After School Programs

OVERVIEW

Every day of the week, Monday through Friday, we run a variety of STEAM afternoon programs. Classes  are open to students ages 7-15 unless otherwise noted, and meet once a week, from 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., for 11-12 weeks (unless there is a holiday.) We divide the school year into trimesters, so students enroll in a particular enrichment program for one trimester at a time.

  • Fall:  September 5 – November 21, 2017
  • Winter:  November 28, 2017 – March 9, 2018
  • Spring:  March 12, 2018 – June 8, 2018

Pricing

The cost for our afternoon programs is $30 per day per child. 10 week classes are $300, 11 week classes are $330, and 12 week classes are $360 per trimester. 

Transportation

A bus service is available for an additional fee t take students to various surrounding towns after our enrichment programs. Here is our 2017-18 bus schedule:

1. Departure at Acera School, 5:35 pm
2. Winchester 5:40 pm, Westland @ High Street
3. Arlington 5:50 pm, McClennen Park (664 Summer Street, close to Arlington/Lexington city line)
4. West Medford 6:00 pm, Joe Pizza/United Gas station (638 High St.)
5. Belmont 6:10 pm, Brighton St. at Chilton St.
6. Belmont 6:18 pm, 280 Payson Road (Close to Cambridge/Belmont city line)
7. Waltham 6:35 pm, 785 Beaver St., Chapel Hill Chauncey Hall

If you are interested in adding bus service, please e-mail bus@aceraschool.org.

Winchester Public School students can now take the school bus from Lincoln, Lynch, McCall and Muraco Schools to Acera’s After School programs. You can make arrangements through your school’s bus coordinator.

Our Approach

At Acera, we believe that deep exploration of STEAM subjects should begin early. Our hands-on learning environment allows elementary and middle school children to nurture their natural desire to inquire, create, and innovate; and experiment with content and concepts usually reserved for older students–or not introduced during K-12 school years at all.

With emphases on critical thought, creative problem solving, and integration of content areas, our programs inspire all types of learners and thinkers. Students discover engineering, biotechnology, math, arts, theater, design, electronics, music, chemistry, physics, teamwork, friendships — and who they are: as individuals, learners, and collaborators.

What to Expect

Our STEAM Learning Lab is designed to challenge students of all ages and learning styles. Participants should expect to tackle difficult, enticing problems, individually and in groups. They should anticipate taking the time to incorporate new techniques as they create unique works of art or design experimental protocols or novel engineering solutions.

SCHEDULE

Afternoon programs meet once a week, from 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the Acera School. Classes are open to children ages 7-15 unless otherwise indicated.

MONDAYS

Lego Robotics: Creativity meets Engineering (9+)
Can you take an existing robot, and slow it down? Can you make a humanoid robot that inhales and exhales? How about getting a robot and a computer to collaborate to calculate Pi? In this class, students build and work with LEGO and other robots to make the complex systems that sit inside many automated processes visible and understandable. Each week, they start with a different extant robot, machine, code or other system or project idea, and break it down into simpler parts. They’ll also share their work in a variety of narrative forms, learning concepts in robotics, computer sciences and other STEM disciplines as they explore and reflect. Students will work with LEGO EV3 kits, LEGO NXT, Computers and Raspberry Pi-s. If your child has MacBook of any kind, please have them bring it. Note: Students will NOT be able to take home the robots they make. Students CAN bring their own LEGO kit to build with and take home (just let us know this when you register.) Instructor: David Alsdorf, TUFTS Center for Engineering Education and Outreach teacher, researcher, curriculum developer and artist.

