Learning Labs are weekend classes covering a wide range of high-interest topics.

Classes run for six consecutive Saturday mornings, and are taught by experienced teachers. Class sizes are deliberately kept small (no more than 10-12 students) to facilitate engagement and even help students form friendships!

Winter Learning Labs 2024

GRC Members:
Priority registration until December 31 (non-members may register now but will be enrolled in the order received after priority period ends).

Learning Lab Dates:
Saturdays – Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24, March 2, 9

Learning Lab Location:
Wydown Middle School, 6500 Wydown Blvd., Clayton, MO 63105

Learning Lab Tuition & Payment:
Classes are $120/six-week class, payable online or by check.

Check out the brochure for more details. If you still can’t find the answer, give us a call (314) 962-5920 or email info@giftedresourcecouncil.org.

No refunds after January 19.

Learning Labs Class Schedule
Winter 2024

SESSION 1: 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM

  • Ages 4-5 – “TINKER” Toys
  • Ages 5-6 – Storybook Adventure
  • K – 1st – Body Brainiacs
  • 1st – 2nd – Whodunit?
  • 2nd – 3rd – Meteorology: Heading Toward Spring
  • 3rd – 4th – Make Us Laugh! Improv for Kids
  • 3rd – 8th – Checkmate: Advanced
  • 3rd – 8th – LEGO Mindstorms Robotics – Beginner
  • 3rd – 8th – Cryptography & Code Breaking
  • 3rd – 8th – The Iliad & The Odyssey
  • 4th – 8th – The Strategy of Building Board Games
  • 5th – 8th – Hidden Treasure of Zendar

SESSION 2: 11:15 AM – 12:45 PM

  • Ages 4-5 – Storybook Adventure
  • Ages 5-6 – “TINKER” Toys
  • K – 2nd – Chess: Beginner/Novice
  • 1st – 2nd – Make Us Laugh! Improv for Kids
  • 2nd – 3rd – Body Brainiacs
  • 3rd – 4th – Whodunit?
  • 3rd – 4th – Hidden Treasure of Zendar
  • 3rd – 8th – LEGO Mindstorms Robotics: Advanced
  • 3rd – 8th – Math Games Around the World
  • 4th – 5th – Meteorology: Heading Toward Spring
  • 4th – 8th – Write a Choose Your Own Adventure Book
  • 4th – 8th – The Way of Rome

ONLINE! – 6th – 12th  Storytellers of the Tabletop – D&D – 1:30 – 3:00  (NOTE: Dates are Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24, March 2, 16 – no class March 9)

Learning Labs Class Descriptions
Winter 2024

  • Grades 3rd – 8th
    9:30 – 11:00

    This is your chance to learn the basics of LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots! Consider a real-world problem, create your hypothesis, program your solution and test your results! Build a rover-type robot to handle some basic tasks and experiment with other features of the kits. Apply the engineering process to your project. Problem-solving skills and creativity using robotics technology prove that the possibilities are endless.

    Instructor: Lisa Hummel

  • Grades 3rd – 8th
    11:15 – 12:45

    If you’ve taken at least a beginning Mindstorms class, now you can go further! Learn more and work on harder challenges, based on your skill level. Build and program working robots which respond to your commands as well as information from their environments. Working with a partner, you can even design your own robot from scratch! You’ll learn to control your creation using multiple sensors, various moving parts, and complex programs that allow the robot to assess its environment and make decisions. You will be given a specific challenge to accomplish with your programming at the beginning of each class.

    Instructor: Lisa Hummel

  • Ages 4 – 5  9:30 – 11:00
    Ages 5 – 6  11:15 – 12:45

    Does your kiddo love to build? Do they get frustrated when the building doesn’t go to plan? Play-based TINKERing class will delight our youngest learners with high-interest, open-ended building sets! We’ll have a strong emphasis on supportive social-emotional growth and understanding, including productive struggles that center on embracing mistakes and ‘failing forward.’ Play and learn with sets like Quadrilla Wooden Marble Runs, Fat Brain Joinks, Brio Builder Sets, Tinkertoys, Legos, and more!

    Instructor: Stephanie Elliott

  • Grades 3rd – 8th
    9:30 – 11:00

    Are you a master code breaker? Would you like to be? Experiment with different kinds of codes – like the Caesar Cipher, Hieroglyphics, Binary Codes, and Morse Code – and try your hand at each of them! You’ll get a mini-history of each code and how it was used – and by whom. Then you can create your own code! Your problem-solving skills will be challenged as you unlock the captivating world of cryptography

    Instructor: Angela Rhodes

  • Grades K – 1st  9:30 – 11:00
    Grades 2nd – 3rd  11:15 – 12:45

    Ever wonder how your body works? Let’s journey through the human body and discover what makes us human. How do the different parts of the brain affect all other parts of our bodies? How do the heart and lungs work together to deliver oxygenated blood? Create an edible heart model and check your pulse at rest and while exercising. Build a model set of lungs. Follow your lunch on its journey through the digestive system.
    Explore how the small bones in your back help the body bend while the long bones do not. Hands-on activities and experiments get us to the heart of the matter!

