MARQUETTE – One of the last things you’d expect to see young children doing in the summer is lining up to head to class.

Yet there are hundreds of children enrolled and having fun while learning at Summer College for Kids.

The program has been offered at Northern Michigan University for children in grades kindergarten through eighth since the late 1980s. Classes offered range from cooking with solar energy to robotics to “Really Messy Science,” where the younger students learn how to make bubbles and make a fountain with Diet Coke and Mentos.

“The kids are coming here, want to be here and they’re excited to learn,” said Susan Nazarko, coordinator of student programs and conferences at NMU. “It’s a great place to come explore and learn.”

NMU offers four sessions throughout the summer, with morning and afternoon classes for each session. According to Nazarko, Turtles and Toads and the robotics classes are the most popular classes every year.

“There are some kids still on the waiting list for the robotics classes,” Nazarko said. “We offer different classes every summer, but we always offer Turtles and Toads as well as robotics.”

The classes are split up into three different grade levels. The youngest classes are kindergarten through second grade, where students can learn about elephants, senses, simple machines with LEGOs or birds. The middle group is third through fifth grade, and kids learn about rockets, beginning robotics, matter, electric circuits or chemistry. The oldest classes are sixth through eighth grades, and they can learn about cooking with the sun, gravity, advanced robotics or advanced Turtles and Toads.

“I hope that students will learn something here that when it’s brought up in their regular school classes they remember what they’ve already learned and have the knowledge to lay more information on top of,” Nazarko said.

Nazarko has been involved with Summer College of Kids for about 17 years now and she said her favorite part about the program is when the parents pick up their children and the children are excited to tell their parents about what they’ve learned.

“The kids can’t wait to tell their parents or show their parents what they’ve learned,” Nazarko said. “And having that kind of enthusiasm about learning and science is just exciting to see.”

There are over 300 registrations already in, but some classes still have openings. For more information on available classes and registration visit or call 227-2002. Classes run through late July.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is