HSSP Spring 2018
Course Catalog


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Computer Science Mathematics
Science Social Science
Humanities Miscellaneous


Computer Science

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C12042: Creating Mobile Apps with MIT App Inventor
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Lynda Tang

Come learn how to use MIT App Inventor to create your own mobile applications! We'll teach you how to apply basic programming concepts to make various kinds of apps, from a Snapchat remix to games like Whack a Mole, and at the end, you can design and create your own app to share with family and friends.

No previous programming experience is required.

C12053: Inference and Optimization: An Introduction to Modern Machine Learning
Difficulty: ***

A practical lab-based course on how computers can learn to solve complex problems. In addition to lecture sessions, students will develop their own algorithms that tackle real world problems with real datasets. An emphasis will be placed on developing a strong intuition for the optimization methods that underlie the machine learning applications transforming the world today. The course will cover topics such as both constrained and unconstrained optimization methods, numeric and combinatorial optimization, and the classifiers and regressors that can be built upon these frameworks.


Prerequisites
Basic programming experience in Python and/or Java. Beyond strong mathematical thinking skills, elementary knowledge of calculus and combinatorics are helpful, but not required.

C12105: Learning about the Cloud through MIT App Inventor Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Katherine Wang

Ever wonder what "the Cloud" really means? What happens behind the scenes of tools like Dropbox and Google Drive? What words like "concurrency" and "deadlock" mean? Through mobile game development workshops using MIT App Inventor (and some great new App Inventor add ons), you can learn all about the Cloud, mobile development, creating multiplayer games, and more!

No previous programming experience is required.

C12114: Learning To Code through Battlecode Full!
Difficulty: *

Programming is an important skill to learn for modern life. It is applicable in basically every field now. This course is going to teach coding from the very basics assuming that students have little to no knowledge about programming. Students will learn to code in python by writing bots to play a simplified version of Battlecode, MIT's oldest and largest programming competition. We will start simple with the basic ideas of imperative programming languages, before explaining how loops, functions, and classes work. At the end of the class there will be a tournament to see who wrote the best bot.


Prerequisites
No Pre-req


Humanities

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H12108: Liberty or Justice For All: How Far Should the State Go?
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Priten Shah

In this class, we will focus on the dilemmas between liberty and justice that modern democratic states face in making state policy. We will have discussions about how states should make policies in cases where pursuing justice would infringe on individual liberties. This will include a discussion about what are liberties and what is justice. We will then talk about cases like naming children, restricting sugar content in fast food, smoking regulations, circumcision and the banning of religious headwear.

H12155: X11271: Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Lecture Series
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Wendy Wang

Is OCW not good enough for you? Come take lectures about humanities, arts, and social sciences! We're going to art something different each week. And humanities something different each week!*

*This may or may not actually happen. It may spontaneously be about K-Pop or Hiragana. Either way, this'll be great and super fun! You should definitely come.

H12071: Your Novel
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Stirling Newberry

You want to write your novel! Only you can not quite begin... Or you have stated but there is no end in sight... Whst could be wrong?
This is a class for all of the would-be authors out there, who want to learn the secrets that the great authors have taught them ... from James Joyce and Jane Austen to more recent people. There is a craft to writing, and away of doing the thing we call writing. The only thing you have to do is one of the hardest things to do... show other people your work, and worse still to have them comment on it.


Prerequisites
You have to write

H12102: Evolving verses: a poetry workshop exploring what it means to be a poem
Difficulty: **

What is poetry, anyways? At what point does something stop being poetry and start being something else? Are such delineations important? This is a workshop-based class where students will explore these questions. Students will learn from examples of verse that push the limits of what it means to be a poem. Students will be expected to produce a poem in each of the following categories: visual poems, prose poems, performance poems, video poems, and digital poems. These poems will be shared and workshopped in a round table format.


Prerequisites
Keep in mind that we will not go over the basics of writing poetry or essential literary elements. That said, students are more than welcome to "jump right in" to this class without having prior poetry experience!

