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Students will select one of three academic areas of focus, which involves four and a half days of instruction and hands-on learning. Participants create an end-of-session project from their seminar coursework.

These project-based academic seminars are taught by Davidson Academy instructors and take place on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Students will be provided a short evaluation of their work, which may include accomplishments and areas of growth. 

2024 Seminar Topics

Students rank their preferred seminar topic in the application.
Seminar placement is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend applying early.

The Chemistry of Toys

The best toys do more than entertain us. They engage us and inspire our imagination. Scientific concepts provide the foundation for many different toys. In this seminar, students will have a blast playing while investigating the science that makes each toy fascinating. The session begins with an exploration of physical and chemical properties. Students will observe how physical changes differ from chemical reactions through demonstrations involving mysterious flames, glowing worms, and secret messages. Through a hands-on lab, students will investigate a toy that "pops" and the chemical reaction responsible. With an understanding of matter and the changes it undergoes, students will apply their knowledge in a project to explain the mechanisms behind a specific toy. We will share our knowledge, and our toys, in a final presentation celebration.

Instructor: Beth Verano

Exploring Fantasy: Essential Elements of the Genre

Take a seminar course focused on mystical, fantastical stories! We will dive into different worlds of fantasy in literature and pick apart how to create a fantasy of your own. In this course, you will learn all about worldbuilding by focusing on the creation of unique characters, gripping conflicts, otherworldly magic, and adventure. Since fantasy has such a wide range, we will explore diverse forms of the genre from short stories to epics that unfold in dramatically different settings. Through these mediums, we will pin down the elements of various fantasy stories to decide what styles, tones, atmospheres, and moods speak to you the most before applying those to create your own magical world. The final project will be advertising your personally crafted fantasy world to your peers as a vacation destination. What about your world might be intriguing to other people? What kind of adventures or explorations could materialize there? Why should others want to visit your creation? You will practice being persuasive, direct, and specific in the final project presentation to demonstrate to your peers how interesting and unique your creation can be.

Instructor: Megan Hightower

Upgrade Arcade

Welcome to the thrilling realm of Gamecraft, where budding coders delve into JavaScript game development! In this engaging course, students will create captivating games, whether it's crafting Flappy Birds' dynamic movements, Tetris-inspired challenges, Galaga-style enemy onslaughts, or Brick Breaker showdowns - imagination knows no bounds.

Throughout this adventure, students will master a diverse array of programming skills vital for game creation. They'll not only harness variables, integers, strings, and lists but also explore the crucial concept of array-driven element tracking for efficient data management. Armed with constants for added stability, and proficient in sequencing, flow control, if/else statements, compound conditions, while and for loops, as well as mastering mouse events and graphical manipulations, students will skillfully breathe life into their gaming visions and final projects. Get ready to craft a fun, interactive experience where user interactions steer the gameplay towards victory and high scores!

Instructor: Callie McCartney