Spark 2014
Course Catalog


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Computers and Programming Engineering
Humanities Lunch
Mathematics Performing Arts
Science Visual Arts
Walk-in Activity Miscellaneous
Social Studies
This is last year's Spark catalog. The course catalog for Spark 2015 will be posted once classes have been scheduled.


Computers and Programming

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C8221: Intro to the command line
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Zoe Snape

If you're like most middle schoolers, the only way you've ever interacted with a computer is using a mouse on a GUI (graphical user interface). Come to this class to learn the basics of the command line, the old-school way to control a computer using only text input.

C8261: Introduction to Data Science
Difficulty: **

How did Justin Bieber get so popular? What's the happiest place in Boston? The answer to these questions and many more can be found in the Tweets we send, the phone calls we make, and the things we search for on Google! In this course, we will introduce you to the new field of Data Science. Using math and computer science, we can analyze ourselves and the data we generate. #YOLO


Prerequisites
Interest in Math and Computers.

C8367: Computer Architecture Speed Run!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ziv Scully

We're going to start with transistors—electrical components that act kind of like switches—and build up from there to get as close to a designing a real live computer as we can. We're going to create structures that can make complicated logical decisions. We're going to draw a circuit on the board that can add numbers. We're might even go over the design of a fully functional processor. It'll be a party. No experience required!

C8353: Breaking Pokemon Full!

Learn how early gameboy games (specifically pokemon) had to deal with systems lacking in memory, power, and speed anywhere close to what we have today. We will go through several glitches from the first pokemon games, highlighting what code caused them and why Nintendo had no choice but to make it that way.


Prerequisites
None.

C8207: Intro to Python Full!
Difficulty: **

Have you ever wanted to program but never typed a line/character/space of code in your life? Do you want to know how to make your computer tell you funny error messages or solve your math problems for you? Then join this class and have fun learning the basics of the python programming language!

C8394: Introduction to Programming, in Java
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Favyen Bastani

Interested in learning how to create computer programs, but never got the chance to learn? In this class, we'll talk about basic programming concepts and introduce the Java language.


Prerequisites
None!

C8358: Modern Computer Security Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Benjamin Tidor

Computer hacking: what is it, who does it, and why? We'll discuss recent incidents that you might have seen in the news, and try to understand why Internet security is such a difficult problem to solve.

C8319: Torrential Bits and Where They Go
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Austin Duffield

Like HTTP do ya? Bittorrent's way cooler. This class will show you how it works, who uses it, and what the future holds for this tenth of the internet.

C8372: How This Website Works
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jordan Moldow

Ever wonder what was actually going on when Spark registration opened? Find out how the ESP website (or any website) works behind the scenes.

We’ll cover, very briefly, the basics of all the major concepts of web design, including HTML, CSS, databases, client-side and server-side scripting, servers, version controlling, and caching. All examples will be taken from the ESP website.

If time allows, we’ll take a look at some of the administrative portions of the website - the pages that help the Spark directors administer the program.

This class will be an overview of many different concepts of web design, and how they interact. It will not be an in-depth look at any one concept, though links to resources for additional learning will be provided.

No computer experience is required. In fact, if you have a lot of computer experience, you’ll probably be bored. But if you don’t already know most of the terms listed in the description, then you’re encouraged to register for this class!

C8223: QUANTUM COMPUTING
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Priya Kikani

If you don't know ANYTHING about computers or quantum physics, come here and you'll learn about both! We'll talk about these crazy things called quantum computers and explore how they work. This will be lots of fun, and we'll start at the basics and go to the forefront of current research.


Prerequisites
absolutely nothing. Don't feel intimidated by the fancy title

C8314: Practical Passwords and Cryptography
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Kit Haines

We like restricting different people's access to things. I have a pin number for my bank account. I have a verification code that I use to buy things with my credit card on line. I have a password for my laptop - and a different password for logging onto MIT computers. Wireless networks might use several different ways to restrict who has access: You may or may not have heard of WEP, WPA(2) or MAC addresses. When my browser looks at a web page, if it requests https, then only the website and I can see what is sent. Really important documents (like medical records, or military research) often require participants to have two forms of identification: normally a token or physical thing as well as a memorized password. There is even money (Bitcoin) now, based on secure cryptography! For the first half of the class, I'll try to explain what all of these words and acronyms (WEP, WPA, WPA2, DES, 3DES, RSA, MAC address, Bitcoin) actually are, and what they mean. For the second half of the class, we will try to organize these into meaningful groups, and find out ways people have broken these algorithms - both by breaking the algorithms themselves, and by finding ways around them.


Prerequisites
General familiarity with computers. You should be familiar with using websites, passwords, and connecting to wireless internet.

C8235: Learn programming with video games!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Felix Sun

Learn to program your own video games! This class will teach you the basics of programming in Python, by having you write your own games.

If you have your own laptop, feel free to bring it to the class. Otherwise, we have computers for you to use.

Note: this class is designed for people with very little or no programming experience. If you are more experienced, you may find this class slow.

C8371: Journey Through the Interwebs Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Megan Belzner

How does the internet work? When you go to google.com (or esp.mit.edu), what happens? This hands-on class will talk about the world wide web, from the series of tubes that bring content from servers to you, to the languages that comprise a web page.

C8220: Be the computer
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zoe Snape

Ever wonder how computers work on the inside? This class explores some some of the basic operations of computers through interactive role-playing. You will literally pretend to be a computer in order to understand them better.

C8120: Introduction to Programing a la Fractal Forgeries
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

Want to learn how to program a cloud? or a rough, and unpredictable mountain? or an infinitely precisely shaded fern? Then sign up for this class and I will BOTH introduce you to JavaScript, a powerful visual programming tool, and show you around the psychedelic world of Fractals!

Check out some of these images and see if you can tell which are real and which are mathematically-generated forgeries: http://tinyurl.com/8erkfxy

Those which are forgeries are made using Fractals: mathematical objects which are produced by repeating very simple instructions over and over again. You'd never want to draw these images by hand, but with the aid of computers, we can plot hundreds of thousands of points in seconds. This ability enables us to decode natural objects which the "smooth" curves and platonic solids you learn about in high school can never emulate.

C8379: Programming Simple Math in Python
Difficulty: **
Teachers: William Navarre

A simple, introductory course in python programming. The course will focus on performing simple mathematical in the language, such as listing the factors of numbers, implementing the quadratic formula, and implementing the combinations and permutations functions.


Prerequisites
Be familiar with these concepts: -Factors -Prime Numbers -Combinations and Permutations

C8340: Programming Concepts
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Aaron Dunbrack

Learn how to write a program, at least in theory. Note that this course will not use any particular language, because languages have syntax, and syntax is annoying. Instead, we are going to learn conceptually how to program in any language, which you can then use in any language you want, whether it’s Python, C, Java, or something else entirely.


Prerequisites
None - if you have some experience with programming (in fact, if you know how to program in just about any language, although HTML doesn't count) then this course will probably be too easy.

C8392: Demystifying the Command Line
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Lars Johnson

Unleash your computer's hidden power by using the UNIX command line that underlies the Linux and Mac operating systems. Learn command-line syntax to speed up common tasks such as file management, data entry, and text manipulation. We will explore Unix from the ground up, starting with the basics of the command line and ending with to powerful, advanced tools.

You will be able to search your computer using regular expressions, quickly compare what has changed between two files, create simple secret codes, quickly convert units, and even write your own simple program, all using only a few commands on the terminal.


Prerequisites
Basic surface understanding of the computer filesystem (filepaths, directories, etc.)

C8395: How Networking Works
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Favyen Bastani

Ever wondered what enables you to type a URL in your web browser and almost instantaneously view the corresponding web page? In this class, we'll introduce a few basic networking protocols -- specifically IP, TCP, and UDP -- as well as how applications like HTTP build on top of them. We'll see how the Internet is made up of layers, each relying on the one below; and how it is robust to errors and bugs.


Prerequisites
None!

C8307: Dynamic Programming and other Algorithms
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Letitia Li

Imagine on Halloween, some grouch only lets you keep a certain weight in loot. How would you optimize your candy-induced happiness for the next year, while you plot revenge against that grouch? Ever wonder how google pagerank works? Learn optimization algorithms, map-finding and other algorithms.

C8234: Computers at the Lowest Level
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Letitia Li

Ever wonder about the location of every electron in your computer? Probably not, but we'll get as close as possible to that level of detail! We'll go over gates and how to build them, encoding, and everyone's favorite programming language: assembly language!


Engineering

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E8344: Modern Rapid Fabrication
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Michael Skuhersky

Suppose you designed some cool 3D model and wanted to hold it in your hand. Or say you are making a prototype of a product you want to bring to market, but you don't want to make an entire assembly line for it! The most visible solution is FDM 3D printing, but this has plenty of limitations. We will take a look at the history of rapid fabrication techniques, the wide range of current methods and their limitations, and options being developed for the future.

E8204: Engineering Materials
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Rebecca Gallivan

The world is filled with all different kinds of materials. They are what allow us to make new, better technology. So, we will study some of the materials that have helped us progress as a technological society and look at some of the materials that may bring about a greater future.

E8391: The Miracle of Flight
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Michael Sanders

Want to know how planes fly? Or how many different people your flight talks to? Or even why you need to keep your seatback upright, tray tables locked, and electronics powered off before we can land? This class is taught by a private pilot who has logged 23 hours of piloting time (his own airplane) and >100,000 miles (airline travel) this year.

E8376: Introduction to Electrical Engineering Full!
Difficulty: *

What do Electrical Engineers do? How hard or easy it is? What do they need to know before they get into school?

E8361: Build a robot! Full!
Difficulty: **

Come learn the basics of circuits and build a small robot! Learn how to wire up LEDs and motors, using a switch and a breadboard! You'll be designing your own robot, so, if you'd like, come with ideas and/or small recyclables.


