ESPrinkler Summer 2011
Course Catalog


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Arts Engineering
Humanities Mathematics
Science Social Science
Miscellaneous


Arts

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A4838: Sing-a-song in French!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Abhishek Nagaraj

We will learn the lyrics and meaning to one song in French. Some familiarity with french would be nice. We will sing the song, look at music videos and generally have fun. I'm still thinking of what songs would be best.

A4837: Recycled Art
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Elizabeth Holmes

Join us as we create art using reused and recycled materials! Bring your own if you wish:-)


Engineering

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E4836: The Sky's the Limit: Aeronautical Engineering for Middle Schoolers
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Hemant Chaurasia

Take to the skies and learn the science and technology of flight! You'll learn the fundamental principles of how aircraft fly, and the most important components that make an aircraft work. You'll build your own foam model glider (to keep!) and do your very own flight tests. You'll also learn about the special design features of jets and supersonic aircraft, and see cool examples like the Airbus A380, F-22 Raptor, SR-71 Blackbird and the Space Shuttle. And finally, we'll see a real remote-controlled aircraft and launch it on a demo flight outside! (Weather & availability permitting.)

Join us for some high-flying fun and get your first taste of aeronautical engineering, where the sky's the limit!

E4834: Rocket Science for Middle Schoolers
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Hemant Chaurasia

3...2...1....and LIFT-OFF! Join us as we learn the science of how rockets work, including Newton’s Laws of Motion and the anatomy of a real NASA space rocket. Then in our space engineering challenge, you’ll get a chance to design, build, and LAUNCH your very own Alka-Seltzer powered rocket!

Did you know that somebody your age today will one day be the first to walk on Mars? Maybe it will be.... you! Join us as we take "one small step" towards humanity's future in space!


Humanities

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H4849: Origins of Writing
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Yale Zussman

Which came first, reading or writing? Find out how reading and writing came to be, taking your notes in an historically-appropriate manner: in clay using the markings of the era. At the end of the session, you will write your name in cuneiform. The tablet will be fired, and returned to you before the end of ESPrinkler.

H4833: The Logic Police: What Are Fallacies and How Can You Spot Them?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Samantha Berstler

A fallacy is an error in reasoning or logic. Fallacies allow us to build a case for our argument based on trickery like emotions or hasty generalizations. It's important to know them, avoid them, and know how not to be fooled by them. Unfortunately some fallacies are so commonplace that we often don't even notice them. In this class, we're going to discuss the most common types of fallacies and look at examples of how they're used and abused in politics, essays, debates, and everyday conversations.

H4841: How to Read a Love Poem (The Not-Sappy Kind)
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Samantha Berstler

In this class we'll read and analyze some of the most famous love poems ever written. We'll learn what makes a good poem good (and a bad poem bad!) by looking at a few key literary strategies and how writers employ them.

H4832: How to Read and Pronounce Foreign Names
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Murray Denofsky

Learn to pronounce the names of people and places you read in the newspaper. We will cover spelling/pronunciation rules for German, Spanish, and Italian, as well as for the usual Romanized forms of Arabic, Russian, and Chinese.

H4867: Feminism, Foreign Wars, and Folk Music: A History of Social Change in Song
Difficulty: **
Teachers:

Did you know that "This Land is Your Land" was written by an American believer in socialism? Lends the song a whole new meaning, huh? Hear that song, and others inspired by it and it's writer, Woody Guthrie, with political undertones and often political overtones.


Mathematics

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M4846: Harry Whodunit, Statistical Detective
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Finale Doshi-Velez

In a world of uncertainty, statistical detective Harry Whodunit seeks the answers to all our burning questions: Are the dice in Vegas loaded? Is the mafia an equal opportunity employer? Are airport security scanners stealing your soul?

Will we answer all these questions in this class? Unlikely. Will you learn some really cool statistics? Absolutely. Come listen to the fantastic and not-so-fantastic adventures Harry Whodunit, and along the way you'll get a taste a key statistical concepts including averages, standard deviations, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing.

M4748: Storytime with Josh
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Josh Alman

Come listen to, and participate in, some interactive stories! We'll work as a team to help Grok the Ogre with his worm problem, save some campers from rampaging bears, and help the characters out with all the other dilemmas they encounter in their adventures!

M4830: Euler's Theorem on Polygonal Networks and Polyhedra
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Murray Denofsky


There is a simple relationship between the numbers of vertices, edges and faces in a diagram consisting of points (vertices) joined by edges (line segments), and enclosing polygonal regions (faces). This relationship depends on the kind of surface, such as plane, sphere, doughnut, or Mobius strip.




Science

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S4829: Introduction to Ecology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Georgina Dorminy

How do we explain the changing numbers of fish every year? How come mosquitoes seem to disappear one year and launch a full-scale attack the next? Why aren't there more rabbits than foxes? How would you go about doing experiments in ecology? Come and find out how to answer your own questions like those above.

No prior knowledge necessary, only interest and enthusiasm!

S4839: Having fun with the Periodic Table
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Abhishek Nagaraj

We will learn about geography, inventors and even greek and roman mythology and other cool stories through the various elements in the periodic table!

S4850: Waves are everywhere!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Melodie Kao

Come learn all about the idea of waves! We'll talk about everything from quantum mechanics and light to architecture and cities. I'll tell you how Fourier Analysis works in a way that you'll remember and a few new ways of thinking about music...all using a really elegant property of waves!