H12086: Words in Me
Difficulty: **

The better you understand yourself, the more confident you feel and the better equipped you will be to handle what life throws at you. Through a series of simulation games, activities, videos, and group working sessions, we'll start thinking about about ourselves and our lives from a new perspective. We'll express ourselves to the world around us through discussion, debate, arguments, blogging, journals, spoken word, or whatever we think works best. With articulation comes a feeling of comfort in your own skin, and that's our ultimate goal in this course.

H12123: Philosophy reading
Difficulty: **
Teachers: yc yu

Discussion on Plato's Republic and some other works

Please read up to (at least) section 383c before the first class. Focus on the main ideas/arguments, and write down all questions/thoughts.
http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=GreekFeb2011&query=Pl.%20Resp.&getid=1

You can also get a paper copy:
http://www.worldcat.org/title/republic-of-plato/oclc/945232269


Prerequisites
Please sign up only if you can commit to about 100 pages of reading per week and participate in discussion. If you are below 10th grade but interested in attending, please email spring-hssp@mit.edu

H12110: Facilitating Emotional Awareness and Conversations - Circling
Difficulty: *

Have you ever felt overwhelmed, and not known how to deal with it? Have you ever wanted to connect more deeply with someone, and not known how? Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a situation with multiple people who felt strongly, and wished for the grace to navigate the social dynamics well? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to look out at the world through another person's eyes?

Welcome to circling, a practice of sharing our in-the-moment experiences with each other, in real time, in service of connection, presence, and awareness.

How this class looks depends on what you want. We might simply spend an hour or two each week in guided meditation, giving you a refuge from the obligations of everyday life and a place to develop your awareness of yourself. We might circle each week---have a group conversation about what it's like to be you, what it's like to be me, and what it's like to be us. If you're interested, we might guide you through the experience of facilitating a circle, of facilitating deeper emotional connections and conversations.


Prerequisites
A willingness to introspect, and to talk about your experience, and what it's like to be you.

H12115: Science journalism Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Gailin Pease

How would you tell your grandpa about the newest particle discovered by the Large Hadron Collider? How would you explain gravity waves to your American Literature teacher? Come learn about science journalism, and create some of your own!

During the class, you'll read science journalism, talk about what's important when communicating science to the public, and work on your own science journalism project.


Prerequisites
Willingness to do interviews

H12107: Writing for Social Change
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Priten Shah

In this class, we will cover the use of writing for social change. Students will learn how to write powerful pieces of writing that go from informational to persuasive. We will cover argumentative structures, common mistakes, writing with purpose, and influencing the reader. Finally, we will have the students write an article on a topic of their choice that they will have the choice to submit to be published.

H12117: QWEeRTY: A Queer Writing Workshop Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Remy Lang

You’ve heard of writing workshops. You’ve thought about queer issues (or characters). But… have you done both? At once? If that sounds like a fabulous combination to you, join us for a queer writing workshop!
We will read work by queer and trans creators; engage with pertinent themes like gender, family, and intersectional identities; and ask what it means to be a queer writer in the 21st century. Students will produce a final piece to workshop in class, in a genre of their choice — perhaps a memoir, short story, or screenplay!
If you’re excited to think deeply about queer identity and experience, willing to get into personal and sometimes difficult conversations, ready to give and receive kind and constructive writing tips, and hoping to become a more skilled writer and a more confident voice for your generation of LGBTQ folks, this is the class for you!

*All identities welcome & no formal writing experience required.


Prerequisites
Willing to read, write, and share work! Plus a healthy dose of respect & support for others.

H12103: Short Fiction Workshop Full!
Difficulty: *

This is a workshop-based class where students will learn to write and critique short stories. By the end of the course, students will have written a complete short story, will have learned how to give and receive criticism on their writing, and will be more familiar with important elements of story creation such as characters, setting, dialogue, etc.


Mathematics

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M12113: Three Dimensional Geometry Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Riley Drake, David Yang

WHAT IS THE SHAPE OF THE UNIVERSE?

IN 1982, MATHEMATICIAN WILLIAM PAUL THURSTON REALIZED THAT ALL THREE DIMENSIONAL SHAPES CAN BE BUILT OUT OF JUST 8 BASIC GEOMETRIES.

WHAT CAN THIS DO FOR US?