Prerequisites
*No* prior experience with circuits! This class is targeted at students with no experience; you won't get very much out of this class if you've already done this before.

E8404: Peanut Butter & Jelly Robotics
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

Think you know how to make a PB&J sandwich? Well enough to explain it to an extraordinarily stupid robot? Then this class is for you. Work with your classmates to instruct a robot to make delicious sandwiches.

E8405: Egg Drop Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

I give you a limited amount of materials, a limited amount of time, and the following task: PROTECT the EGG! Work in teams to design and build a vehicle to keep your egg from breaking... when I drop it out the window. The winners earn eternal glory. The losers have to clean up their eggs.

E8186: Fixing the World through Engineering Full!
Difficulty: **

How to design and implement an engineering project for the developing world!

E8283: Fun with Electronics Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Prashant Patil

This will be hands-on workshop on basic electronics. Students will work with power supply, LEDs, switches, buzzers, motors and micro-controller. The course will conclude with a final project.

E8238: Circuits in Cells? An Intro to Synthetic Biology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Shinjini Saha

What are the latest discoveries in the field of biology? Can cells be used like robots to sense and respond to conditions you specify? Can you design AND or OR gates inside cells? Can you specifically design cells to commit suicide when it senses that it is becoming cancerous? Come find out as we delve into the emerging world of Synthetic Biology!

E8359: Simple Machines
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ian Martin

Learn about the six simple machines, which underpin just about all of mechanical engineering! I'll include some cool examples of conventional (and unconventional) applications to everyday life as well as cutting edge science. Will also feature demonstrations.

E8285: A World Without Gravity!
Difficulty: **

The apple hit Newton on the head (or maybe it didn't). Gravity is important. Or is it?

In this class, we'll imagine the crazy implications of a world without gravity!

E8241: How to land on the Moon: Getting out of Earth
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Olivia Brode-Roger

Rocket science!! How do rockets work? What are the challenges? How does it not explode?
First part of the "How to land on the Moon" course. Both parts are independent from each other.

E8342: Introduction to Electronics Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Nicole Glabinski

This course will be an introduction to the practice and theory of electronics. We'll build circuits to make LEDs light up and delve into the science of how it all works. Then, we'll take it to the next level by using Arduinos to build the same circuit and learn about microcontrollers.


Prerequisites
No experience necessary! It's great if you've heard of voltage and resistance before, but we'll be covering that in class if you haven't.

E8374: Physics of Spaceflight with Kerbal Space Program Full!
Difficulty: **

Do you like space? What about little green men or gratuitous explosions? Then this class is for you!

This class will cover orbital mechanics, space maneuvering, and rocket design. We will then use the Kerbal Space Program software for fun and learning.

E8127: Protein Design
Difficulty: ***

Can people design proteins? Not really, but this is how they try.

E8240: How to land on the Moon: Getting to the Moon, and back
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Olivia Brode-Roger

What path should we take to get on the Moon? How do we land there? How do we get out of there? How to get back to Earth?
Second part of the "How to land on the Moon" course. Both parts are independent from each other.


Humanities

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H8201: Tolkien's Middle Earth Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Rebecca Gallivan

Do you love Middle Earth and its magical stories? Do you ever wonder how such a fantastic land came to be? In this class you will learn about some of Tolkien's secrets to creating such a mystical imaginative adventures.


Prerequisites
Have read or are familiar with Tolkien's works

H8150: Tropes Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Karleigh Moore

You know those cliche and stereotypical characters and plots that just seem to pop up in EVERY TV show and movie? Helpless damsel in distress, the unsightly unaccomplished father, the bratty teenage daughter? That "this again" "surprise" ending?

Welcome to the land of tropes. Come to learn about them.

H8246: Arabic 101- The SPARK Edition
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Annalise Pforr

Tired of the French/Spanish/Latin you're learning everyday in school? Want to impress friends, parents, and your arch-nemesis with a new foreign language? Learn how to write your name in pretty Arabic script?

We'll cover all of that in Arabic 101, the SPARK edition. No foreign language experience necessary.

H8399: Pictogram introduction to philosophy of law Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Andrei Klishin

What is a just society? Oh, there are so many answers. Equality, freedom, greater good - where do these concepts start to contradict each other? Is it possible to build a justice system that is not self-contradictory?
Yes, and even a few such systems, choose to your taste. This class provides an overview of three big schools of though in political philosophy and a few dilemmas to which there are different answers. We would use pictograms and schemes to illustrate the difference of approaches.

H8408: Imagined Communities: What Are Nations?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Eric Mannes

Why is the South African national anthem so hard to sing? What has caused conflict and bloodshed around the world since the French Revolution? And why, when watching the Olympics, do we cheer for Americans we've never met from places we've never visited?

In this class, we'll learn what a nation is-- it's not the same as a state or country--and why it's important. Then we'll explore how different nations see themselves by listening to some national anthems.

H8218: What Is It Like to Be a Bat?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Megan Belzner

Have you ever tried to imagine what it's like to be something else? Like a bat, or an octopus, or even another human being?

Even if you know every detail of "how" something happens in the brain, you still can't imagine what it's like to have an experience you've never had before. This class will discuss the attempts made to explain this phenomenon, and the challenges these explanations pose to some popular theories of mind.

H8293: The art of impromptu speaking
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Malte Ahrens

Knowing how to write a speech ahead of time is one thing, but what if you are given only 5 minutes to prepare. Or even, no time at all?

In this interactive class, you'll have the opportunity to learn, try, and speak!

H8299: Quirky Linguistics
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ryker Reed

Like linguistics or just enjoy thinking about language? Ever noticed how weird language can be? Come learn about some of the quirkier aspects of language. We'll discuss things ranging from infixation (putting words inside other words) to semantic implication (things we say without actually saying them), and semantic satiation (that thing that happens when you say a word too many times and it stops meaning anything). Come enjoy the strangeness of language!

H8320: The History and Culture of the Internet
Difficulty: *

The internet is a series of tubes, or is it? Join us as we explore the origins of this expansive and untouchable domain.


Prerequisites
Knowledge of the existence of the internet.

H8200: Character Analysis Through Classpect
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Houston Mills

This class will explain the character sorting system used in the popular webcomic Homestuck and its useful applications in generalizing a character's interactions with narrative themes.

H8398: Arthurian Legend
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Cathleen Nalezyty

Have an interest in stories about King Arthur? Confused about all the different versions of the story that are floating about?

We'll spend some time in class talking about different aspects of the King Arthur legend. No need to have read any particular work -- though some knowledge of the legend in general would be helpful. We'll also be reading some (short) passages in class that we'll talk about.

H8337: Philosophy of Science
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Aaron Dunbrack

What is science? What are the assumptions we make when we do science? What is the interaction between science and religion? What is the relationship between science and philosophy in general? We'll go over these questions in a discussion-style format that should be thought-provoking and interesting.

H8258: The Fellowship of the Ring and the Hero's Journey
Difficulty: *
Teachers: alyssa smith

The hero's journey is an archetypal path that many protagonists in fiction follow as they progress from the n00b state to the Hero as we know and love them. A surprising number of stories (novels, folktales, etc.) fit this pattern, and it's a pretty cool way to analyze character development. Fellowship of the Ring is particularly interesting to analyze because multiple characters go through this process and experience it very differently.


Prerequisites
Should have read Fellowship of the Ring

H8302: Learn Elvish!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ryker Reed

Ever wanted to speak Elvish? Write Dwarvish runes? Now is your chance! Come take this interactive class and learn the basics of spoken and written Elvish! This class will focus on the Elvish language Sindarin, and we will also cover a bit of the other languages, such as the Elvish language Quenya and the Dwarvish language. We will practice speaking Elvish and also how to write the Elvish script and Dwarvish runes. No prior knowledge necessary, just enthusiasm!

H8137: The Evolution of Writing
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Yale Zussman

Come learn how writing came to be while taking your notes on a clay tablet. The program culminates with your being invited to write your name on the tablet in cuneiform. Tablets will be fired and returned to you, good for some tens of thousands of years.

H8338: Philosophy of Mathematics Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Aaron Dunbrack

We do a lot with math today, and math has done a lot with science. But how can we be sure that math is "right," so to speak? I'll talk about some of the abstract bases of mathematics, specifically some abstractions of set theory and logical argument, and then you'll get to debate one of the most fundamental questions of mathematics (with me, if everyone takes the same side): is mathematics created or discovered?

H8329: Why they "hate us"? A brief history of the Middle East
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Malte Ahrens

A brief dive into the history, religion and people of the Middle East; why the maps are as they are today, why wars are still being fought to this day, and what our involvement is.

Grab onto your seats, this is one wild and fascinating ride through history!

H8303: Languages of Middle Earth
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ryker Reed

Love Lord of the Rings? Ever wondered where all the names in Middle Earth come from? Come find out more about the complex linguistic systems underlying Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. For instance, did you know that Tolkien was a linguist and actually invented an entire Elvish language before even writing the Lord of the Rings books? Learn about some of the real world languages that inspired and influenced Tolkien’s invented languages. And find out more about the history of Middle Earth and how its languages came to be what they are now.


Prerequisites
None, if you've taken this class last year, it will be the same material.


Lunch

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L8414: Lunch
Difficulty: *
Teachers:

Lunch


Mathematics

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M8396: Burnside's Lemma: Counting with Group Theory
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Jonathan Tidor

Here's a problem: Say you have 3 colors of paint and you want to color the sides of a triangle. Two colorings are considered the same if you can rotate or reflect one of the triangles to get the other one. How many different colorings are there?

Here's another problem: Say you have 3 colors of paint and want to color the faces of a cube. Two colorings are considered the same if you can rotate one of the cubes to get the other one. How many different colorings are there?

