Afterschool Cohort

Van Andel Education Institute seeks and admits students to the Afterschool Cohort who are curious, creative, and enjoy working with others. The Afterschool Cohort inspires groups of students to think and act like scientists and engineers over the course of one semester. Through hands-on investigations in two categories—Biodiversity & Human Health or Human Innovation—students ask questions, investigate, and discover answers using scientific tools and resources. There is no cost for participation in this program. Tuition is underwritten by Van Andel Institute.

Biodiversity &
Human Health

Explore how our health depends on biodiversity.

Grades 4 – 5 | Species Explorers


Explore our living world through observations of the plants and animals. Learn to handle our resident animals and deepen your understanding of what all organisms need to survive through field studies at the local zoo and botanical garden. Discover how being different may provide a survival advantage. Design and build a habitat for a VAEI animal.

Who: Students enrolled in 4th and 5th grades in Spring 2021

Where: Van Andel Education Institute, 216 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49503

When: January – April, 2021
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Grades 5 – 6 | Ecosystem Explorers


Do you know how ecosystems are important to our health? Design your own investigations using living animals and plants to learn how ecosystems work and why they matter. Build a living ecosystem and study the organisms within. Visit local sites to learn about ways in which humans have impacted ecosystems, and use your own engineering skills to design solutions to local and global challenges.

Who: Students enrolled in 5th and 6th grades in Fall 2020

Where: Van Andel Education Institute, 216 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49503

When: September – December, 2020
Mondays & Wednesdays, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Grades 6 – 7 | Biomedical Explorers |
Spring 2020 | Applications Open Now


Investigate the role model organisms play in helping us better understand human health. Discover the role DNA plays in inheritance, observe how organisms grow and develop, and study the environment’s impact on physiology. Visit a Van Andel Institute lab to learn about research from the experts. Conduct investigations to answer questions YOU want answered to learn how our health depends on genetic diversity.

Who: Students enrolled in 6th and 7th grades in Fall 2019

Where: Van Andel Education Institute, 216 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Spring 2020

When: January 14 – April 23, 2020
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Applications must be received by Monday, December 30, 2019.

Click here to apply for Spring 2020.

Human
Innovation

Explore how innovation improves quality of life.

Grades 4 – 5 | Space Engineers |
Spring 2020 | Application Open Now


Blast off to worlds unknown as you explore space and the innovations that make space exploration possible. Discover challenges of human and robotic space exploration. Learn how robots are carried into space with rockets and how they land and move about on planetary bodies such as Mars. Design, build, and program LEGO® Mindstorm robots to explore the surface and interior of space objects.

Who: Students enrolled in 4th and 5th grades in Spring 2020

Where: Van Andel Education Institute, 216 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49503

When: January 13 – April 22, 2020
Mondays & Wednesdays, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Applications must be received by Monday, December 30, 2019.

Click here to apply.

Grades 5 – 6 | Disaster Detectives |
Fall 2019 | Application Open Now.


Explore natural disasters and predict where they may strike next. Understanding these forces can help us to prepare and respond. Conduct engineering and design challenges to limit the damage and ultimately help protect humans from the destructive forces of nature. When disasters do strike, design, build, and program LEGO® Mindstorm robots that will be able to move about disaster areas safely.

Who: Students enrolled in 5th and 6th grades in Fall 2019

Where: Van Andel Education Institute, 216 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49503

When: September 5 – December 12, 2019
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Click here to apply for Fall 2019.

Grades 6 – 7 | Energy Innovators


Investigate energy and its many uses in our world. Learn about traditional energy sources and explore alternative energies to help power the future. Explore the environmental and economic costs and benefits of energy used to move vehicles. As you discover the different types of renewable energy available, design and build solutions to our energy challenges. LEGO® Mindstorm robots will be used in your exploration of energy.

Who: Students enrolled in 6th and 7th grades in Fall 2020

Where: Van Andel Education Institute, 216 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49503

When: September – December, 2020
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.