BrainSports Classes

Kids 5th through 8th grade

Our competition-based BrainSports Classes let students dive into a technology topic and build long-term projects while leveling up their skills in a high-energy environment.

Fall Season Course October - December


API Programming, 5th - 8th grade

Cost: $399

Learn how to build dynamic web applications that plug into third-party web services. In addition to practicing programming fundamentals, students will learn:

  • how to design custom interfaces for dynamic, third-party data
  • how to send text messages through a website
  • how to pull data about their interests, like sports or Marvel movies
  • how to create a joke-of-the day application
  • how to do image processing with external services
  • how to find and evaluate APIs to solve specific problems

The final showcase and competition will take place in the afternoon of Sunday December 15th.

Some prior programming experience is helpful, but not required.

Currently we are offerring courses at the following times:

Lincoln Park: Mondays at 6pm, Thursdays at 7pm, Saturdays at 12pm

Wilmette: Tuesdays at 7pm, Thursdays at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm

Click the register button below to sign up.

Raspberry Pi

What is BrainSports?

BrainSports Classes let our students work on more complex projects over an extended period of time, practice fundamental skills development and showcase their progress as technologists in an exciting competition format.

The BrainSports Model

BrainSports Classes build on the best features of physical sports to make technology education more compelling.


10-week seasons in the Fall, Winter and Spring


Every season concludes with a project showcase and competition


Every class, students practice fundamental skills


Students learn and improve under instructor guidance


Students learn how to work on teams and communicate ideas with peers

Class Structure

Each BrainSports Class is broken down into three sections:

Fundamentals 30 minutes

Students work on short exercises related to fundamental skills including typing, algorithmic planning, programming and troubleshooting. This section is intended to be fast-paced. For a 1st-4th grade video game design class, this might include:

  • 5 minutes on a typing skill-builder
  • 5 minutes breaking up a real-world task up into low-level instructions. For example, "make a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich".
  • 10 minutes working on translating short problem statements into a program. Students practice "writing code". For example, "create a character that can move in all four directions using the arrow keys".
  • 10 minutes troubleshooting a broken program and getting it to work. Students practice "reading code". For example, a provided program might have a character that doesn"t move predictably when arrow keys are pressed. Students would need to dive into the guts of a program they haven"t written to figure out what"s wrong.

New Content 15 minutes

Students learn a new targeted skill or application based on the course theme. For example, if the theme is "Manic Mazes", students might learn how to create barriers and prevent characters from passing through those barriers.

Application 15 minutes

Students work in groups to apply the skill they just learned to their own long-term project.

Season Structure

Each season is broken up into 10-week courses with the following general structure:

Week 1

Students are introduced to the course-specific technology platform. They are also introduced to the three fundamental phases of creating with technology: Planning, Building and Troubleshooting. This first class is mostly focused on ensuring that students understand these fundamentals, have some basic strategies for each fundamental phase and practice each phase in the context of their chosen course topic. Further classes will let students practice these fundamentals and level up their skills in each area.

Weeks 2 - 7

Students practice the technology fundamentals of Planning, Building and Troubleshooting. Each week, they learn and apply a new technique relevant to their final project. For example, in a Battlebots course, students may learn how to use gearing to adjust torque and angular velocity.

Weeks 8 - 10

Students practice the technology fundamentals of Planning, Building and Troubleshooting. They build out a final project that will be showcased during the seasonal competition. These 4 weeks are divided as needed between Planning, Building and Troubleshooting.

The Showcase and Competition

After the last week of the course, students meet in a large group for the season's showcase and competition. This is where the rubber meets the road! Students have an opportunity to show off the projects build during the season and compete in individual and team based activities to demonstrate the skills they have developed. Think hack-a-thon meets Shark Tank!


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