Here's a third problem: Say you have 1000 colors of paint. How many different colorings of the faces of a cube are there?

In this class we will explore a theorem known as Burnside's Lemma which will help us to solve these types of problems. Along the way, we will develop some of the framework of group theory, a topic typically not taught until late in college, if ever.

This class is going to be a very fast-paced introduction to these new areas of mathematics. Be prepared! (By the way, the answers were 10, 57, and 41,666,792,167,000,000.)


Prerequisites
There are no formal prerequisites, however this course will move very fast. At the very least, you should be familiar with proofs. You should be able to at least make good progress on the second problem above if not solve both of the first two.

M8228: May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor
Difficulty: **

Have you ever wanted to learn how to rip off your friends (completely legitimately)? This class will teach you the mathematics behind becoming rich and powerful (okay, maybe it won't do quite that). But it will lay down the mathematical foundation that you will need so that you can challenge your friends to bets in which the odds be ever in your favor. During this course, we'll expose you to discrete math tools including probability, expected value, counting, and more through fun and interactive demos. We'll show you cool mathematical tricks that you can use to impress your friends (and maybe make a few bucks in the process).


Prerequisites
Basic probability knowledge helpful

M8381: Proof by Mathematical Induction
Difficulty: **
Teachers: William Navarre

Learn how to prove mathematical statements by mathematical induction.

Our main goal will be to prove that the combinations function is equivalent to Pascal's triangle.

We will look at how to apply these ideas to computer programming, but that will NOT be the focus. (I will display code on a projector, but you will not be required to write code yourself).


Prerequisites
-Most of Algebra I. Understand these concepts: -Combinations -Permutations -Factorial -Variable

M8375: Infinity and You
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Daniel Epelbaum

I bet someone at some point told you that 2 times infinity equals infinity. And then your brain hurt a little bit.

And maybe now you know that that isn't quite true and if you just don't think about it everything will be okay. If an answer to "how does $$2*\infty = \infty$$?" is something that you would really like, then come take this class. In not a lot of time we will introduce the concept of infinity and show how reasoning about infinity leads to huge implications about the foundations of mathematics.

If you want to learn some really cool real math then this class is for you!


Prerequisites
Your brain.

M8345: Linear Algebra
Difficulty: ***

Learn to use matrices and vectors like a true mathematician! We will solve higher dimensional problems and learn about the applications of linear algebra in other areas of math. Our goal is to help you see the power and utility of a generalized approach to solving linear equations. (Note: this is not your sixth grade algebra class. Abstract thinking will be required for this difficult material)


Prerequisites
Algebra 1. (Alg. 2 is recommended)

M8369: The Craziest Math Class East of the Mississippi
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ziv Scully

Sometimes people ask me, "Why is math fun?" This class is why. Here are some things we might do:

-Describe a computer program that is impossible to write.

-Show that there are different sizes of infinity by playing a game.

-Save infinitely many monkeys from an evil wizard using some tricky set theory.

-Prove the awkwardly-named "hairy ball theorem", which says that it's impossible to perfectly comb a hairy ball.

-Run out of time :).


Prerequisites
Willingness to ask questions when confused.

M8177: In(tro)duction to Induction
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Lane Gunderman

How can we ever be sure that something in math is true? We prove it! Mathematical induction is a powerful tool for PROVING hypothesized formulas for patterns. This class will convey the rudiments of inductive thinking, and give multiple examples of inductive methods of solving problems.


Prerequisites
Students are required (not just suggested) to have strong comfort with algebra and formula manipulation.

M8322: What's in a Sum?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ahaan Rungta

When being asked to evaluate "a sum," we might just think of addition. But what if you have to add up 2014 terms? You need a trick! And when you need a trick, you write stuff as formulas. Sometimes, you don't even care what "stuff" is, but you just want to find a sum. We write things in what we call _closed forms_, a fancy name for a useful formula we can sum on.

You can find out here how to do this. You should not take this class if you already know how to compute sums such as $$ \displaystyle\sum_{k=1}^{\infty} \dfrac {1}{k^2} $$ or $$ \displaystyle\sum_{k=1}^{2014} \left( k^2 + 2k + 1 \right) $$. In fact, if you don't even know what that means, you should come to this class!


Prerequisites
Comfortable with regular algebra, such as expanding (x+1)(x+2)(x+3) or solving x^2 + 2x + 1 = 0.

M8121: Mad Hatter Mathematics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

There is math. Like no math in school. And proofs full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive them, you need to be as mad as a hatter!


Prerequisites
Come prepared for logic that doesn’t make any sense.

M8420: Euclidean Geometry
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Davie Rolnick

We will present a whirlwind tour of Euclidean geometry - mostly triangles and circles. Topics covered shall include cyclic quadrilaterals, power of a point, triangle centers, and geometric constructions. Problems will be solved in class.


Prerequisites
Students should be familiar with the concepts of angles, parallel lines, and area.

M8323: Peano's Axioms - Why Arithmetic Works
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ahaan Rungta

Math works. Why? Because basic properties such that $$ 1 \cdot x = x $$, $$ 0 + x = x $$, and $$ 0 \cdot x = 0 $$ hold. What if it didn't? If you try to make a system where these don't hold, then Math falls apart. But Peano's Axioms come to the rescue and let us prove these basic things.

This class serves two purposes:

1) Creating the foundation of modern arithmetic and number theory.

2) Introduction basic proof-writing and how an "it works" proof can be made formal.


Prerequisites
Knowledge of arithmetic properties!

M8366: A New Geometry
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alex Cole, Stephen Face

Do you like geometry? What about hypercubes? Then this class is for you!

We will probably talk about some geometry topics not normally covered in school, like higher dimensions, regular polytopes, and curvature.

M8203: Zero: A Dangerous Idea
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Rebecca Gallivan

Zero? A dangerous idea? You may not believe me but when we look at history and some interesting mathematical problems, we will discover a darker side of a seemingly simple number.


Prerequisites
proficient in Algebra

M8123: How to Win $$$
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

How to make the right choice… in order to win money, of course! A bit of math, and then some game show tricks and gambling card games in which most people are /very/ likely to slip up. And if you’re not into gambling yourself, at least come learn how to not get tricked!

M8334: Math and Art: Geometric Constructions
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chelsea Voss

Come use math to create works of art! Learn basic and advanced geometric constructions, from bisecting an angle to constructing a pentagon, and even approximating a heptagon! Draw fractals with precision, acquire a useful mathematical skill, and invent your own elaborate geometric pieces of art!

M8390: Math, Games, and Puzzles
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Joshua Frisch

Games are fun. Puzzles are tricky. Math is mysterious. This class will discuss the interrelationship between all three. In this game and puzzle centered course various games and puzzles with deep and non-obvious mathematical structure will be played. We will play with, discuss, and discover a variety of games and puzzles including impossible puzzles, seemingly impossible puzzles, games where we know who should win but not how they should win, games which are used to model nuclearwarfare, and games which can be used to represent every other game, if time permits we will also discuss computers, games, and a million dollar math problem.


Prerequisites
Understanding basic algebra will be helpful. Expect to have to think hard.

M8370: #winning Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ziv Scully

Do you like winning? I like winning. In particular, I like games where I can figure out a winning strategy with a little bit of logical thinking. We'll eventually find that lots of games can be nicely analyzed by thinking of them as numbers. Then something really weird happens: we can go the other way. Numbers, it turns out, can be thought of as games!

M8385: The Bigger Number Game
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joshua Frisch

100, 99999, 10^1000, what is the biggest number you can name? What does this have to do with logic, computers, and the nature of computation itself. This class will be a combination of competing and lecture.


Prerequisites
Algebra 1, but the more the better

M8419: Graph theory
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Davie Rolnick

This course will present a rapid introduction to graph theory, a rich and fascinating branch of mathematics that has applications to many other fields, such as computer science and biology. We’ll start with the definition of a graph, discuss fundamental concepts like bipartite graphs, cliques, and colorings, and then use these tools to examine important problems of graph theory, including Ramsey numbers.


Prerequisites
Some experience with mathematical problem-solving and proofs.

M8308: Primes, Primes, and More Primes
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Kit Haines

A prime number is a number not divisible by any other number except 1, but that is just the beginning! Algorithms for finding primes start with the sieve of Eratosthenes date back to 200BC, and we are still promoting better ways to test if numbers are prime today: the most recent important development was only in 2008! This class will cover some history and a lot of math, from how we use primes today and historically, to how we find primes (where to look that there are a lot of primes) and how to test if a number is prime (yes, we can try dividing by every number below it, but that is slow! Learn a better method!).


Prerequisites
Some mathematical maturity: You should know what a function is, and be comfortable with basic algebra, including (square) roots and exponents.

M8402: What Does "Continuous" Mean?
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Ziv Scully

How do we take an intuitive concept—the fact that you can draw a line without picking up your pencil—and define it in terms math? How can we take an apparently obvious fact—the fact that a circle has an inside and an outside—and formally prove it?

Extremely carefully.

We're going to do a whole lot of work to get a definition for a property that a four-year-old could identify: when a curve on a plane is "continuous", that is, has no gaps, jumps, holes, or anything like that. This is the first step towards rigorously proving some remarkable things, which we'll talk about as time allows. Some of these things are also at four-year-old obviousness levels, while others are surprising enough that you might not believe them at first!


Prerequisites
The first thing we'll do is briefly introduce the real numbers. If you know the quadratic formula, you're probably ready. On the flip side, if you've seen an epsilon-delta proof, you'll be bored by most of this class.

M8364: Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Bianca Homberg

Computers are powerful, sure. But can they compute anything you want them to? Is there anything computers absolutely can’t figure out, no matter what? The answer here is yes—computers are not omnipotent.

