Group Curriculum Options

Applications for the 2020 Summer Bridge are now open!

During the application process, students will be able to select areas of interest from a variety of scientific fields. 

Curriculum is still in the process of being developed for 2020, however areas of interest will include: 

Astronomy and Space Exploration
Computer Science
Cyber Security
Environmental Science 
Forensic Anthropology 
Forensic Science 
Mountain Formation
Pollution and Climate
Rivers and Lakes
Study of Birds—Ornithology
Study of Tress and Tree Rings— Dendrochronology
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Drones
Wildlife Biology


In the past, our groups included:

Create a Martian Rover to Explore the Planet

Build and program a Lego Mindstorm robot to create your own Martian rover. With these rovers you will learn how to navigate using sensors, path planning, kinematics, and learn a little about how motors work. You will be able to rewrite formulas to solve for unknown variables, use circles and central angles to determine arc length, and calculate rotations using sines and cosines of an angle. These concepts help you to program and move your robot, and explore the Martian landscape. Learn electronics so that you can build solar arrays, distribute that power your Martian base, and explore the Martian subsurface with electromagnetic geophysical techniques. Why are all of our houses wired with parallel circuitry? What about neighborhoods, towns, cities and regions?

The Ultimate Test

You will test your rover’s capabilities in an out-of-this-world maze and at a number of science outposts on the Red Planet. Each of these outposts will have challenges for you overcome by using pure science explorations and projects necessary for human survival on Mars. Do Martians exist and could humans make Mars a colony of Earth? Find out!


Environments and Landscapes, Then and Now: Mountain Lake area, Virginia

Creating and Shaping Mountains

Basic principles of biology, chemistry, physics and geology all play important roles in both creating and shaping mountains and valleys, especially evident in the southern Appalachian Mountains in the Mountain Lake area of Giles County, Va. Students will learn the physical and chemical characteristics of, and how to identify the basic sedimentary rock types which make up the valleys and the ridges in the southern Appalachians. Students will learn about the formation of basic sedimentary rocks (sandstone, shale, and limestone) and the modifying forces of plate tectonics, weathering and erosion. During this session, students will participate in “hands-on” experiments and activities including a field trip to the Mountain Lake area in Giles County to observe and identify the rock types, geologic structures and weathering characteristics learned in class.

Mapping Landscapes with Google Earth

In this course, students will learn how to visualize and recognize landscapes using Google Earth, topographic and geologic maps, work with map scales and determine distances, ‘read’ topographic contours, and navigate using a topographic map. They will also receive a basic introduction to the use and application of GPS (global positioning systems). Students will put their mapping skills to work in the field by visiting the Mountain Lake area of Giles County. There, they will complete an outdoor exercise in which they locate, recognize and interpret the geomorphological features such as stream valleys and mountain ridges.


Forensic Science – Bones and Bytes

Session 1
Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Archaeology, and Forensic Science

As an introduction to the world of Forensic Science, this course will discuss and demonstrate the use of archaeological survey and excavation methods in the investigation of crime scenes. Included will be field training in proper techniques for identification, mapping, and excavation of covert burials as well as surface remains.This training will involve students in excavating a mock crime scene to collect and record evidence from human remains and other associated artifacts. In the laboratory, students will learn the basics of Forensic Anthropology and the analysis of human skeletal remains. This will include the differentiation of human versus non-human bone as well as the major techniques for assessing the age-at-death, sex, ancestry and stature of unidentified human remains. Students will also be introduced to the methods for investigating the manner of death.

Session 2
Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity

How do computer networks and systems help catch criminals? In this course, students will study the underlying concepts used in digital forensics to track illegal and criminal activity on networked systems to catch cyber-criminals. Students will also learn about the prevalence and sophistication of threats against both networked computing infrastructures and the users who use them.  Students will learn how to protect themselves against such attacks.


Genes, Molecules and Medicine

Session 1
Microorganisms in Medicine

Students will explore genetic aspects of health and diseases, and the roles that bacteria play in both.  They will conduct experiments that explore the ability of bacteria to make important drugs for treatment of diseases, as well as the effect that molecules, such as antibiotics, made by microorganisms have in treating infections.  As a part of this course, students will take a field trip to Novozymes to learn about the application of microorganisms in industrial biotechnology.


Session 2
Medicinal Chemistry

Have you ever wondered how medicines work?  In this course, students will learn about the discovery, design, and use of drugs to treat a number of diseases, including bacterial infections.  They will use computer modeling to explore the chemical structure of drug molecules, their targets, and the interactions between them.  Students will use what they learn to make some molecules, and find out if they work as antibiotics.