and data analytics is becoming the language of science, business, health, politics, and society in general. You will participate in a real, ongoing research project in statistical genetics.
Physics (No longer accepting applications)
Video analysis in experimental physics: You will learn how to shoot a video clip of a physical event, digitize the event, and use computer tools to analyze it. After mastering the methods, you will design and analyze an experiment
Who should participate? High school students who will be juniors or seniors in fall 2014. Students should possess a strong interest and aptitude in mathematics or science and should have the desire and ability to work hard and play hard with a like-minded peer group. Students should be able to arrive on Dordt’s campus the evening of Monday, June 16, and depart late afternoon on Friday, June 20.
Am I the kind of person you're are looking for? We anticipate accepting a diverse set of students to the program. If you have a passion for mathematics or science, have done well in your courses, and are excited to spend a few days having fun and learning, then, yes!
When should I apply? We strongly encourage you to get your application submitted as soon as possible. Space is limited to just 15 participants per camp.
When can I expect to hear about my application? Our hope is to contact those accepted to the program in early/mid-May. At the time you are accepted to the program, you will be asked to pay the $75 registration/program fee. Travel support (both financial and logistical) may be available for students travelling from a distance. Contact email@example.com for details.
Who is leading the program? Dordt College faculty from various departments will lead the program. Additionally, we will include a select number of high school teachers and others as learning facilitators. They will stay in the dorms and participate in all activities as group leaders—working with groups of three or four students each.
What is the cost of the program? The IDEAS program charges a nominal fee of $75 to cover room, board, and related expenses during the four-day program. Applicants will be asked to pay the fee upon acceptance to the program.
If you have any remaining questions please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org