    Instructor: Kara Viviano

  • Grades 5th – 8th  9:30 – 11:00
    Grades 3rd – 4th  11:15 – 12:45

    You and your friends find a peculiar map to a hidden treasure in the mysterious land of Zendar. How do we get to Zendar? Once we’re there, how do we find the treasure? And what is it? It’s up to you and your team to figure it out. Each week, your team will be tasked with one or more puzzles to solve, which may involve math, geography, codes, science, or tricky riddles. The solution to each puzzle is a clue you will need on the final week to find the hidden treasure! Your team will be given “hint tokens” that you can trade in for hints if you get stuck. But be careful—if you run out of tokens, you run out of hints, so use them wisely! Can you be the first team to find the hidden treasure? Your guide is Dave Cole, the author of The Math Kids series, which combines math and mysteries to create great adventures.

    Instructor: Dave Cole

  • Ages 5 – 6
    9:30 – 11:00

    Ages 4 – 5
    11:15 – 12:45

    Let’s go behind the scenes of some amazing storybooks and explore them in a different way. From old favorites like Rapunzel (we’ll do some braiding with yarn and create a rope for her!) to new classics like Dragons Love Tacos (we’ll learn about wind and air – how do dragons breathe fire anyway?). Hands-on experiences with science and crafts based on ideas from each book will make your favorite stories come alive in a whole new way!

    Instructor: Joanna Gubin

  • Grades 3rd – 8th
    9:30 – 11:00

    Grades K – 3rd
    11:15 – 12:45

    Join us in the challenging world of chess! Learn moves, tactics and strategies to be a contender in a match with your friends. Apply your chess problem-solving skills to school and home, as you learn to think before making a move! For novice players, tactics can make or break your game. Will you use pins and forks or skewers? We’ll look at strategies for your advanced skills, such as attacking on opposite wings and playing to reach a better ending. Good sports behavior and coping with the consequences of your decisions are natural byproducts of the game.

    Instructor: Stephen Randoll

  • Grades 3rd – 8th
    9:30 – 11:00

    Three sessions will be devoted to The Iliad and three to The Odyssey. These epics tell the rest of the story—the end of the Bronze Age and its collapse. Greece lost the ability to write for almost 400 years during its Dark Age, but saw the emergence of Homer, telling a history of gods and men, their triumphs and tragedies. Bronze Age weapons and tactics plus court intrigues were on dramatic display in these epic poems, which have stood the test of time and thrilled the hearts of generations.

    Instructor: Art Koenig

  • Grades 3rd – 4th
    9:30 – 11:00

    Grades 1st – 2nd
    11:15 – 12:45

    Do you like to make people laugh? Would you like to learn to think on your toes and be creative? Have you always wanted to be a movie star? Then this is for you!  In this learning lab, we will set our sights on future stardom by developing the ability to project our voices, think on our feet, and be expressive while learning and practicing theater games. We will have lots of fun using simple props, our bodies, and things in our environment to create on-the-spot comedy. Be ready to laugh and make others laugh in this improv class!

    Instructor: Tracy Bednarick-Humes

  • Grades 3rd – 8th
    11:15 – 12:45

    Math concepts may be the same all over the world, but the games are different! Learn and play games like Two Stones from Korea, Mulinello Quadripo from Italy, Nine Men’s Morris from Egypt and Mu Torere from New Zealand. We’ll use learning strategies like how to refine tactics, observation skills, analysis, practice, focus, and flexibility! There are lots of games to choose from so we can adjust based on the skill levels in class. Plus, after trying out a variety of new games, we’ll use what we’ve learned to make up our own!

    Instructor: Angela Rhodes

  • Grades 2nd – 3th
    9:30 – 11:00

    Grades 4th – 5th
    11:15 – 12:45

    What causes severe thunderstorms? How can Doppler radar detect tornadoes? How do changes in air pressure affect temperature, wind, and other weather? Through hands-on experiences, discover what relative humidity and dew point mean. Build a barometer and use it at home to help monitor weather conditions. Draw a developing thunderstorm and label its components. Simulate what creates rotation that can cause tornadoes. Interpret symbols on surface maps and predict daily weather as you increase your meteorologist skills!

