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140 Balboa Street @ 3rd Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118

Previous Programs

Celsius Each year our programs change almost entirely.  Moreover, every year we are faced with the daunting task of choosing from a long list of wonderful science topics knowing that we can’t include all! 

We therefore suggest that if you see a program you like, that you sign up for it early as it may not be offered again for another 2-4 years or perhaps never again. 

The programs listed below were offered by Celsius during the period 2007-2010. 

Cell Biology

The Wacky World of Germs, Virus and Bacteria
See up close and personal some of the smallest creatures on earth.  Learn how those smart organisms manage to make us sick or make our food taste delicious.  Under the microscope we will see which organisms live on our hands, our furniture and the food we eat.  Through fascinating hands-on experiments, we will see how medication, immunization and the immune system work. 
This class utilizes G.F.P., a glowing protein taken from the Aequorea Victoria jellyfish.  The scientists who discovered this method won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008.

Designed By You, Designed By Nature - Biomimicry

What do Velcro and airplanes have in common? Both were invented by mimicking nature.  Biomimicry examines nature, its processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to improve our lives.  
Through observations and fun hands-on activities, we will learn from plants and animals to design buildings and furniture.  With team work, observations, research and brainstorming, teams will be challenged to combine their knowledge and imagination to design things that save energy, minimize or eliminate waste, and save material cost.  Some of the projects may be so cool, they will become conversation pieces in your living room!

Bug's Life - Entomology

Life on earth as we know it would not be possible without insects.  They are more than half of all species on the planet and their role is mighty!  You will build different type of traps to capture insects and then observe them under the microscope.  We will build a new home for some of the bugs and test their vision, sense of touch, and smell.  You will observe some really weird things like exploding ants, cowgirl ants, wasps building condominiums, mother wasps that eat the fathers, beetles that dress up like ants and more!  You will make models of some of the interesting mechanisms of beetles, ants, dragonflies, mayflies and more.  Most importantly, we will learn why in the world we need bugs?!

Dissecting Your Way to Understanding Anatomy

Wouldn’t it be great if we could unzip our skin and take a quick peek inside our body? For practical reasons we will instead take a look inside other organisms such as squids, starfish, shrimps, clams, frogs, mice, chickens, sheep and pigs.  By dissecting each organism and understanding its environment, we will learn why humans and animals are the way they are.  We will touch and feel organs such as hearts, brains and eyes and learn about their functions.  By the end of the week, you'll be an expert on many of the key organs and their functions - you will even be ready to perform a medical exam! 

The Strangest Diseases from Around the World
Meet the strangest, weirdest, and freakiest diseases in the world!  We will “travel” the world to learn how ecology and geographic conditions help some truly strange diseases thrive in some parts of the world but not in others.  Through hands-on activities we will learn about cell and DNA characteristics of insects, viruses, bacteria, parasites, yeasts and prions.  We will then analyze why certain diseases transfer from animal to human and vice versa and see how medicines help fight them. 

Oy vey! Nemo is Turning into a Girl!
Love and Mating in the Animal Kingdom

Truth is stranger than fiction – especially true romance between lovers of the four-footed or six-legged variety. Evolution uses any means necessary to make life continue.

Fathers turning into mothers, girlfriends eating boyfriends, fathers getting pregnant, babies deceiving adoptive parents, males courting females by taking them on trips overseas, and other unnatural acts.  This shocking, hilarious and fascinating camp will get into the nitty-gritty of animal reproduction: DNA, cells, egg and sperm, and hormones.
Gain a unique prospective on animals -- because humans are not as interesting as we think we are!

Animals and humans are changing constantly even when we don’t “see” the change.  We will learn more about animals like dogs, fish and insects to see how they have changed and why.  We will learn the mechanics of how these changes took place by extracting their DNA as well as our own.  Based on these DNA extractions, we will find “relatives” among animals and predict their evolution in the future.  We will visit the California Academy of Science for a special tour to see what Darwin saw and eventually concluded - evolution!

Zebra Fishing for DNA
A Fascinating Journey of Genetics

Adopt a pair of zebra fish for the week.  You will follow the gravid female and watch how her embryos develop under the microscope!  Visit a “crime scene,” where you will put your investigator-scientist hat on, analyze forensic evidence, apply what you had learned from the zebra fish to solve the mystery and find the criminal.  After that, we will visit the Stainier Lab at UCSF to see how scientists use zebra fish and their DNA to seek cures for heart and liver disease in people.  We will also stop by the media lab at UCSF to see really cool 3D images of DNA. Finally, we will talk about the future of genetics and cloning. 