In this class, we’ll prove mathematically that despite whatever clever algorithms people can come up with, there will always be problems that are impossible for a computer to solve. We’ll look at few examples, including the Halting Problem. Along the way, we’ll encounter and investigate a variety of theoretical constructs which compute: deterministic finite automata (DFA’s), pushdown automata, context free grammars, and Turing Machines. We'll also explore what kinds of problems these can solve--and prove which ones are more powerful.

M8339: Conceptual Calculus
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Aaron Dunbrack

Learn what it means to take the limit, the derivative, or the integral! Also learn how to apply these concepts in some pretty cool ways. Note: this class will be almost entirely conceptual - very few actual derivatives will be taken, although some of the more interesting ones may be used.


Prerequisites
An willingness to think about abstract concepts and an understanding of what a variable is (e.g. be able to solve 5x=10 for x).

M8362: Zero to Infinity
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Bianca Homberg

Suppose I have a hotel with infinitely many rooms all in a row, all of which are full. If another person shows up, can I find away to rearrange people so that the newcomer has a room? What if I have infinitely many new people who need rooms?

Are there more integers or natural numbers? More real numbers or natural numbers?

Are there multiple sizes of infinity, or just one?


Interested in infinity? Ever wondered about questions like these? Want to spend an hour learning cool stuff to stretch your mind? Then come take this class! (We'll cover definitions and some proofs, but the focus will be on gaining a more intuitive understanding of mind-blowing math versus mathematical rigor.)

M8330: Primes and primes and primes, oh my!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ray Hua Wu

Prime numbers are both fundamental and mysterious in mathematics. Let's look at properties of primes, different types of primes, and eye-opening mathematical results relating to primes.


Prerequisites
Algebra 1

M8386: Bases and Mods
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joshua Frisch

How do you calculate the last digit of 7^(7^2014)? What is binary and how do you multiply in it? We will talk about how to do math in different number bases, what modular arithmetic is, and what they have to do with each other.


Prerequisites
Familiarity with algebra

M8393: Calculate Pi with Trains!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ziv Scully

It turns out that you can calculate pi to very high accuracy by bouncing a small train and a big train into a wall. Come on a journey through Extra-Nice Physics Land (where there's no friction and all collisions are perfectly elastic) to see how it works!


Prerequisites
Given the equation of a line, you should know how to find its slope. We'll also use the Pythagorean theorem.

M8231: Fractals and Dimension
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Victor Lupi

A line is one-dimensional, and a plane is two-dimensional. Makes sense, right? What if I told you there are objects that have dimension 1.5? Would you believe me? How about if I generated them for you? In this course, we will study the tricky concept of dimension and its various definitions. Along the way, we will encounter fractals, curious objects that are both exceedingly simple and breathtakingly complex. Expect lots of pretty pictures. If time permits, we’ll take a look at the surprisingly simple software needed to generate these beautiful geometric objects.


Prerequisites
Basic algebra should suffice. Knowledge of logarithms, while not essential, will enhance understanding of the material.

M8363: Codes and Cryptography Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Bianca Homberg

For Mary Queen of Scots, a broken cipher meant her execution. For the Allies during WWII, a broken Enigma code meant lives saved and war significantly shorter. When you can read your enemies' private communication, you know what they're thinking and what they're planning--and such information is never a bad thing.

Come learn how to send messages that your friends won't be able to read--and even better, how to break the secret messages that other people have sent! We'll cover a few different kinds of ciphers, including Caesar shifts, substitution ciphers, and the Vignere cipher.

Most of this will take the form of you all working in groups trying to break code; there will be hints if you need them. If we have time, you'll make up your own ciphers and try to decipher each others messages.


Prerequisites
None!

M8279: Counting Past Infinity
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jason Gross

Did you ever have arguments about whether or not $$\infty + 1 = \infty$$? Come learn how to count past infinity, graphically!


Prerequisites
You should know how to count. You should also understand the definition "a set is an unordered collection of distinct objects". If you already know about the formal definition of numbers as sets, you probably will not enjoy this class.

M8378: The Geometry of Complex Numbers
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Matt Hodel

You may have heard about imaginary numbers and the mysterious number $$ i $$, the supposed square root of negative one. But what do they really mean? We will explore the subject of complex numbers (sums of real numbers and imaginary numbers) from a geometric perspective, and (hopefully) gain a deeper appreciation for what these objects are and why they are so interesting.


Prerequisites
Algebra 1. Geometry would be helpful but is not required.

M8136: Introduction to Calculus: Middle School Edition
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Zachary Marcone

We are going to divide by zero...Gasp! In fact all of calculus is based on how we deal with a nasty zero in the denominator.

Come to this class to learn about the most amazingest field of mathematics. I will teach the basics of this subject and show its innumerable applications.

I promise you will be awed or your money back (well maybe I won't go that far).


Prerequisites
It is integral that you are proficient in algebra. This will be a very difficult class as many students don't learn calculus until 12th grade but don't feel discouraged because you will certainly learn something awesome. Anyway, it would be really helpful if you are experienced with functions and properties thereof. Also, if you got the joke in the first sentence you are more than prepared for the class.

M8288: Fun with Pigeonhole Principle
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Yoa Clifton

Are you interested in math? Do you want to stick pigeons in holes? If you answered yes to either of these questions, come and learn how a seemingly trivial statement can have powerful consequences!


Prerequisites
Familiarity with elementary counting and probability, modular arithmetic

M8313: Theoretical Cryptography
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kit Haines

Ciphers are a way to encode a message, so that only you and the person you are talking to can decode it. You may have heard of the Caesar Cipher (~50BC), or maybe some of its derivatives: ROT13, a substitution cipher, or more complicated such as the Vigenere Cipher (1553). Whether you have or haven't, this course will go over the basics of how these old systems worked, and how we have improved upon them - significantly. We've made a lot of progress in the past 500 years though, so come learn about how the one-time pad is unbreakable, but the Russians managed to mess that up. This is as much a history of cryptography course as it is a "how not to use cryptography" course.

M8387: How to add infinitely many things
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Joshua Frisch

What is $1+1/2+1/3+1/4...$? $1+1/2+1/4+1/8...
What about $1-1/2+1/3-1/4...$
We will talk about what happens when you sum infinitely many things and what can go wrong.


Prerequisites
Algebra 2 is strongly recommended

M8117: The Birthday Problem and its Applications
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Amy Prager

A statement of and solution to the birthday problem is presented as well as its application to modern cryptography


Prerequisites
A good grasp of middle school mathematics

M8341: Large Numbers
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ray Hua Wu

Oh no, we're not even stopping at a googolplex.


Prerequisites
Algebra I

M8368: Demockracy
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ziv Scully

Having a fair election with two candidates is pretty simple: everyone votes for their favorite candidate and whoever gets the most votes wins. However, as anyone who was around for the presidential elections in 2000 (or 1912... or 1860) will tell you, things get complicated with three or more candidates. It's sometimes the case that you should vote for a candidate you think is likely to win instead of a fringe candidate you agree with more. We can think of different voting systems that try to get around this and other problems, but as we'll explore in class, no voting system avoids all potential flaws. You might ask: is there a "perfect" voting system out there?

Actually, it turns out there is one. It's called a dictatorship. And unless you have an infinite number of voters, no other system is "perfect". Come find out why!


Prerequisites
If you know how to prove there are infinitely many primes, you're definitely ready. Even if you can't, just come ready to think hard about voting :).

M8119: How to Cut a CAKE
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

If two people have to split a cake, is it "fair" if one cuts and the other gets to choose which piece they want? Does this still work for 3 people?

What if 100 pirates need to split up their $1000 of loot? Or if you need to split a $20 weekly allowance between you and your younger sibling?

How should ESP decide who gets into what classes? And, if we publish the lottery algorithm, what makes a system easy or difficult to 'game'?

This class will explore the concepts of "fairness" and of "game theory" - using the intersection to discuss practical cases where people care about the result...

LIKE WHEN THERE'S CAKE INVOLVED!!! (yes, there will be cake, and it will not be a lie)


Prerequisites
Some snacks may contain nuts - you don't need to eat them, but if being near nuts might be a problem, this will be a very dangerous class for you.


Performing Arts

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P8421: Spontaneous 5-Minute Classes on Whatever You Want
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Davie Rolnick

You choose the title, we improvise a 5-minute lesson on it! Bring your wackiest topic suggestions, and watch us embarrass ourselves as we teach you about them on the spur of the moment.

P8406: Impromptu Speaking
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

I'm putting you on the spot: everyone who comes to this class will give an impromptu speech! Learn to think on your feet and come up with something coherent to say with little preparation. Get useful tips on how to be a better presenter.

P8354: Electronic Music Production Workshop
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ian Palleiko

In this interactive workshop, we'll have a small studio setup with Ableton, a couple midi keyboards, a Novation Launchpad, and KRK Rockit studio monitors. After a brief overview of software and hardware, we'll have a student-led, interactive session. Whatever you want to do – we can go into more depth on a subject, give everyone time with the equipment, or have an electronic music jam session. All experience levels are welcome! If you're working on a song and want some input, bring your computer and I'll take a look at it if we have time.


Prerequisites
Like electronic music!

P8189: Write a Parody Song
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ethan Goldstein

Be Weird Al for a day!

At the beginning of this class, we'll choose a major song from the last few years, and then spend the next two hours parodying it to turn it into something new, wonderful, and hilarious. In the process, we'll learn about how lyrics work, including rhyming, meter, and scansion. Anyone with an interest in lyrics should show up and join in, and depending on how far we get we may even be able to record us singing it and put it up on YouTube!

P8152: Reenact Your Favorite Fandom/TV/Movie Scenes Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Karleigh Moore

Grab your sonic screwdriver and your trench coat and come prepared to deliver the 10th Doctor's "Don't Blink" speech.

