Grandparents University Classes
Grandparents University ® (GPU) participants select one of the three majors and will receive instruction in that discipline in two 90 minute sessions. Additionally, participants choose three 90 minute electives. Families who attended Grandparents University in previous years receive preference with their selections. After that, spaces are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. We will make every effort to accommodate families with their choices, but plan to register early so you will be sure to get your first choices.
Majors are taught by MSM faculty and staff. Some of the topics may be unfamiliar to you, but our instructors are skilled and have engaging activities planned. We’re confident that all of the selections will offer a great experience.
Fine Arts - Digital Photography: You Took the Photos, Now What?
Session one covers functions of a digital camera, how to frame a good shot using balance, proportion and other fundamentals and weather permitting- will spend time taking photos. Session two covers how to "fix" your photo including red eye, cropping and some other small adjustments. We will also go over what you can do with the photos including sharing online and making photobooks.
Fawn O'Hara, Director of Creative Services and Lecturer, Department of Visual and Performing Arts
Chemistry - Chemistry in the Kitchen
Learn a simple explanation of how food changes as you cook it, how your body uses the food you eat (metabolic process) and the main chemical reactions that occur as you combine different ingredients to make food. We are going to learn these different processes using chemical models and lab experiments.
Andrea Solis, Ph.D., Lecturer of Chemistry, Chemistry Lab Manager; and Ann Marie Lyons, Adjunct Professor of Biology
Communications - Discover the News Reporter in You
This major will provide you with hands-on experience in news writing and production. For the budding journalist, this is your chance to learn principles of new reporting, such as the difference between hard and soft news, inverted pyramid style of writing, content and organization of news stories, interviewing sources and much more. You will have the chance to either produce your own news broadcast or take a trip to a local news station, or both. Come as a student, leave as a journalist!
Pratibha Kumar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
- Mathematics - The Beauty of Fractals
Fractals are endlessly complex and beautiful mathematical objects that show up everywhere from nature to computer games. Participants will learn about fractals from hands-on activities and generate their own fractals on the computer.
Brian Heinold, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Math and Computer Science
- Technology - Movie Production
Ever wanted to make movies?!! Learn how to make a 30 second trailer with your own photos, music and even add text and effects with a free web-based software you can continue to work with at home. Be sure to bring some favorite pics to class on a flash drive (12 or more). You can share your final movies with friends and family through email, DVD, Facebook or YouTube!
Sonya Hand, MBA, Adjunct Faculty, Mount Summer
- Literature - The Magic of Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has captivated many. Participants will learn about the life of J.K. Rowling and the cultural influences of the series. Grandparents and their grandchildren will work together to learn about J.K. Rowling’s writing style and to write a missing chapter.
Melanie Butler, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Math and Computer Science
- Environmental Science - Eco-friendly Living
There's a lot of talk today about living green: using less, wasting less, and reusing more. See how Hundredfold Farm, a local eco-friendly co-housing community is doing just that on a daily basis with green technology, including passive solar house design, grid-interactive, photovoltaic systems and an artificial wetland facility for recycling wastewater. Learn how you can minimize your ecological footprint and live more sustainably, too!
Rosie Bolen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology
- Philosophy - What Would You Do?
All of us, whether we are younger or older, face situations where we have to make choices. What is the right thing to do? Let's use some "what-if" stories, popular fables, examples from the media, and more to discover the keys to good decisions.
Michael Miller, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
- Economics - From Halloween, Lemonade and the Gold Rush to Trade, Markets and Money
The most important areas of economics are so basic that children learn them naturally from experiences around them as they grow up. We will use common activities, like swapping Halloween candy and running a lemonade stand, to explore the principles behind trade, markets and money. Through the “Gold Rush” and other activities, we will dig behind the fun to explore our monetary system, supply and demand, and more.
John Larrivee, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics
- Fine Arts - Tips for Better Singing
How do I make my voice more dynamic... exciting... beautiful, and do it without abusing my vocal chords? What are some common misconceptions about singing? Singing well is work but, oh - what fun work!
Suzanne Sweigart, M.Mus, Adjunct Faculty/Voice, Department of Visual and Performing Arts
- Fine Arts - Got a Keyboard? Let's Make Some Music!
Dust off those keys. Let's explore some fun ways to create music together. No previous experience required.
Victor Fields, M.Mus., Adjunct Faculty, Department of Visual and Performing Arts
- Foreign Languages - Sumo and Samurais - A Hands-On Tour of Japan
Marco Roman, Ph.D., Chair - Foreign Languages and Literatures Department
Explore the ancient and modern culture of Japan through games, stories, songs, hands-on activities and crafts. You will also learn to write your name in Japanese!
The term Grandparents University® is a registered trademark originating at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is used with permission.