Summer Camp

All Summer Camps are now 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!

2020 Elementary, Middle School, and High School Camps

2nd – 3rd Grade | Virtual Can you Dig it?

Explore the amazing world of fossils from the comfort of your own home. Think and act like a true paleontologist as you collaborate (virtually) with new friends, make your own fossils, create a fossil sandwich, and participate in a unique fossil dig!

Some of the guided activities: 

  • Make your own fossils 
  • Create a fossil sandwich 
  • Participate in a unique fossil dig 
  • Collaborate virtually with new friends 
  • Meet with bone scientists from the Van Andel Research Institute 
  • And much more! 

Dates: June 8 – 12
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $60

2nd – 3rd Grade | Virtual 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 Research Institute.
  • And much more! 

Dates: August 3 – 7
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register Now

4th – 5th Grade | Virtual Animal Survivor: Pill Bugs, Newts, & Geckos, Oh My!

In this virtual experience, investigate the world of animal adaptations and the habitats they live in! Each morning you will be introduced to a resident VAI animal and will conduct observational studies to learn more about that species

Some of the guided activities: 

  • Conduct Observational Trait studies 
  • Conduct your own behavioral trait investigations  
  • Design a habitat for an organism  
  • Collaborate virtually with new friends 
  • Meet a real scientist from the Van Andel Research Institute 
  • And much more! 

Dates: June 22 – 26
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $60

4th – 6th Grade | Virtual What's in Our Water? Exploring the Grand River

Ever wonder, “what’s in our water?” Well now you can find out in this virtual summer camp! Investigate this question as you collect, test, and analyze local water samples. Examine possible sources of contamination in our waterways. Build your environmental expertise as you explore ways to improve our water quality. Learn from environmental experts to better understand how all our water is connected—and how crucial it is to keep it clean!

Some of the guided activities: 

  • Determine the water quality of the Grand River.
  • Design and build solutions to help prevent run-off from getting into our water.
  • Build a rain barrel to use right in your backyard.
  • Learn from real environmental experts about our water and how you can make a difference.
  • Create a Public Service Announcement to share with others about how we can improve the quality of our water.

Dates: July 27 – 31
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register Now

6th – 8th Grade | Virtual 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!

Dates: July 6 – 10
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register Now

6th – 8th Grade | Virtual Power Up: Energizing the 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 Research Institute.

Dates: July 20 – 24
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register Now

6th – 8th Grade | Virtual 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 Research Institute.

Dates: August 10 – 14
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Lunch: Bring your own
Cost: $60
Register Now

6th – 9th Grade | Virtual 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 Research Institute.

Dates: July 27 – 31
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Cost:
$60
Register Now

9th – 12th Grade | Virtual 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 15 – 19
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Cost:
$100

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.