Bring a leather jacket and a flannel shirt and be both Sam and Dean as they argue about music selection.

Whatever your show/movie/book is, if you want to act out your favorite scenes to a group of supportive classmates, now is your chance to do it!


Prerequisites
Bring a scene or 2 that you might like to act out. I will also bring some scenes printed out to class.


Science

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S8130: Introduction to Physics! - Kinematics
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Zachary Marcone

This class will be an amazing introduction to high school physics. I will introduce kinematics which is the study of motion (it is not as scary as it sounds). We will be discussing the fundamentals of physics and learn how to never miss a shot in basketball.

Come to this class to fall in love with physics!


Prerequisites
Algebra is an absolute must. I will also be using sin, cos, and tan towards the end of class but you will still glean a lot if you are unfamiliar with trigonometry.

S8190: Human Disease
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ethan Goldstein

What makes people sick?

Learn what bacteria and viruses are, as well as more obscure pathogens like prions. We'll even go over what autoimmunity is and other non-pathogenic causes of disease. This is a great course for anyone interested in Biology or Medicine, and will introduce you to many concepts that you can learn about later in your scientific career.

S8335: Cosmology: The Early Universe
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Aaron Dunbrack

Ever wondered what the early universe looks like? How the early atoms formed? What happened at the big bang? And, equally if not most importantly, how do we know all this stuff?

S8290: How a Toilet REALLY works
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Harvey Yee

Do you really know how a toilet works?
Come to this class and we discover the physics and the history of the toilet, and in the process, maybe even gets some plumbing tips!


Prerequisites
a sense of curiosity and adventure!

S8215: Spectacular Spectroscopy Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Corinn Herrick

Have you ever wondered how astronomers know which elements make up stars? Or how scientists identify unknown substances? Spectroscopy is an important tool that can help us do both of those things, and more. Come learn how it all works and build your own handheld spectroscope.

S8209: Escape from Quicksand Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ranbel Sun

So you're walking along the beach and suddenly find yourself trapped in a pit of quicksand with the tide rising fast. Would you survive?

Get your hands dirty making your own "quicksand," explore how it can act like both a liquid and solid, and learn about non-Newtonian fluids in the process!

S8325: How to Physics!
Difficulty: **

What can babies on swings and electrically-charged cats teach us about physics? A lot actually. Come and learn with us. Mechanics, electromagnetism and more!


Prerequisites
There aren't any official prerequisites but a familiarity with algebra would be appreciated.

S8317: Tour of the Elements
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ray Hua Wu

Let's go through the elements of the periodic table and explore the neat and nasty parts of each chemical personality!


Prerequisites
Basic knowledge of chemistry

S8181: Structure-function relationships in the brain
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Roan LaPlante

The computational power and complexity of the human brain is one of the great mysteries of science. It is also one of the most poorly represented avenues of knowledge in popular culture.

In this course, we will attempt to review a small amount of what is known about the overall functioning of the brain at a high level and the epistemology of these findings -- the physical measurements and methods that affirm this. We will also look at some erroneous concepts of the brain in popular culture, and compare this to the level of detail present in the scientific source material.


Prerequisites
this course is ideal for students with little or no background in neuroscience. some knowledge of physics is a plus

S8292: DNA Whodunit!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Christina Birch

There's been a crime on campus-- but the culprit has left something behind! Come learn how to apply fundamental concepts of biology and common laboratory tools to solve this DNA whodunnit.


Prerequisites
Introduction to Biology. Familiarity with basic biology concepts (central dogma, DNA-RNA-protein).

S8336: Rapid-Fire Mechanics
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Aaron Dunbrack

Come to get a rapid overview of mechanics. We'll go over kinematics, forces, momentum, energy, Galilean relativity, gravity, rotational dynamics and angular momentum. If we have time, we'll discuss classical thermodynamics, some electricity and magnitude, and special and maybe even general relativity.


Prerequisites
This class will rely on a solid understanding of algebra. If you can solve a quadratic equation, you'll be more than fine; if you can solve y=mx+b for x, you'll probably be fine. Other mathematical constructs will be developed during the class.

S8176: Absolute Zero
Difficulty: *

Temperature can increase without bound (so far as people know), but 'strangely' there is a lower bound for temperature. How can we make sense of this? Well come find out!!! In this course, we will observe through reasonable analysis of ideal theoretical micro systems: Boyle's law, Charles' law, and Avogadro's law. These laws will then be pieced together into the beautiful ideal gas law equation. From this we will find Absolute Zero, and convince ourselves that there can be nothing with a lower temperature.


Prerequisites
Students are suggested (although not required) to have comfort with phrases like 'proportional to' as well as fair comfort with simple algebra manipulations.

S8403: The Art and Science of Fermentation
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Pranjal Vachaspati

Learn how trillions of microbes can make your food delicious! Students will learn about the science history of fermented foods, sample fermented products, and go home with a starter that they can use to make their own yogurt.

S8327: How to Biology!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chew Chai, Steven Okada

How do you build a dog? Can a tree grow out of thin air?

Come and learn the answer to these questions and more. Biology is awesome and I hope you know that.

S8328: Astronomy
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Brandon Benson

We will cover the basics of astronomy including how to estimate the size of the Sun, Moon, Earth, and the distance between each of them. We will also touch on phenomena such as black holes, super nova, and other awesome aspects of astronomy and astrophysics!

S8131: Sound, Waves, and Electricity
Difficulty: *
Teachers: John Gregg

What is sound made of? How do things work that make sound? We will explore this, as well as a lot of related questions in this fun, hands-on course. Fifth graders could understand everything here, but I guarantee high school seniors will learn something they didn't already know!

S8224: Introduction to Physics! - Forces and Momentum
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Zachary Marcone

Forces are the foundation of classical physics according to Newton. In this class you will learn how almost everything in the universe can be explained as interacting forces...everything! Along the way we will discover something known as momentum and its very strange properties.

Come to this class to fall in love with physics!


Prerequisites
Algebra is a must. Also, it may be beneficial to take my other class on kinematics but that is certainly not necessary.

S8243: A story of diamonds...
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Olivia Brode-Roger

How are they created? Why do they even exist? What makes them so special? Are they really special?
We're going to talk about geology, physics and chemistry then I'll answer any question you have!

S8210: Let's Do Some Modeling
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Lane Gunderman

When something is too complicated to be understood, a very effective tool for creating approximate answers is modeling. In this course we will introduce the idea of statistical modeling as well as how to model chemicals using computer programs. We will speak about the applications of modeling and motivation for creating effective models.


Prerequisites
It is desirable that the students have a familiarity with basic statistic measurements (mean, median, mode), relative strength in algebra (graphing functions), and a vague idea of what chemicals/proteins look like would all be helpful.

S8273: Cryptography: Making and breaking secret codes Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Marcus Boorstin

Ever wondered how secret codes are made, or wanted to write a secret note to your friends? In this class we'll look at some ways of making codes, practice sending secret messages, and then talk about breaking them.

S8355: Physics Lightning Lectures!

Ever wanted to learn about special relativity or how the universe formed? Want a quick introduction to how quantum mechanics works? Come join us in for the physics lightning lectures this Spark!


Prerequisites
Interest and curiosity in physics.

S8377: Can sensors be made out of gels?
Difficulty: *

Biology + Engineering = Technology!
Come and see how sensors can be made out of a simple gelatin solution.

S8326: How to Chemistry!
Difficulty: **

Don't trust atoms. They make up everything!

Hahahahahahahaha! But actually though. Come and learn the basics behind chemistry and if you're lucky, more chemistry-related jokes.


Prerequisites
There aren't any official prerequisites but a familiarity with algebra would be appreciated.

S8380: The Physics Behind Balloons
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jazmin Prairie

Learn how physics relates to balloons. What is the physics behind a balloon popping? Also learn how to make some balloon animals!


Prerequisites
None

S8275: Seeing the Invisible: An Introduction to Experimental Particle Physics
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Fangfei Shen

Have you ever wondered how we detect particles -- such as electrons, neutrinos, and Higgs bosons -- if they're invisible to our eyes?

This class will go over the particles that make up our universe, and how physicists detect particles in their experiments.


Prerequisites
Familiarity with what "particle" means in physics is recommended. (Your knowledge does not need to be deep; for example, you do not need to know all the Standard Model elementary particles by heart.) I will be keeping the physics of this class simple, but the material will still move fast.

S8255: Brains look like the Universe but in Chalk!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Benjamin Chan

Learn what it takes to build an Artificial Intelligence that can ACTUALLY THINK LIKE US. See how current computational approaches fail, and what new research on the brain brings us. Find out about the parallels between entropy and epilepsy, order and intelligence, and how we can write software to take advantage of it. Did you know the length of brain waves is related to how many numbers we can store in our short term memory? Come and find inspiration!

Oh, and chalk and chalkboards!!! You'll have the chance to draw BRAINS and the UNIVERSE with chalk! (on a volunteer basis) Let's live-draw the discussion on the board, and have some serious fun. I promise lots of laughter.


Prerequisites
Enthusiasm and an optional affinity for art.

S8280: Your classical intuition is wrong!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jason Gross

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

S8276: Advanced Physics and the future of space travel Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: James Penna

From Star Wars to the Space Shuttle, it's been the human dream to travel to infinity and beyond. But how will we get there? We need to explore new fields of science and engineering and develop new ideas in order to conquer the final frontier.


Prerequisites
Some background in science and basic math would be helpful, especially basic physics.

S8343: Preview of Physics
Difficulty: **

Are you confused by gyroscopes? Awestruck by lightning?
Mesmerized by lasers?

Come learn about the fundamentals of the universe. We will discuss examples from everyday life and cutting edge research as well as perform many awesome demonstrations!


Prerequisites
Intrest in science.

