Hands-on math and science summer camps for 1st-8th grade.
Highly recommend Quantum Camp if you can get him out of school once/week (or do the summer program or homeschool). Firecracker math was also helpful as an afterschool supplement. We had little success obtaining differentiation or challenge in Berkeley. The expectation is to seek that outside of school.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I am writing to recommend Quantum Camp for both summer camp and also for the micro school during the year (for homeschoolers). My homeschooled son started Quantum Camp this fall so we have now been through 1 full 10-week session and are in week 9 of our second session. My son LOVES his teachers and also the work he does in Quantum Camp in both science and math. My son is learning a ton and really, really enjoys being in class and also doing the extensions (aka ''homework''). The material is presented in an exciting and clear manner. The teachers are top notch. It is such a pleasure as a parent to know that my son is in the hands of such skilled math and science teachers, who have helped him become so excited about the topics they are presenting (chemistry, electricity, recursion and combinatorics). happy mom
My fifth grade son has been taking Quantum Camp classes this year in Piedmont (Level 3: Chemistry, Electricity, Anatomy). He has really enjoyed his instructor Michael Finnegan, the amazing hands-on activities they do, and he especially likes the discussions the class has. He has become so fired up he aspires to study Chemistry in college. Quantum Camp has a unique approach developing the fundamentals of an area of study through experimentation and observation in a small group. Really recommend for inspiring Math and Science instruction!!! Kristine W
Re: Science & Math Camps that Girls Actually Attend
My son went to the Algebra in Motion class at the Berkeley Quantum camp. There were only 4 kids in his class (which was pretty awesome in terms of learning and attention). There was one girl, but it's such a small sample it's not meaningful. But, in the spring, when I registered him I called the office and they told me who was registered (by age and sex). So, easy for you to check. My son was really jealous of the science class where they were blowing things up. It's at the BART station, which is convenient. I was really impressed with the hands-on approach they seem to take, although I have no way to judge the academics. Although I failed, I think it's helpful to recruit a friend to go to the same class. If you get a chance, please post a review of the camps she went to! Anne
My daughter has also enjoyed the Quantum Camp (just be aware that the Berkeley location is right on top of the downtown Berkeley BART station -- a plus from a transit standpoint, but sometimes less so because of the atmosphere of the plaza outside). At Quantum, two of her three teachers have also been women which, for me, is a bonus. LH
Re: Summer chemistry for middle schooler
check out quantumcamp.com in downtown Berkeley. My son took one of their chemistry classes fall 2012 --level 3 which is 5th/6th grade -- explosions, experiments, weighing stuff, acids, flashes -- he loved it. Janis Chun was his excellent instructor, she has moved on to other ventures, but hoping the new person is also good. anon
Re: Private K-8 with strong science? Does it exist?
A cheaper way to get science/nature -- my son in public school has gone to quantumkids.com in downtown Berkeley. Also has gone to summer camp run by a teacher, camping in Big Sur, Mendocino etc. The teacher, Lee Tempkin, now teaches at NOCCS. It was enjoyable and nature-y, a bit granola-y, and is listed in Tom Lent's summer camp list. Quantum kids has been great in terms of meeting like minded individuals. The only private school I've seen that looks especially potentially science-y is maybe the small school in Berkeley that caters to intellectual kids. The Academy. Good luck. anon
Have your kids taken any classes at QuantumCamp in Berkeley? They've posted an announcement in this newsletter and their programs look interesting, but I am wondering if anyone has any personal experience with their science classes. Thanks. mom of a teen scientist
I can't say enough good things about Quantum Camp. My son took the first summer camp they offered last year and at the end said he couldn't possibly wait a whole year to do more. Michael and Ryan believe that high-end physics should be introduced beginning in middle school (age 12 or 13), and have a developed a curriculum that leads students to the concepts of quantum physics through direct experimentation. They now have programs in several other areas of math and science in additional to their original camp and my son is looking forward to taking most of their courses, starting with QC2 this fall. They've just moved into a permanent site in Berkeley right by the downtown BART. Jennifer
I'm sorry to say that my son & I were terribly disappointed in QuantumCamp. It looked fun, exciting, and academically challenging, but he found it to be none of those things. Rather, he heard a lot about how ''this is nothing like school - not boring at all'', and then performed experiments he'd already done . . . in school. It's not that the experiments were innately boring, just not as innovative as the teacher seemed to think.
In addition, there were behavior issues with a few kids on a daily basis (name-calling, throwing things at other students, etc.). While that can happen in any setting, I usually expect the grownup in charge to set limits and boundaries to deal with it. Instead, the teacher ignored my son's concerns, then told me that he (the teacher) didn't want to be too strict with the kids who were acting up, because then the experience would be ''too much like school.''
Full disclosure: we didn't finish out the week. When the problems weren't resolved the first day, my son asked the teacher for help. When that didn't work on the second day, I spoke to the teacher (as noted above). The third day brought no changes, so we didn't go back. disappointed mom
Hi, My 13 year old son attended QuantumCamp 1 at Chabot a few weeks ago, and LOVED it (as did his best friend who went too)! I can't say enough great things about these guys. They have a hands on, in depth program that is engaging for kids like my son who love science and math. I had been feeling like we had outgrown much of what was offered for his age group, and so I was very pleasantly suprised to find such a high caliber program.
I am also happy to say that they offer some courses during the school year. Most are currently not timed right for our school day (I think they cater to a lot of home-schoolers), but they have been very open to working out some kind of program for my son in an area of study that he wants to focus on. Hopefully, we can make that happen, but if not, I am sure we will sign up for camp again next summer.
FYI, they just moved into a new headquarters, and there is an open house September 2 from 7-9 pm. If you can't make it, you can email or call them. Mike Finnigan was my son's teacher and is very easy to reach. Their website is http://www.quantumcamp.com/
Hope this helps! I'd be happy to share more if you have any questions. Lori
I responded earlier, but I thought you might also like to hear about the camp from my son's perspective.
In his words-
''Quantum camp did one thing that really amazed me more than anything else. It walked me through the ways scientists in the 1800s figured out many of the things that I had assumed were just math. It establishes key fundamentals of physics and leads the way to a true understanding of quantum physics. Ryan and Michael have hit upon a simple, elegant, and intuitive way of teaching advanced physics to kids. They use amazing equipment and set up experiments simple enough that they don't require much mathematical know-how. All it requires is a basic understanding of the simplest parts of algebra, and even that isn't too important until the end. I can't recommend this camp highly enough for kids interested in physics.''
Good Luck! Lori