S4847: Invertebrate Dissection
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ylaine Gerardin

Each person in this class will be dissecting his or her own earthworm and grasshopper. We will learn about how each invertebrate's anatomy is adapted to survival in its respective environment - from setae and nephridia in earthworms to ovipositors and malpighian tubules in grasshoppers. The level of this class is aimed at students in grades 7-10; no previous knowledge or experience is required. Enrollment is limited to 20 students.

S4835: From the Big Bang to Exoplanets: Our Cosmic Origins and the Search for Alien Life
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Hemant Chaurasia

Did you know that our Sun is just one of the 100 billion stars in our galaxy, and our galaxy is just one among billions in the known Universe?

Join us on a whirlwind tour of the Cosmos as we chart the 13.7-billion-year history of Everything, from the Big Bang through to the formation of atoms, stars, galaxies, planets and eventually iPads! We'll also learn about the latest exciting new discoveries of exoplanets (planets around other stars), and we'll use the famous Drake equation to search for an answer to the question "Are we alone in the Universe?" At the end of the class you will even get your very own star map (planisphere) to help you spot stars and planets in the night sky!

S4843: We're all so snotty!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Julia Co

Snot, phlegm, slime, mucus. Whatever you call it, it's slimy, sticky, and we all have it. Mucus gets a bad rep because we get a lot of it when we're sick, but mucus actually plays an important role in keeping us healthy. Come learn about the different reasons we need this ooey, gooey substance throughout our bodies!

S4749: It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Bacteria?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tim Helbig

Even though we can't see them, some bacteria are floating in the air all around us. How did they get there? Are they doing anything? Are they harmful or helpful to us? Together we'll try and answer these questions as well as try and understand how these bacteria might be shaping the weather of our entire planet.

S4842: Magnets, not magic!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Arshed A

Did you know that ancient people thought magnets (lodestones) were magical, and that their power came from demons or spirits? In this Sprinkler course, we'll demystify magnetism!


S4844: Brain Waves and You: A Hands-On Investigation
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Abby Noyce

How do scientists measure brain activity? One way is by recording the electrical signals generated by the brain. This class will discuss why your brain produces electrical activity, and include an opportunity to measure your own brain waves.

S4853: Playing with Polymers and Putty
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Erica Lai

This class is a fun and friendly introduction to a prevalent division of materials science and engineering: polymers. After learning about polymers, participants will get to chance to produce and play with putty - and understand the science behind it!

S4747: How Quantum Mechanics Breaks Your Intuition About the World
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jason Gross

Do you think you have good physical intuition and a good grasp of physics? Come learn about the predictions of quantum mechanics (and the experiments that validate these predictions) which violate your fundamental beliefs about the universe!

S4751: Who Farted?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tim Helbig

Have you ever wondered why we fart? Ever thought about why it smells bad sometimes but not always? This class will explore these questions and everything about flatulence you could possibly want to know. We'll show that, because of bacteria that live in our bodies, even though we are the ones forced to have smelt it, we may not be the ones who have dealt it.

S4851: Constructing the History of the Universe
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Peter Hedman

Part lecture, part crafting, mostly awe-inspiring - we will consider the broad sweep of time over the history of the universe and interactively construct a physical representation of the past 13.7 billion years, with an unavoidable bias toward the geologic history of our planet and the recent phenomenon of civilization.


Social Science

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S4848: Paradoxes of Democracy: Fair Elections and Voting
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephen M. Hou

What if, in hypothetical two-way races during the 2008 primaries, Clinton beats Obama, Obama beats Edwards, and Edwards beats Clinton? Is this even possible? (Yes.) What would then be a fair way to decide the "best" preferences of Democrats? Whether it's a T-shirt design contest or a presidential election, voting converts preferences of individuals into a single preference for the community. We'll discuss Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, which states that there is no "perfect" way of doing so. We'll demonstrate a few of the mind-boggling flaws that every voting method must have.

S4845: Prisoner's Dilemma and the Tragedy of Commons: An Introduction to Game Theory
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Finale Doshi-Velez

Bonnie and Clyde just got busted during a bank robbery, and they both have the option of ratting on their partner. It's in their best interest to stay quiet, but the stakes are high. If only one of them rats, the silent ``sucker'' spends 10 years in prison while the ``traitor'' gets released immediately. How would you handle this situation? We'll use this example and others to understand what the math tells us about these situations--and what it doesn't. You'll come away with some cool ideas in game theory and some practical insights for having leverage out of common situations.


Miscellaneous

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X4865: How to teach a Splash class!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

Come learn what it takes to brainstorm, plan, and teach a class for ESP's Splash, held every November. You will work in small groups to design an exciting class, deciding everything from the length of the class, to the grade levels allowed, to the actual content of the class. Write a proposal for a great class-- and I will take the best ideas and try to find teachers to make them happen this November!


X4869: Comparative Religion
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Harun Omer

Is any of your classmates a Jew or a Muslim? Have you ever wondered when they were doing things (or not doing things) because of their religion? Join us in this session and learn about what is common in Judaism, Islam and Christianity and where they differ.

X4840: The Wikipedia Game
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Josh Alman

Navigating Wikipedia can be hard when all that's available to you is the links within the articles. Come learn to play, and win, a really fun game!