The 5 Ecosystems of San Francisco
Hiking your way through the marvels of our city

Discover San Francisco's hidden trails and beautiful scenery while learning about our city's numerous ecosystems. We will set bug traps in the forest, go for a treasure hunt in the wetlands, learn about ocean fishery, and hear from the experts about urban planning and recycling. As we hike we will learn to identify local vegetation and use binoculars to watch birds. We will learn to use compasses and maps, put together our own hiking gear, prepare hiking food, collect bugs, and use natural fiber to do craft projects. At the end of the week you will be your family and friends' designated hiking guide, showing them all about San Francisco’s wonderful nature. 

Urban Farmers
Gardening in San Francisco

Pull up your sleeves and dig deep into the ground to discover the science of gardening.  We will plan, design, and plant together a vegetable garden.  You will learn the biology of plants, the beauty of pollination, the art of cross-planting, composting, smart watering, analyzing the soil, encouraging friendly insects, and caring for plants.  We will visit urban farms with actual urban chickens!   Every day, we will prepare delicious dishes made from locally grown produce. At the end of the week, you will take home a container garden to continue the fun of urban gardening while reducing your carbon footprint.

The Science of the Top 4 Killers 

60% of all deaths in the USA are caused by 4 diseases: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Why are these diseases so common? How do they hurt us? What can we do to prevent them from happening to us? Through fun hands-on activities we will learn about the heart, blood vessels, and cells.  Together we will walk to the farmer’s market to choose food that is healthy and delicious.  We’ll learn to design and prepare our own healthy meals.  Finally, we will witness first hand how different sports affect our hearts.   After taking this multi-themed class, French Fries will never look the same!

Girls Only!

Everything you ever wanted to know about being a teenage that you couldn’t find out on the web or from your friends.  All of the physical and emotional changes you are going through are well grounded in science.  You will learn from experts in the field about the female reproductive system and hormonal system.  A teen physiologist will join us to help us understand self-esteem, friendships and intimacy. Another expert will discuss drug abuse.  Through fun hands-on activities you will learn about your skin structure how to best care for it.   We will even practice some of that care advice in our in-house spa!  The week will end with a good dose of physical and nutritional information coupled with cooking and sports to help you build a healthy and strong body.   

Physics / Technology / Math

The Universe Biggests Secrets

Take an out-of-this-world journey to outer space and explore the wonders of the universe.  Learn hands-on the fascinating secrets of all the sciences on Earth including chemistry, physics, and biology and their origins in the all encompassing science: astronomy.
Explore how the Earth’s seasons, tides, and weather are affected by our neighbor, the moon.  Discover your address in our galactic neighborhood. Visit the planetarium to see distant stars up close and personal, and design a fun vacation for your great-great-grand children in our solar system.  Imagine yourself as a NASA astronaut and learn what it takes to be one.  The beauty and the grandness of our universe will open new doors to our imagination and mind.

Electrical Connections
Discover the shocking truth about electricity and put it to work.  Create circuits, switches and fuses from scratch to create working machines and toys.  Run your imagination wild designing your own project! 

The Robotics Challenge (Pico-Cricket)
Welcome to the future - where machines interact with humans.   In this class you'll write computer programs that can put lights, sound, music and motion into your robotic creation.  Each day we will focus on a different type of robot: furniture, animals, amusement park and cars.  This unique mixture of craft and technology is the ideal playground for imaginative and great minds!  
This program utilizes the MIT Media Lab technology and is presented in collaboration with the award winning San Francisco State University’s Engineering Design Center. The center enhances engineering education in conjunction with the University and is headed by Larry Klingenberg. 

Robotics (Lego Mindstorm)

Hop into your spaceship and go on a mission to Mars!  You will explore Mars riding a rover and will meet out-of-this-world creatures!  This adventure will become possible with the help of Lego’s Mindstorm® robots and your own imagination.  You will write kid-friendly computer programs, sync them to your robots, and use sensors and motors to move your creations.  After camp, students will be given a video of the week’s battles, competitions and collaborative teambuilding events

Kinderbots Fun 
Build amazing robotics machines using gears, motors, controllers and sensors. You will learn about the robots around us every day in our homes, schools, and workplace and then build robots yourself. Kids will build robots to compete in fun real-world challenges like robo-soccer, obstacle courses, capture-the-flag, tag, maze solving and much more! After camp, students will be given a video of the week's battles, competitions and collaborative teambuilding events.