IN 2010, A MAJOR FURTHER BREAKTHROUGH HAPPENED. FASHION DESIGNER DAI FUJIWARA DISCOVERED THAT HE COULD MAKE CLOTHES OUT OF THESE GEOMETRIES, FINALLY GIVING US ACCESS TO THE TRUE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE.

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE?

WWW.AMS.ORG/PUBLICOUTREACH/AMS-NEWS/RELEASES/THURSTON-MIYAKE

AND ALSO THIS CLASS

M12106: A Tour of Set Theory
Difficulty: ****

We'll start by introducing sets and basic operations on them, and quickly move on to topics such as the ZF axioms, ordinal numbers, and the axiom of choice.

This class will be hard and go fast, with each week relying heavily on previous weeks. Expect to participate in class and work on hard problems that require genuine creativity to solve.


Prerequisites
No particular knowledge, but you should be able to pick up new abstract ideas fairly quickly.

M12070: Relational Databases Before There Were Such Things
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Stirling Newberry

This is a story about the underpinnings of what we now call relational databases. It may sound fancy to remember Codd and Date, the progenitors of the relational database, are not household names. But even with these two, the story goes back hundreds of years. This is that story in the outlines, or at least a version of it, which reaches back not to Codd and Date, but to Galileo Galilei, and forward to an unknown future.


Prerequisites
None

M12122: A Tour of Cool Mathematics
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Kenneth Wang

The goal of this course is to show students that math can be cool and useful! The focus will be on breadth and application as opposed to formalism and depth. We will cover three areas of mathematics typically reserved for the later years of high school or the early college years: Calculus, Linear Algebra and Probability/Statistics from the bottom up. It is impossible to cover the entirety of these subjects in six weeks, but we will cover some of the highlights and main ideas of these fields and where they can be used. Come along for a ride through a bunch of cool mathematics!


Prerequisites
Familiarity with Algebra 1 is a must! (i.e. know how to manipulate variables such as FOIL and factoring) Other than that, I will assume no background! If you have taken courses in these fields before, depending on the quality of the teacher you had, you may not learn very much or you will learn a ton.

M12156: Math and Science Lecture Series
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Wendy Wang

Is OCW not good enough for you? Come take lectures about math and science! We're going to science something different each week. And math something different each week!*

*This may or may not actually happen. It may spontaneously be about K-Pop or Hiragana. Either way, this'll be great and super fun! You should definitely come.


Science

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S12058: Secrets of the Immune System Full!
Difficulty: **

The brain is not the only part of your body that learns! Every day, cells in your adaptive immune system learn to recognize and fight bad viruses and bacteria. How do those cells do it, and what can we do to help them? In this course, you will find out!


Prerequisites
Introduction to cells in a science class.

S12068: How do you generate electricity from water?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Albert Liu

Direct induction of electricity through interactions of nano-structured materials with a mobile fluid phase is a fascinating subject with a rich history. In this class we will approach this game-changing technology from a fundamental scientific perspective, exploring aspects of potential mechanisms that drive the movement of the electric carriers inside the nano-structures. Together we will learn how to better use our knowledge in physics and chemistry to help power our planet towards a cleaner future!


Prerequisites
none

S12081: Thermo!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Conrad Goffinet

Ever wonder what the the increasing entropy of the universe actually means? Want to know how internal combustion engines work? This class will lay the foundations of thermodynamics and its application to the world around us.


Prerequisites
Introductory calculus is a co-requisite. Some physics and chemistry knowledge is strongly reccomended.

S12077: Memory and Mind Control: An Introduction to Neuroscience Full!

Ever wonder what's going on in your brain? How do we form memories? Why do we dream? Is mind control really possible?

In this course, we will go over cool topics in neuroscience in an easy-to-digest way. We'll talk about neurons, false memories, brain technology, and much, much more! The classes will mainly be interactive lessons, with a number of hands-on activities and demonstrations mixed in. During the last class we will tour real neuroscience labs at MIT!

We're excited to explore the brain with you!