S8281: The Particle Zoo
Difficulty: **
Teachers: John Hardin

Stuff is made of atoms, but atoms are made of smaller things still. We call these things Quarks and leptons. This course will give a brief summary of how we think about the interactions of these particles, and how we use this thinking to understand things like nuclear power. This course will not require much, if any, math, as we will generally be discussing qualitatively.

S8304: A journey into the weird and wonderful world of Quantum Mechanics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Malte Ahrens

The quantum world can be weird. Being in two places at "once"? Not knowing where exactly something is, or where it is going? And more!

Join us as we explore that world and try to see it through experiments, experiments you can repeat in your own homes!

S8352: A Brief History of Time
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Hengyun Zhou

In this class we'll be talking about time, starting from our ancestors, pendulum clocks and moving onto quartz clocks and atomic clocks. If time permits, we might even talk about how relativity comes into the picture and about the world's best clocks. Hopefully you'll be able to learn a lot about time in the least amount of time!


Prerequisites
An interest in Physics might help you understand this class.

S8242: The biggest tour you've ever been on: the best of the solar system
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Olivia Brode-Roger

After a very brief introduction about astronomical bodies, we'll go and see the coolest places of the solar system. Anything from the Sun to asteroids!

S8265: Exploring Immunology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Cali Warner

Why is your snot green when you're sick? What is pus anyway? Why do you get a swollen spleen with mono? Come discuss and hear about some basic and quirky bits of your immune system.

S8382: Estimation: Fermi Questions!
Difficulty: *

How many bubbles are there in a bubble bath? How many carbon atoms in a person? Learn the basics of Fermi Questions, then test your powers of estimation in the Fermi Derby!

S8230: Tour of the Vitamins
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ray Hua Wu

Isn't it amazing how many apparently random compounds are actually needed by life like us in tiny amounts? Find out more about them here.


Prerequisites
Some chemical knowledge

S8409: Intro to Drug Design for Human Diseases
Difficulty: ****

Ever wonder how drugs were designed to combat human diseases? How can a drug fight cancer? Why aren't there cures to some diseases? Why do side effects occur, and how can drug design help avoid them? In the future, how could nanotechnology, biotic and microbiome therapy, and stem cells play into the equation of treating disease?

We will take a look at the process of drug design and development, highlighting some of the current models for disease, and how they have helped shape drug design, as well as what may come in the future of drug design. In order to do this, many basics will be covered, including structures of cells, receptor theory, signal transduction, metabolic pathways, gene expression, bio-molecules, and drug-like molecules. Disease models will be investigated including cancer and other chronic diseases. The idea is to spark interest in the many different aspects of this field, while placing an emphasis on the biological properties and fundamentals. You will gather a better understanding of drug design basics and maybe one day you could apply those principles to help design a revolutionary drug that has little to no side effects and cures a human disease!

S8237: Autism Spectrum Disorders - Introduction, Implications and technology
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Qazi Fazli Azeem

The diagnosis for Autism Spectrum Disorders in the US is now 1 in 50 children. Early intervention has led to better educational and life outcomes for people on the Autism Spectrum. There are challenges (Sensory, Environment, Curriculum) as well a diversity of abilities (Aspergers Syndrome, gifted learners, savants, Neurodiversity). This is an introduction about Autism through biology, symptoms and the role and potential of technology to help those on the Autism Spectrum work with their needs.
The presenter is the South Asian self advocate for the Autism Spectrum, and presented at the United Nations in New York.on 2nd April 2013 - World Autism Awareness day.

S8278: What's a Genome? Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ethan Goldstein

All of our cells are controlled by our genes, which carry information between generations and allow for life to occur. But what actually is a gene, and what else is in the "Genome", which is the sum of all the genetic information we carry? This class is for anyone interested in genetics and biology, and will address popular and controversial issues in modern medicine, like sequencing and changing our genomes to combat disease.

S8316: The Science of Brain Health Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Vika Brewster

We all know what it takes to be considered healthy: sleep eight hours a night; eat a well-balanced meal; exercise regularly; etc. etc. But why? How does such a simple task affect our body’s physiology? This class will go into topics of why sleep, diet, exercise, stress, nature and social interaction are beneficial at the ____ level. The topic of sleep will cover the different sleep waves, REM and it’s affects, and how the best way to get the most out of sleep is. Diet will cover the importance of maintaining one’s blood sugar, the importance of fatty acids and how different drinks can affect our health. Exercise will cover the amount and type that is best for the body, and the affects on blood circulation and respiratory system. Stress will cover the negative affects of cortisol, how different work environments are better than others, and the affects of chronic sitting. The affect of nature on the brain will cover the difference in brain functions of someone interacting with nature versus someone who is not and those affects and how it has been shaped by evolution with our environment. Then I will discuss the side effects of the environment we live in today. Last but not least, social interaction will cover oxytocin and serotonin and how it changes our clarity and confidence while being social. I will also explain how this has come about through evolution.

S8333: Insects!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chelsea Voss

Is that an orchid, or a mantis? What's the difference between a bug and a beetle? Why does EVERYTHING seem to want to pretend to be an ant? Why do bees cooperate with each other like that?

Come learn about insects, the fascinating animals with more than a million species on Earth and a majority of ALL the species we know about!

This class will present a whirlwind tour of insects of all sorts. You'll learn how each group is related and how to recognize each group's unique features, as well as some random cool things about camoflage and parasitism among insects.

Real insects are promised! Really!

S8346: Why boiled water cools down? Introduction to physics of heat and change.
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tomohiro Soejima

If you leave boiled water in a room, it will cool down and get to room temperature. If we just leave something, heat always goes from hotter to cooler. It is never other way around. But why is that so? Why can't you move heat from cooler thing to hotter thing?
This is a very typical example of an area of physics called "Thermodynamics". In this class, using everyday examples, basic concepts of thermodynamics will be introduced.

S8245: Where is that star?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Olivia Brode-Roger

How to find, measure and share the location of celestial objects.

S8289: The Science and History of Longitude
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Harvey Yee

Ever wonder how ancient mariners navigated the seas before GPS?
Come to this class and discover the history and science of Longitude, and how one man spent over 40 years competing with the brightest minds of Europe (including Newton) to win the prize of insuring safe navigation of the seas.


Prerequisites
A sense of curiosity and a sense of adventure!

S8331: "I will never forget you"
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Radwa Sharaf

Basics of how our immune system works, how it remembers past encounters and how we can help it to better fight off infections.

S8247: Hacking Flavor
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Abby Noyce

Why do some things taste good and some things taste bad? Why are all the delicious things "bad for you"? How does your brain know what food tastes like? Why are some people picky about tastes, and some people aren't? Can you change the way your taste buds work? (Hint: Yes, and we will try it!)

In this class, we'll learn about how the sense of taste works, from your tongue and nose to your brain. We'll measure whether we are "super-tasters," and we'll experiment with miracle berry, a fruit that changes how your taste buds work, and makes sour things taste sweet!

S8301: The physics, chemistry and biology of food
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Malte Ahrens

Food is delicious. Science is provocative.

Join us as we learn about the speed of light, thermodynamics, and genetic evolution by experimenting, thinking, and, yes, eating our way through science!

S8125: DNA Origami
Difficulty: ***

Think DNA is a double helix? Think again! DNA Origami is the nanoscale folding of DNA to create arbitrary two and three dimensional shapes.

Come learn how and why this happens, and what it actually does!

S8244: A love triangle: The Earth, the Sun and the Moon
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Olivia Brode-Roger

How do the Sun and the Moon affect our every day lives? We're going to talk about tides, moon phases and eclipses in a fun, new and exctiting way!

S8232: Bird Senses: Vision and Hearing
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Rebecca Shi

How similar are bird senses to human senses? How did anatomical and behavioral studies work together to give evidence of exotic bird senses, including echolocation? Why was it so difficult for people to accept that birds have significant senses of taste and smell? In this session of this class, we will address vision and hearing (a separate session is devoted to smell, taste, and magnetic sense). Come learn about the fascinating world of birds!

S8271: Taking the Twinkle Out of Stars
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Fangfei Shen

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I want to see what you really are. Come learn why stars twinkle, why astronomers can't stand the twinkling, how engineers get rid of the twinkling, and why taking the twinkle out of stars leads to better science.

S8216: Shedding Light on Lasers
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Corinn Herrick

The year is 2020 and robots are taking over the world. Everyone is in panic, everyone, that is, except for you. You came to Spark 2014 and learned all about lasers. You learned about how lasers generate light and how that light is different from normal light. You also learned about the different kinds of lasers and their applications. Including lasers so powerful that they can burn through sheets of metal! You run to your secret lab in your basement and build a giant robot-killing laser weapon! ...or maybe you realize 2 steps down the stairs that such a weapon was utterly impractical given the supplies at hand.

No matter, maybe the robots will be so impressed by your ingenuity that their creator will spare you and make you his partner.


Prerequisites
You should understand that matter is composed of elements which have electrons. Some of the details of this class may be hard to understand if you haven't taken a chemistry class. If you're okay with accepting some things as "magic" when you don't completely understand the explanation, you should be able to get the big picture of what's going on.

S8389: Astronomy Basics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jon Beaulieu

Go on a speed-run of outer space, where you'll learn some of today's coolest astronomy facts! We'll be covering everything from planets to how stars burn to supermassive black holes in galaxy centers!


Prerequisites
A love of outer space!

S8253: When Red is Green and sgiP are Pigs
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Hannah Willis

Our brains process thousands of pieces of information each day, but what if your brain doesn’t see something the way that someone else does? This class will give an introduction to the important features of the brain as they relate to the common learning disabilities, as we examine how different structures and chemicals play a role in how we think and learn. Give your brain a chance to explore what it’s like to think a little differently – and find out if sgiP are sometimes Pigs after all!

