Summer Camps

2021 Summer Camps are virtual…but they’re not what you’re thinking. (Really!)

Are your students combating ‘zoom fatigue’? Tired of them sitting at a computer screen all day? When we say Summer Camps have gone virtual, this isn’t the virtual you’re used to! Although we will connect with students throughout the day via technology, kids will be away from the screen, immersed in fun, thinking and acting like scientists, and, best of all, making new friends. We supply the materials and the fun! Register today!

2021 Elementary, Middle School, and High School Camps

Grades 2–5 | Sense-ational Animals

Join us as we explore the amazing world of animal senses. Each morning meet a resident VAI animal and learn about their extraordinary eyes, fantastic feelers, and other sense-sational senses. Learn how animals use their senses to survive in their environment and use what you learn to design your own new animals with amazing abilities! 

Some of the guided activities: 

  • Take home your own mystery organism
  • Set up and conduct your own behavioral investigations
  • Design and build a habitat for your new organism
  • Meet reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates
  • Meet a real scientist from the Van Andel Institute 
  • And much more! 

Dates: August 2 – 6
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Cost: $60
Register Now

Grades 4–5 | Girl Scouts: Journey Through a Life in Space


Did you know that virtually every female astronaut has been a Girl Scout? Join us for a week of exploration to learn what it’s like to live and work in space. Earn your Space Science Investigator badge as you discover how the human body works differently in space, gain an understanding of the dangers associated with space travel, learn about what robots can do for humans in space, and much more! 

Some of the guided activities: 

  • Build a scale model of our solar system
  • Build foam rockets and launch them into your solar system
  • Exercise like an astronaut
  • Discover the effect of microgravity on your body
  • Design part of an astronaut suit to stay safe in space
  • See the effect of meteors and micrometeoroids on spacecraft
  • Talk with an expert from NASA about their work
  • Design a prototype of a robotic arm to pick objects up in space

Dates: July 19 – 23
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Cost:
$60
Register Now

Grades 6–8 | Crime Scene Forensics: Catching a Criminal

Explore and learn what it takes to be a crime scene forensic scientist. Study different techniques used to analyze a crime scene, determine who is ultimately responsible for committing different crimes, and participate in hands-on investigations focusing on fingerprinting, DNA analysis, and more! Talk with an actual crime scene forensic scientist to learn more about this exciting career, and be ready to put your skills to the test, and solve a crime on the last day of camp!

Some of the guided activities: 

  • Learn how to complete a fingerprinting analysis
  • Engage in a (simulated) blood typing investigation
  • Discover how to analyze different fibers lifted from a crime scene to determine what they are
  • Meet with a forensic scientist from the Michigan State Police and learn how to analyze an actual crime scene, while discovering more about that career
  • Put your skills to the test, as you use your learnings to solve a crime at the end of the camp
  • And much more!

Dates: July 5 – 9
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Cost: $60
Register Now

Grades 6–8 | Power Up: Energizing Our Future

Discover different types of renewable energy. Design a car powered by alternative energy; make a machine that transfers energy to complete a task; use solar energy to cook a marshmallow. Now more than ever, energy needs to be renewable. Through hands-on investigations, learn how alternative energies can be used to power the future.

 Some of the guided activities: 

  • Design and build a vehicle powered by an alternative energy source of your choice
  • Create a Rube Goldberg machine to accomplish a simple task
  • Conduct an energy audit of your home to find out where you can save energy (and money!)
  • Learn about different types of energy and energy transformations
  • Make a solar oven to cook a marshmallow
  • Meet a real scientist from the Van Andel Institute
  • And much more!

Dates: July 19 – 23
Time: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Cost: $60
Register Now

Grades 6–8 | Hogwarts in Grand Rapids: The Science Behind the Magic

Calling all witches and wizards! Grab your brooms, or use your Floo powder, and travel to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—Van Andel style! Immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter as you get sorted into houses, make a magic wand, and attend courses such as Potions, Caring for Magical Creatures, History of Magic, and Broomstick Flying! Use your newfound knowledge to compete in the all new Triwizard Tournament at the end of the camp.

Some of the guided activities: 

  • Meet the Sorting Hat and let him determine the house that you belong in
  • Participate in a different Hogwarts class (including Potions, Caring for Magical Creatures and more!) each day to become a more complete witch or wizard
  • Earn House points as you compete with all the different houses of Hogwarts to win the House Cup at the end of the week
  • Use all your newfound knowledge to compete with your fellow wizards in the Triwizard Tournament at the end of the week
  • Meet a real scientist from the Van Andel Institute

Dates: August 9 – 13
Time: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Cost: $60
Register Now

Grades 6–9 | Mission to Mars


Explore the science, engineering, and technology needed to complete a mission to Mars. Learn about the red planet and why scientists are so interested in learning more about it. Build and test a rocket that will travel into space! Design a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to bring your crew back from space. Learn about coding and its role in space exploration and learn to code your own program. 

 Some of the guided activities: 

  • Learn about NASA’s current efforts and goals for Mars exploration
  • Design a space vehicle that will return astronauts safely back to earth
  • Design and code your own program using Scratch
  • Calculate your age and weight on Mars and find out why it is different
  • Build and test a rocket.
  • Meet a real scientist from the Van Andel Institute
  • And much more!

Dates: July 26 – 30
Time: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Cost:
$60
Register Now

Grades 9–12 | Biotech Explorers


Explore the world of biotechnology from the comfort of your own home! Discover and perform lab techniques (including DNA extraction, gel electrophoresis, ELISA protocol, and more) used in research facilities around the world. Each morning you will learn about a new biotechnology technique used by professionals and run a simulation of that technique.

Some of the guided activities: 

  • Extract your own DNA
  • Engage in an ELISA Protocol
  • Build your own gel electrophoresis chamber
  • Conduct a DNA Fingerprinting Investigation
  • Meet with scientists from the Van Andel Institute and virtually tour a research lab
  • And much more!

Dates: June 14 – 18
Time: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Cost:
$100
Register Now

Refund/Cancellation Policy
  • Full refunds will be given if requested more than 7 days before the start date of your camp.
  • Partial refunds (50% tuition) will be given if requested 7 days or less of the start date of your camp.