LARP Adventure Program (10+)
Have you ever wanted to seek treasure and uncover the secrets of the world? Battle brutal bandits, gruesome goblins, and deadly dragons? Find your way through the dungeon and claim the ancient treasure? Now you can in an interactive world of live-action roleplay (LARP). In a one-of-a-kind experience, you will explore community, art and self-discovery by becoming your own personal hero at the Zelmore Heroes Academy! You will learn a hero’s values, perspectives, and discipline as you adventure through the fantastic world of Etheraz from a new and unexplored area in the story’s world.Through themed games, art projects, and interactive theater, we will create a world of wonder, go on fantastic adventures, and discover magical mysteries. Led by LARP Adventure Program

Games, Arts & Discovery
Are you eager to explore our nature-based adventure playground, and engage both your body and your mind as you create theaters and forts, tie new platforms into the trees or make a new swing using ropes and branches? Do you like to take all the blocks and board game pieces and other supplies you can find in your house and turn them into an airport, a city, a land no one has ever seen before? This program is all about free, creative play, outdoors and indoors. Based on the group and their interests, student will play games, build and create, supported and guided in their quests and explorations by our afternoon staff. (This program also serves as a drop-in option.) Instructor: Acera afternoon staff.

Apply and Register

TUESDAYS

Woodshop (7+)
Design and build your own wooden creations in our well-equipped wood shop. This class does not require prior woodworking experience. Advanced students will be able to customize their work and pick more complex projects. Instructor: Josh Briggs, Acera Math and Engineering Teacher and Woodshop Manager

SEEDS Design Studio Electronic Arts (7+)
In our SEEDS StudioLab, students blend creativity, coding, engineering, imagination, design and robotics to tell their stories and develop interactive projects that defy classification. Interactive murals, drawing robots, programmable projections, solar-powered jewelry, and electronic textiles are just a few examples of recent SEEDS Lab projects. Check out the slideshow below for some pictures of student work! Instructor: Alisha Panjwani, Acera SEEDS StudioLab founder, MIT Media Lab alum, author, and designer

Games, Arts & Discovery
Are you eager to explore our nature-based adventure playground, and engage both your body and your mind as you create theaters and forts, tie new platforms into the trees or make a new swing using ropes and branches? Do you like to take all the blocks and board game pieces and other supplies you can find in your house and turn them into an airport, a city, or a land no one has ever seen before? This program is all about free, creative play, outdoors and indoors. Based on the group and their interests, student will play games, build and create, supported and guided in their quests and explorations by our afternoon staff. (This program also serves as a drop-in option.) Instructor: Acera afternoon staff.

Apply and Register

WEDNESDAYS

Woodshop & Engineering (10+)
Design, iterate & build wooden projects using engineering best practices.
Instructor: Acera afternoon staff.

Science Explorations (7-9)
This class is perfect for any young mind who wants to know more about biology and chemistry. Through hands-on activities and experiments, students will be introduced to how a scientist works in a laboratory, from planning your experiment to running it to observing and interpreting your results. Our approach for this class is to get young minds excited about science, and allow them to explore concepts within biology and chemistry in hands-on and age appropriate ways. Parents should know that at this age, students may not necessarily be able to recite specific scientific concepts in detail; but they will begin their scientific literacy, and gain an intuitive understanding of the science they tackled, which will include aspects of acid/base chemistry, chemical reactions, crystals, polymer chemistry, microbiology, and ecology. There is no prior knowledge of science needed, just a passion for the subject matter. Students need to be able to comfortably fit at the lab table as well as fit into extra small gloves and be able to hold glass objects. Instructor: Michael Hirsch, Acera Science Lab Manager, former biotech scientist and AP science teacher

Creative Computing & Robotics Club (7+)
Build your computer science and robotics skills in a way that fits your potential. Instructors: Alisha Panjwani and afternoon staff.

Political Science & Model UN Club(Middle School Students Only)
Explore the big challenges of our time and open up your mind as an emerging world citizen. Engage in deep discussions about current events. Get exposure to primary sources and formative ideas in the political science, governmental, historical and philosophical landscape. Through the year, participate in Model UN conferences in which you take on the perspective and voice of different countries, focusing on current issues. Through this experience, come to understand historical perspectives on the relationships between nations, their different beliefs and viewpoints, and broaden your perspective on the world. Develop your communication, writing and leadership skills through the Model UN Conference experience. Instructor: Robyn Deakins, Acera Cross Classroom and Math Teacher.