S8347: What is atom? A short history of how human beings discovered atom.
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tomohiro Soejima

Atom is a basic constituents of all materials. Everything we can tough consists of atoms. But human beings did not know what atom was until 100 years ago.
There were an exciting experiments, beautiful theories that led us to the better understanding of atom. In this lecture, brief history of "atomic hypothesis" will be explained.

S8226: Quantum Mechanics, Theoretical Physics, Cosmic Inflation, Black Holes, Alien Life, The Origin
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zachary Marcone

Are you interested in the really deep questions like Where did we come from? Does anything exist? What exactly is a black hole? How about a Higgs Boson? Are there extra dimensions? Then this is the class for you!

This class will be a place where you can ask me the deepest questions about physics and the nature of the universe. I will do my best to answer drawing from my research in something known as quantum field theory and my extensive readings of popular science books.


Prerequisites
Natural curiosity and not much else! But YOU MUST come with questions. This whole class will just be me answering your questions so if you guys don't ask any then I will just sit there.

S8365: Introduction to Optics!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Rishi Patel

Have you ever wondered about the wave-particle duality of light? Do you want to learn how lenses work?

This class offers a whirlwind tour of basic principles of optics. The first half of the course will focus on geometrical optics to study how optical devices work, like pinhole cameras, magnifying lenses, mirrors, telescopes and more. Students will learn and derive the laws of reflection and refraction.

In the second half we will take a look at the wave-nature of light, and try to understand the phenomena of polarization and interference. We will discuss the principles behind holograms, which enable 3D imaging . If time permits, we will discuss the basics of quantum optics.

The class will be supplemented by optical demonstrations that the student can repeat at home.

S8222: From Infinitesimal to Gargantuan
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Lenni Armstrong

You may know that the Earth is smaller than the Sun, but what does scale really mean in our lives? Come play a card activity about the size of things that impact you every day, from high-energy waves, to atoms & molecules, to cells & DNA, all the way up to the giant stars. We'll do hands-on work with scientific notation and orders of magnitude and ways to fathom sizes so far out of our vision and experience that they become almost impossible to comprehend.

S8298: Nature's Fundamental Forces: Electromagnetism and Gravity
Difficulty: **

What is electricity? How do batteries work? Heck, what is "energy" in the first place? How can a tiny magnet defeat the gravitational pull of the entire earth? And why don't the protons in an atom's nucleus repel each other like positive charges are supposed to? Come hear these questions -- and more -- answered in a lively crash-course on the fundamental forces of the universe. Best of all, you will get to build (and bring home!) your very own electromagnetic motor. I think we can all agree that this is an incredibly "attractive" class to attend.

S8272: Special Relativity
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Marcus Boorstin

Ever heard of the equation $$E=mc^2$$? It's part of an idea called "special relativity", developed by Albert Einstein, that tells us something very fundamental about how time works. In this class we'll go through a few of Einstein's ideas, look at how he discovered special relativity, and then do a little of the math behind it.


Prerequisites
A little algebra (you should know what a variable is) will probably be helpful.

S8291: Why are Carrots Orange?
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Diptarka Hait

What happens when you put an electron in an extremely tiny box? And how does it behave when you shine light on it? Come find out why this is the reason why carrots are orange and leaves are green.


Prerequisites
Some interest in Physics or Chemistry.

S8348: Alternative Ways to Cure Cancer Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chew Chai

Want to know how to attack cancer cells using proteins and nano-particles? Join us for this great adventure!

S8145: Development and treatment of Diabetes
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joris De Schutter

Introduction to Diabetes.
How do people get it? What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes? What does insulin do in the human body? ...

S8233: Bird Senses: Smell, Taste, and Magnetic Sense
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Rebecca Shi

How similar are bird senses to human senses? How did anatomical and behavioral studies work together to give evidence of exotic bird senses, including echolocation? Why was it so difficult for people to accept that birds have significant senses of taste and smell? In this session of this class, we will address smell, taste, and magnetic sense (a separate session is devoted to vision and hearing). Come learn about the fascinating world of birds!

S8208: An Introduction to All Things Brain
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Patience Stevens

Have you ever wondered how your brain communicates with itself? How it takes in information about everything around, on and inside you and turns it into electrical signals?
Come to this class for an overview of brain anatomy, how neurons work, and how input from your senses is perceived and processed!

S8306: An Introduction to Cosmology
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Christian Cardozo

If the universe is expanding infinitely, what is it expanding into? What do the center of a black hole and the big bang have in common? Will the universe end? How? If questions like this have ever zipped through your mind, this is the class for you! No math or science background required.

S8122: Your Art Teacher LIED to You!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

Somehow, art-instructors and primary school teachers (and sometimes quantum physicists... good story) are under the impression that Red, Yellow, and Blue are "primary" colors. *cough* this is COMPLETELY FALSE *cough* Are you interested in human vision? The physics and chemistry of the eye? This class will delve into the chemistry of the rod and cone cells which lead to our experiences of light and color. And then additionally cover some of the neurological components of vision. So if you want to know some ridiculous truths (EX: Magenta is a delusion shared by the entire human species!) and with enough context (chemistry, physics, and neurology) to understand exactly how your art teacher lied and what the truth really is, sign up for this class and brace yourself.

S8286: Life inside the Cell
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Natalie Heer

What is a cell? Are bacteria and human cells that different? What determines cell shape, and how do they grow and divide? Did you know that cells can talk to their neighbors? Come find out what goes on inside a cell!

In this introduction to cell biology we will learn about the exciting world inside the cell, from mitochondria to motor proteins! We will start with the basics and work our way in.


Visual Arts

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V8260: Campus Contemporary Art
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Desi Gonzalez

Think like an artist! In this class, we'll explore works by contemporary artists right on MIT's campus. Artists like Louise Nevelson and Sol Lewitt make works that often break the traditional rules of art. We'll ask questions like: What makes something a work of art? Why is art important? Where do artists find inspiration?

V8318: Make Chain Mail!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Miranda Gavrin

Learn how to make chain mail in this awesome hands-on class! You will learn to connect rings in one of the classic styles that used to be used to make armor. Make bracelets, earrings, keychains, zipper pulls, or anything else you can come up with--or take your new skills home and make a full suit of armor!


Prerequisites
All you need are two hands!

V8227: Make an Exciting Card for Someone You Like
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Maria Ruiz

Learn to make simple pop-up and moving cards--perfect for birthdays, holidays, or any day. Whether you are a cardmaking master or are limited to stick figures on white paper, you are welcome!

V8179: Clothes for Imaginary People: Crash-course in Costume Design
Difficulty: *
Teachers: E Rosser

Imaginary people need clothes, too! Whether they're on stage, on the screen, or from your favorite tabletop campaign, you can tell loads about a character from the costume they wear. Learn how to convey feelings through line and color, try your hand, and visit a working costume shop!

V8351: The Cinematic Coin: Technical and Artistic Sides of Film Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Abdi-Hakin Dirie

This class will dive into the world of cinema by focusing on filmmaking and film projection!

The filmmaking segment will take into account topics such as theme, narrative, aesthetic, and framing, among others. We'll watch a few short films (domestic and foreign) and then dissect them with topics we have just learned.

The film projection segment will take us into the realm of 35mm film. We'll look at different image and audio formats, the inner workings of a 35mm projector, predecessors to 35mm, and the future of film in theatres.

Each portion will take approximately half the time.


Prerequisites
An interest in movies, filmmaking, projecting, or a combination of the three!

V8284: Framing Light: Photographic Composition 101 Full!
Difficulty: *

Have you ever felt drawn in to a particular photograph? Has an image
in a magazine or a newspaper ever made you feel like you were part of
a story? In this class, we'll look at some photos we love,
thinking about how the photographers have used composition to tell a
story or bring the viewer to notice something previously unseen. Then,
we'll set out with simple cameras to photograph the world around us.
Finally, we'll look at the images that we have captured, and discuss
our own compositional strategies, what worked, and what didn't. This class will not focus on the technical aspects of photography.


Prerequisites
Interest in photography. Student should bring in two to three photos, from any source, that they particularly like.

V8248: Making art with outdated technology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Francesca Majluf

With the development of nano technology and the internet, stuff like CDs, VHSs (is that a video game or somehing?), Floppy disks (are those fish??), huge computer monitors and keyboards, etc. has no other place in this society but the dumpster... Or does it? Come and work on a beautiful art project that will give the ancestors of the stuff you stare at home for 3+ hours the retirement they deserve.


Prerequisites
Students need to be able to handle hot glue guns and scissors with care and responsibility.


Walk-in Activity

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W8383: Duct Tape Creations
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Annie LaBine

Come and make pretty things out of duct tape. I can show you how to make purses, flowers, wallets and more!

W8411: RISK (and assorted card games)
Difficulty: **

Come in and play RISK (TM) with us! We'll also be playing cards for the interested.

W8256: LN2 Ice Cream!
Difficulty: **

Do you like ice cream? Come see how ice cream can be made using liquid nitrogen, and learn why it tastes so much better than store bought ice cream.

W8407: Fun Science Experiments
Difficulty: **

SUPER FUN SCIENCE
-Do hands-on experiments including making your pennies as shiny as new, discovering chromatography of candies, and more!
-Ask us any question about science (and we'll try to answer!) or MIT

W8254: Chess Variants
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Elizabeth Berg

Monster chess, antichess, bughouse. There are a lot of games you can play with an 8x8 grid and a set of chess pieces. Come by and play anything you'd like ...except traditional chess! I'll bring instructions for common chess variants, but feel free to make up your own rules too!

W8274: Community Weaving at Spark!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Emma Breslow

Have you ever seen a tapestry and wondered how it was made? Have you ever wanted to learn to weave? Now you can! Come join us as we weave a community tapestry. Learn to weave shapes, patterns, or whatever else you wish. Experienced weavers are welcome as well!