S12109: Grammar as Science
Difficulty: **

What do we know when we know a language? How can we find out what it is that we know when we know a language?
This course will approach both of these -
and other - questions by looking at interesting and puzzling phenomena of English and (un-)related languages. We will explore speech sound, structure and meaning of different languages. Students will get the chance to actively engage with linguistic data in order to develop a first formal model of language.

S12075: Science through experiments: Hands-on Fun
Difficulty: **

Each week we will explore a different different field of science through a series of exciting and engaging experiments. Topics include: Forensics, Survival Day, Psych 101 and more. Expect to learn a lot, make more messes and have so much fun :)


Prerequisites
None

S12118: The Science of Nutrition: A Microscopic to Macroscopic Exploration

Food is a major part of our lives from its day to day necessity to its cultural impact. This course will take both a scientific and cultural approach to understanding food and nutrition. We will start at the basic building blocks of nutrients and work our way up to dietary trends and marketing of food through the media. Students will walk away as introspective consumers better able to make choices about what they eat.


Prerequisites
A basic understanding of biology and chemistry is helpful but not necessary.

S12078: Memory and Mind Control: An Introduction to Neuroscience Full!

Ever wonder what's going on in your brain? How do we form memories? Why do we dream? Is mind control really possible?

In this course, we will go over cool topics in neuroscience in an easy-to-digest way. We'll talk about neurons, false memories, brain technology, and much, much more! The classes will mainly be interactive lessons, with a number of hands-on activities and demonstrations mixed in. During the last class we will tour real neuroscience labs at MIT!

We're excited to explore the brain with you!

S12111: Special Relativity
Difficulty: ***

Come explore relativity, where space and time mix and the laws of physics are not the same as what you've learned in school!

In this class, we'll see how special relativity is a consequence of a few simple postulates. We'll analyze so-called paradoxes of relativity and see that they aren't so paradoxical after all.


Prerequisites
High school algebra (solving linear equations, matrix operations), some familiarity with Newtonian mechanics


Social Science

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S12028: The Rite of Righting Your Writing
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Riley Drake, David Yang

This class will focus on the development of each individuals students' writing style. Specifically, we will work on making our writing pieces clear, concise and effective at communicating their intended meaning(s).

To facilitate the development of our own writing, we will read and analyze essays and short stories of notable authors. We will practice editing our own writing and the writing of other students. Finally, we will cover technical aspects of writing including formatting, annotations and citation styles.

This class will be writing intensive, students should expect to write at least one double-spaced page and read one short piece in preparation for each meeting.


Miscellaneous

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X12061: The gods of Gielinor
Difficulty: *

Come learn about the gods of Runescape, the myths, the history, and the ongoing struggle for control of the races of Gielinor. Learn about Zamorak's betrayal of Zaros, and about Guthix's banishment. Study the dragonkin, and their relationship with the stone of Jas. The divided dragon riders, and the diary of the last of a kind. Follow the staff of Armadyl through five ages. And hear all about Seren's introduction of the ritual to the Mahjarrat, culminating in the murder of Mah.

We will be going over the gods arriving on Gielinor, and the relationships between them. This course will provide an overview of the developing story of the gods of Runescape, and the relationships between them. This will include cutscenes of the more major events, and depictions of many of the more minor ones. We will meet all of the 20+ gods Runescape has to offer, and trace back their often complex history. We will also take a look at how this lore developed in real time, as the developers tweaked their notion of the various gods they had already introduced, in order to fit the evolving narrative being offered.


Prerequisites
None! Only an interest in learning is required. This course is geared both at students who have never before heard of Runescape, and those who have been playing for years. None of what we will discuss will be directly related to gameplay and mechanics, but rather it will all focus on the storyline and lore. *knowledge of how to make bronze recommended **must know correct way to enter Lumbridge castle ***no pray noobs

X12074: Constructing a Competitive College Application
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Martha Haddad

This comprehensive course is primarily designed for those who are planning to apply to colleges or are currently working on their applications. We will focus primarily on the three most important elements colleges consider in any application: boosting your transcript, choosing and studying for standardized tests, and college essay writing.

(If you are an ambitious 7th or 8th grader who would like to get a head start on the college application process and would like to attend this class, please send us an email and we'll be happy to consider your participation in this course.)