The Invisible Physics of Flight

How do airplanes manage to get up into the sky and how in the world do they stay there? Campers carefully consider the invisible forces involved in flight as they build airplanes, divers, and helicopters.  Hear the stories of the fascinating people who made human flight possible. Hands-on experiments are the best way to learn about pressure, temperature, Newton's laws, and the mysterious Coanda effect.  To help us fully understand these concepts, we will analyze how different objects move in space, in the oceans and on the moon.  Best of all, you get to take your projects home.

Wacky Weather Fun
Learn about tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, rain, fog, snow and all kinds of other cool things.  Take measurements and build instruments that actually predict the weather.  Meteorologists don't have a crystal ball but the stuff they do sometimes seems almost magical.  You will get to be so good at predicting the weather that we will compare their daily predictions to ours. 

The Math of Ancient Greece

Bring math to life by going back in time and stepping into one of the world’s most influential civilizations.  We will gain new appreciation for architecture by learning the math behind the impressive Greek Parthenon.  We will understand what humans consider beautiful by learning the Golden Ratio and study Aphrodite’s sculpture.  We will build an Olympic village model using the oldest geometry principles of Euclid as well as learn about parabolas when we hold our own “Olympic Games” playing with balls.  As the week unfolds you will discover that in addition to these math concepts shaping Greek civilization, they are interconnected and are just as relevant for your personal world.  We will end the week with a fun feast, complete with togas, floor cushions and geometrically shaped desserts that we will make ourselves.

Chances Are.... - Statistics and Probability
If you think there is a good chance that probability plays a huge part in your life, then come join us!  We will dig for probability in sports, card games, Facebook, diseases, candy eating, birthdays, school exams, IQ tests and more.  We will bring to life concepts such as mean, variance, and the law of large numbers.  You will conduct a fun marketing research project, analyzing data and drawing statistical conclusions.  In between activities the teacher will tell us math stories, describe the nature of infinity and other great math topics that are just plain fascinating. 


Top Chef - The Science of Nutrition
Great tasting cookies, incredible pasta and mouth watering main courses – all are made possible thanks to proteins, fat and carbohydrates.  You’ll be cooking up some pretty neat food ideas in our lab all the while learning about proteins, carbs and fats.  How do these things make it possible for us to bake and cook our favorite foods?  You will find out as we learn all about the subject of good nutrition.  And don’t forget: we get to eat the experiments! 
Top Chef - The Science of Baking
Learn the secrets that top chefs use in making scrumptious pastries that look fabulous. We will learn "hands-on" the properties of structure builders, carbon dioxide and microorganisms so that we can make delicious food the way the professionals do. We will eat all of our "experiments" on the day we make them. We will also go to the local Farmers Market a few times to shop for fresh ingredients.

Top Chef – The Science of Country Cooking

Travel to the kitchens in the countryside of Italy, Provence, and the North Africa. We will cook delicious country food while learning the chemistry behind it.  Learn about fermentation, emulsification, caramelization, acids and braising by making traditional country dishes such as: farmer’s cheese, pickles, country breads, pies, gazpacho, cured salmon, tagine and more.  We will also learn about the slow food movement and shop for fresh ingredients everyday at the farmers market. 

The Science of Metalsmithing

Learn what it takes to transform metal from its raw form to a beautiful piece of jewelry.  You will be making a sterling-silver ring, a copper and brass necklace and pin, a pewter bracelet, and an enameled charm.  You will measure in metrics, cut with thin saws, solder, anneal, and polish  If you choose to give your creation as a gift to someone special, you can engrave it with a personal message. 

The Science of Metalsmithing         
Advanced Techniques

Create exceptional metal pieces using advanced techniques.  You will make a sterling silver ring with a gemstone in a bezel setting, create an enameled box and rivet a piece of jewelry of your choice.  Introduction to Metalsmithing camp is a prerequisite. 


The Art of Germs, Bacteria and Viruses
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere” - Albert Einstein
Get inspired by the fascinating images of germs, bacteria and viruses to create two dimensional paintings with acrylic, watercolor, paper and fabric.  Then add bright colors to your dynamic creation so that it grows, divides and moves just like germs and cells.   Dive even deeper to the world of DNA and create a 3 dimensional project using wood, acrylic, paint and paper.