QC courses are all designed with the idea that humans love to learn! For years, the QuantumCamp team has been experimenting on how to build an experience that best facilitates learning for children. We theorize, debate, and continually take measure of our endeavors to see what’s successful and how we can improve. Our team is structured to ensure that each teacher has the space to think and dig into theories in education and best classroom practices. Our objective is to blend broad theory with our own particular setting and our own empirical observations to create a rigorous and engaging experience for children.
Very broadly speaking, QuantumCamp aligns with a theory of education known as constructivism. According to this theory, it is the role of the school and teacher to allow students to construct their own understanding of reality by assimilating new information, introduced by the educator, with existing knowledge.
Combining ideas from the great thinkers in education – Maria Montessori, John Dewey, Paulo Freire, Rudolf Steiner, and Jerome Bruner – we look for ways to take the best parts of these theories and implement them in the classroom for student success. The result of years of experimentation, research, and iteration is our own QC pedagogy.
We have synthesized a QuantumCamp pedagogy which is centered on four elements:
- Guided Discovery – the foundation of QC courses are Learning Activity Blocks (LABs): experiments and activities which facilitate discovery of new ideas
- Concept Based – every course is focused on a singular and interesting concept; skill building occurs in pursuit of understanding the concept
- Context – knowledge builds from knowledge and therefore each course is designed as a story which builds on itself
- Freedom – students thrive in a relaxed, safe space and therefore we purposely provide the time and tools for students to naturally arrive at their own conception of the universe around them.
Level Placement: QC courses are offered at these levels:
- Level 1 (Grades 1–2)
- Level 2 (Grades 3–4)
- Level 3 (Grades 5–6)
- Level 4 (Grades 7–8)
- High School (Grades 9-12)
Students of all backgrounds, academic experiences, and learning styles come together in our classrooms and create an intellectually rich and socially positive atmosphere at QuantumCamp. The classroom experience is activity based and focused on discovering big concepts. Almost always, this is a collaborative, group effort relying on the important perspectives of all students. Differentiation, with regard to skill building, occurs outside of class through extensions where students can work to their highest potential on things related to concepts discovered in class. In the classroom, conceptual differentiation is managed through careful construction of activities and through teacher guidance. Because of these practices, we place students in Levels based solely on age.
Our reverence for the beauty and utility of mathematics is boundless! We provide the space and time for students to reach their own appreciation of great math ideas. From first grade through middle school, our approach is to take the truly profound and interesting concepts and make them accessible to our students. Like in our science courses, students experiment with math in order to understand it. As a result, students leave feeling a sense of ownership of their understanding of mathematics. Math is now a set of ideas built up by the student.
Level 1 (Grades 1–2): Examining ideas from the number line to data analysis, students study the concepts that make up the foundation of mathematical inquiry.
Level 2 (Grades 3–4): Students add to their fundamental mathematical knowledge by studying the concepts behind the major branches of mathematics from measurement to probability.
Level 3 (Grades 5–6): From algorithms to pi, students delve into mathematical ideas and discover how they manifest across various disciplines.
Level 4 (Grades 7–8): These courses present students with the major discoveries in mathematics that have shaped our modern understanding and continue to inspire research even today.
At QC, the path to designing engaging science curriculum is clear: we have our students do what scientists do – conduct experiments! Scientific discoveries occur when a scientist is testing the validity of a particular hypothesis. The hypothesis itself may stem from collective beliefs within a science community, beliefs with cultural or philosophical roots, or from the pursuit of a technical application. Herein lies the template for all QC science courses. We place the student in the position of scientists and inventors in history, pose the problem or mystery to be solved, ensure students have the necessary supplies, and let the students take charge.
Level 1 (Grades 1–2): Students explore the world around them, using a scientific lens to view world systems and performing experiments to discover the basic scientific concepts behind them.
Level 2 (Grades 3–4): Students explore cause and effect relationships in larger scientific systems and use patterns to discover the scientific rules that govern them.
Level 3 (Grades 5–6): Students add to their fundamental scientific knowledge by analyzing data, discovering patterns, and making connections across scientific disciplines.
Level 4 (Grades 7–8): These courses open the door to a modern understanding of chemistry, biology, and physics exciting middle school students of all backgrounds.
High School (Grades 9-12): Students conduct Advanced Placement level experiments, guided by instructors to formulate their own hypotheses, design their own research methods, and analyze and interpret resulting data.