Games, Arts & Discovery
Are you eager to explore our nature-based adventure playground, and engage both your body and your mind as you create theaters and forts, tie new platforms into the trees or make a new swing using ropes and branches? Do you like to take all the blocks and board game pieces and other supplies you can find in your house and turn them into an airport, a city, or a land no one has ever seen before? This program is all about free, creative play, outdoors and indoors. Based on the group and their interests, student will play games, build and create, supported and guided in their quests and explorations by our afternoon staff. (This program also serves as a drop-in option.) Instructor: Acera afternoon staff.

Apply and Register

THURSDAYS

Woodshop (7+)
Design and build your own wooden creations in our well-equipped wood shop. Instructor: Josh Briggs, Acera Math and Engineering Teacher and Woodshop Manager

Game Design (8+)
Do you play by the rules? Or do you like to try new rules in your games? Do you like to make up new games? This program will look at game design from many different angles over the course of the school year. In this class, discover how to design and develop your own tabletop game (board/card/no limits to your imagination!) Working in a small team, you can design, test and refine your game, just like the pros! Students employ creativity, collaboration, and systems-thinking in putting their own twist on familiar game styles; and document and reflect on their progress along the way. Then transfer your game design and theory skills to the screen and design a video game. Instructor: Danny Fain, STEM teacher, software developer and Acera specialist teacher

SEEDS Design Studio/Electronic Arts (10-15)
Let’s hack some electronic toys to make better ones. Or build a microscope out of a simple webcam, taking photos and video as we explore our environment on a different scale. Or, how about a painting that includes light? In our SEEDS StudioLab, students blend creativity, coding, engineering, imagination, design and robotics to tell their stories and develop interactive projects that defy classification. Interactive murals, drawing robots, programmable projections, solar-powered jewelry, and electronic textiles are just a few examples of recent SEEDS StudioLab projects. This program for older students will include designing a project in CAD to be 3d printed! Instructor: Alisha Panjwani, Acera SEEDS StudioLab founder, MIT Media Lab alum, author, and designer

Games, Arts & Discovery
Are you eager to explore our nature-based adventure playground, and engage both your body and your mind as you create theaters and forts, tie new platforms into the trees or make a new swing using ropes and branches? Do you like to take all the blocks and board game pieces and other supplies you can find in your house and turn them into an airport, a city, or a land no one has ever seen before? This program is all about free, creative play, outdoors and indoors. Based on the group and their interests, student will play games, build and create, supported and guided in their quests and explorations by our afternoon staff. (This program also serves as a drop-in option.) Instructor: Acera afternoon staff.

Debate Club (Middle School students)
Debates are an important part of the political process (not just in an election year) but for some, they are also a team sport: You research an argument, then you use your creativity, logical thinking and powers of persuasion to argue – nope, not what you think, but both sides of the issue! In this program, you will improve your public speaking and research skills as you deeply explore topics in current affairs, and learn how to present an argument convincingly and concisely within a time limit (2-4 minutes!) You will learn how others think about an issue, and take many perspectives that help you understand and communicate effectively in a global society. Instructor: Debbie Seidell, Acera Secondary Math Teacher

Apply and Register

FRIDAYS

Hands-On Robotics (7+)
What happens when robotics meets Rube Goldberg? You will find out in this class! In our first trimester, we will start by designing the kinds of chain reactions we see in Rube Goldberg machines, then create robots as a tool to connect the different sections of the contraption. Students will have lots of freedom to work creatively as they select their machine mechanisms, and in the process pursue a deeper understanding of how to construct a robot. Instructor: Suzana Somers, Acera Cross Classroom Teacher and MakerSpace specialist

Games and Outdoor Adventurers
Are you eager to explore our nature-based adventure playground, and engage both your body and your mind as you create theaters and forts, tie new platforms into the trees or make a new swing using ropes and branches? Do you like to take all the blocks and board game pieces and other supplies you can find in your house and turn them into an airport, a city, or a land no one has ever seen before? This program is all about free, creative play, outdoors and indoors. Based on the group and their interests, student will play games, build and create, supported and guided in their quests and explorations. (This program also serves as a drop-in option.) Instructor: Vanesssa Roman, Acera Teacher in Friendship Skills, Kinetic Matematics and Theatre Arts

Apply and Register

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