    Instructor: David Linder

  • Saturdays  – 6th – 12th grades  Dates: Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24, Mar. 2, 16
    1:30 – 3:00 (Space is limited)

    Calling all wanderers, thrill-seekers and heroes looking for excitement, fellowship and greatness! Create characters, solve problems and fight monsters with nothing but a character sheet and your imagination! Join your fellow adventurers on this quest in the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons. The focus will be communication-heavy collaborative storytelling, teamwork and relationship building through social play and lots of creative fun! No additional books or items or required, although students might want a physical set of dice to roll.

    (Parents, here’s a good introductory video to D&D if you’re not already familiar with the game)

    Instructor: Hollis Moore

    Online classes will be taught using Zoom, so students will need a device that has a camera and microphone. Headphones are highly recommended!

  • Grades 4th – 8th
    9:30 – 11:00

    Enjoy playing games? Ever considered the approaches behind how they work? You’ll build specific strategy board games, then learn and play them. Explore strategy, theme and components. What’s the difference between a roll-and-move game and one that focuses on resource collection? By the end of the class, you will have six new games to take home and play with friends and family.

    Instructor: Rick Hasler

  • Grades 4th – 8th
    11:15 – 12:45

    We’ve all played along with a choose your own adventure book. But are you ready to write one?? Get tools for developing and writing a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Think about plot, options, hints and twists. How do you make sure your reader is having a good time? By the end of the sessions, you will be able to take home one or more complete books.

    Instructor: Rick Hasler

  • Grades 1st – 2nd   9:30 – 11:00
    Grades 3rd – 4th  11:15 – 12:45

    Grab your magnifying glass and put on your thinking cap (or is it a deerstalker hat?) as we get ready to solve some mysteries! You and your fellow detectives will use crime scene investigation techniques to solve cases. We will focus on footprints, handwriting, fingerprinting, blood spatter (fake, of course!), and cryptograms/hidden messages. Your critical thinking skills will be put to the test as you dive into the field of forensics!

    Instructor: Hannah Noack-Ruebling

  • Grades 4th – 8th  11:15 – 12:45

    From Senatus Populus que Romanus (the Senate and People of Rome) to Ave Caesar, we’ll unearth and explore the history, outsized personalities and structures of everyday life—both republican and imperial. We’ll look at everything from life in a ramshackle apartment block in the Subura to Caesar’s campaigns across the Mediterranean. From philosophizing at Cicero’s villa in Tusculum to the take-no-prisoners politics of the late republic. We’ll look at it all. Perhaps a Roman feast and visit from Marcus Aurelius as well?

    Instructor: Art Koenig

Young girl working with dirt in a cup

Learning Labs Registration
Winter 2024

Registration is now closed.

Laura Falk, M.Ed.

Executive Director

Laura brings more than 25 years of experience in the education and nonprofit sectors. Laura has worked in public and independent schools for almost 20 years, as well as nine years in nonprofit organizations. She has bachelors degrees in English and Theatre from Vanderbilt University and her masters in education from Southern Oregon University.

“As someone involved in education and organizations serving youth for my entire professional career, I particularly understand the importance of programs that address the needs and challenges of bright and talented children, as well as for their parents and teachers.”

She goes on to say, “Both my sons greatly enjoyed Equations competitions, and my younger son also participated in Creative Convention, Saturday Learning Labs, and Summer Academies. So I have seen—both as a parent and an educator—what a powerful presence GRC provides to bright and gifted students in the community..”

Outside of work, Laura can be found hiking, quilting, reading and doing word puzzles.

Megan Barr

Office Manager

Megan provides the delightful voice on the phone when someone calls GRC. She’s also a whiz with spreadsheets and databases and keeps the logistics side of the office humming. Her previous experience includes work as a technology trainer and administrative assistant at NESI, and the UMSL Computer Education and Training Center. Outside of work, Megan is a writer, crafter, and keeper of two wonderful cats, Loki and Freya.

Megan Barr

Marla Dell


Marla is GRC’s keeper of all things financial since 1995. Marla also provides the institutional knowledge in our tiny office, as she’s been involved with GRC since her son was a participant. Marla won the Gifted Association of Missouri 2001 Parent Award for her contributions to gifted education in Missouri. Marla can also often be found volunteering at her church, gardening, and playing with her new kitten Bubba.

Gifted Resource Council blue star

Stock Gifts

Contact your financial advisor and provide the information below to ensure a quick and accurate transfer of funds:

  • GRC’s broker: First Clearing Corp., Wells Fargo Advisors
  • D.T.C. #: 0141
  • Account #: 5580-7980
  • Account Name: Gifted Resource Council
  • Contact Name: Ray Palmer
  • Phone: 636-530-3401

Notify GRC of your intent to make a gift of stock, with the following information to Laura Falk, Executive Director, at 314.962-5920 or lfalk@giftedresourcecouncil.org:

  • Donor’s name
  • Name of the stock being transferred
  • Number of shares transferred
  • Transaction date
  • Name of your financial advisor or bank handling the transfer