Prerequisites: Two hands and a brain :)

W8294: Plushie Making
Difficulty: **

Because everyone loves plushies!

W8128: Giant Modular Origami
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Benjamin Kraft

Make giant modular origami using old ESP flyers!

W8269: Magic: The Walk-In Activity
Difficulty: **

Come play Magic: The Gathering! Please bring your own deck.

W8424: Yo-yo Basics!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: John Chow

Learn how to do some basic yo-yo tricks!

W8151: Nerdfighteria: Vlogbrothers Marathon
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Karleigh Moore

Come and watch seemingly endless John and Hank Green videos! You will laugh a lot and probably learn something new.

W8250: Action Painting!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Francesca Majluf

Give your brain a break from all those mathy and sciency classes and come do messy art! There's no room for careful painting here - just you, your hands, lots of paint, and a room covered in paper waiting to be filled with color!

W8356: Physics Walk-in Demos!

Come join us for demos in freezing things in a flash using liquid nitrogen, viewing magnetic fields with ferrofluids, and experimenting with non-Newtonian fluids!

W8167: Mutant Plushie Lab
Difficulty: **
Teachers: E Rosser

Create an army of mis-matched minions to unleash your vengeance on the world! Or, you know, just see what a teddy with an alligator head would look like. If you would rather play with Sid's toys than Andy's, this is the Activity for you. No prior sewing/gene splicing experience required.

W8251: Computer Science with Toys and Games!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Adam Gleitman

We're going to investigate some cool computer science concepts through some custom-designed toys and games. Investigate the answers to questions like these:

* How can a computer organize information so we can manipulate and access it efficiently?
* How can a computer solve complex problems?
* How can computers recognize patterns "intuitively?"

W8417: FORTS
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Emily TenCate

Come build your own personal fortress from newspaper and bedsheets! Don't think it's possible? You'd be surprised what a few trusses can do...


Miscellaneous

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X8213: Cake Decorating 101 Full!
Difficulty: *

An introduction to cake making. Students will be supplied a small cake with which to frost. They will be guided by detailed instruction and will learn how to sculpt rosettes, borders and leaves.

X8229: Learn your Way Around MIT!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ray Hua Wu

Learn your way around MIT! Take a tour in advance so you can find all of your Spark classes in time and learn some cool facts about MIT's layout.

X8277: Make Bubble Tea and Tapioca Pudding!
Difficulty: **

Learn to make delicious bubble tea (boba) and tapioca pudding! Don't know what that is? Come find out, and then eat and drink with us!

X8205: Pokemon Papercraft! Full!
Difficulty: *

Learn how to make awesome paper Pokemon, using scissors, glue and computer models!

X8259: A Preview of the 2014 Baseball Season
Difficulty: *
Teachers: James Rowan

The MLB season will have barely started, but that doesn't stop us from speculating about how it's going to turn out. Come talk about how you think your favorite teams and players are going to do.

X8147: History of The Beatles
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Karleigh Moore

Come and learn the history of one of music's most iconic bands--The Beatles! Be prepared to learn a bunch of otherwise useless trivia and listen to a bunch of great music!


Prerequisites
You will probably enjoy this class if you actually like The Beatles.

X8321: How to run your own Online Contest!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ahaan Rungta

Have you ever been in the competition environment, in sports or in a subject? For example, have you participated in a math competition, science competition, or chess competition? What would it be like to start one of your own and run the contest for the public online, free of cost? We will answer all these questions briefly in 50 minutes!

Although this sounds like a easy task, running and managing a contest of your own takes a lot of skill. There are many questions to ask, such as the biggest question in all of entrepreneurship - who is your customer?

How can you use the fundamental qualities of a good leader while running your own contest? Find out here!

X8211: Learn to Play Set!
Difficulty: **

Set is a super fun card game that uses visual picture cards to help you win! Learn how to play this fun game and challenge the other students!

X8214: Hard Times: Tips, Tools, and Tricks for Managing Hard Times (Adversity)
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Patricia Craig

Having a rough time in school, at home, or with your fiends? Whether a parent lost their job, a grandparent just died, parents are getting divorced, or not fitting in at school - - - life can get really tough. Every person goes through sometimes in their life when it gets really tough.

Learn how to get through the “hard times” in an easier way. Learn some tricks that great athletes, writers, entertainers, and others have used to succeed, to get what they want, in spite of some tough times.

We’ll discuss the essence of the books, “The Adversity Quotient”, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, and “The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook.” Additionally, some hints from Stanford Professor Michael Ray’s course, “Creativity in Business” will be discussed

X8219: Intro to Cooking
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zoe Snape

Learn how to make some basic recipes, like pancakes and bacon, homemade mac and cheese, and chocolate chip cookies. Impress your friends with your ability to feed yourself and get a head start on being self-reliant.

X8270: How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube Full!
Difficulty: **

That darn Rubik's Cube got you down? Don't know how to solve it but think that you can't be a full-fledged nerd until you can? Learn how!

X8148: A Brief History of Information
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Karleigh Moore

Are you interested in how technology helped to aid human communication and transmission of information? Have you ever thought about how technology changes the way that humans think and interact with the world? Come to this class to find out why that might be!

You will learn about the development of language, writing, the telephone and computers and what impact they had on human thought and communication patterns as it relates to information.

X8295: How To Navigate a City
Difficulty: *

Do you like doing fun things? Think you "don't have enough time"? We will teach you how to optimize your time! This class will teach you to find the optimal travel route on foot and/or using public transportation that you can use in any city, town, school hallway, crowded cafeteria, or jungle! Be ready to walk and/or jump. Maybe even somersault (optional).

X8249: Introduction to CSD Martial Arts
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Francesca Majluf

Choong Shim Do (The Way of Balance) is a Korean based martial art system founded in America. It is not a violent system or a system based on hurting the individual. CSD practitioners use the entire natural movement of their bodies to perform the techniques. In this class, students will learn basic hand and kicking techniques, and useful self defense tricks. And, at the end of the class, the student will be able to break his very own wooden board!


Prerequisites
Students should come in workout clothes.

X8357: Introduction to Firefighting
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Rachel Davis

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a firefighter? Running into burning buildings carrying and wearing hundreds of pounds of equipment, Riding in a firetruck, brush truck, ambulance, etc. Learn all about firefighting and fire safety from a nationally certified volunteer firefighter. Find out how to get involved and all about the awesome dangerous things firefighters get to see and do.

X8180: Drilling for Chocolate
Difficulty: **

Are you interested in how the petroleum industry works? How about chocolate, are you interested in that? Come learn how oil companies go about finding and drilling for oil by trying it for yourself. With a team of your fellow students, you'll be competing to get the data and find the oil without going bankrupt. Except instead of oil, you'll be drilling for chocolate. It's gonna be good.

X8287: Learn to Jumprope! Full!
Difficulty: *

Wounded Duck, Skier, Grapevine, Shuffle Bell, Scissor, Double Under, Crossover....What do all these words have in common?

They're jumprope tricks! Come wearing athletic shoes and learn about the wonderful world of jumproping.

X8296: A Brief History of Neopets (and/or the Online [Social] World)
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Luisa Kenausis

I played a lot of Neopets back in the day. A LOT. We can hang out and reminisce about the good old days before things like UCs, Zombie pets, and Ogrins even EXISTED.

If for some reason you don't want to listen to me talk about Neopets for an hour, I guess we can talk about the Internet at large: Omegle, chatroulette, kik, Instagram…we have friends we don't even *know* now! Like…whaaat?

If all that wasn't enough to pique your interest, there will be snacks!

X8268: Recyclable Fashion! Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Nicole Dube

How is the environment related to our fashion industry? How can we save our clothes, our money, and also save the environment?. Some things include: repurposing pants and skirts, old t-shirts as personalized free laptop cases and purses; the scraps can be used for jewelry and belts, and so much more! Please bring old clothing that needs to be fixed/hemmed or is too small - we have a limited amount to give out.

X8126: Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room or: Introduction to Social Dynamics Full!
Difficulty: **

Navigating a crowded party is like traversing a minefield. Engineering is about iteration, but in social engineering, you only have one shot to get it right. Learn how to get the conversations you need, use the conversations you have and hack any situation.

Results not guaranteed. Always add water.


Prerequisites
Must've had social interaction in the past, and should plan to have them in the future.

X8401: How to host
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Andrei Klishin

I like to have guests. I like to talk to people in my own private space. I believe in following the conversation dynamics and providing the appropriate complements.
I want to teach you a few of my rules of thumb on how to behave yourself receiving guests, how to serve them and how to enjoy yourself doing that.
Warning - this class involves consumption of delicious tea, chocolate and maybe cookies and cakes.

X8129: How to Start a Club in High School or Middle School
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zachary Marcone

Ever wanted to participate in something amazing that your school doesn't offer?

It happened to me twice. Most people will tell you to deal with it and be happy with what your school does have to offer. Not for me.

Come learn how you can shape your own educational experience in high school and middle school, come learn how to go about starting a club and actually succeed.

I will teach you what factors are necessary to start a club and how you can do it for yourself, drawing from my experience that I earned by starting two clubs at my high school.


Prerequisites
This class is not only for students who want to start a club. If you come to this class you will learn valuable life lessons about how to achieve your goals.

X8206: The Spark Rubik's Cube Olympics Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Carlos Cuevas

Ever wondered how to solve a Rubik's Cube? After a quick teaching on the matter, we will have a competition: Who's the fastest 7th-8th grade solver? Who leaves their competition in the dust? Who gets the gold? (This class targets beginners or intermediate cubers; advanced cubers will get bored during the lecture.)

X8422: Insects!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Davie Rolnick

Come learn about beetles with suction cups, ants that explode, and wasps that use metal-tipped drills! Find out why fruit is red and what the fireflies are talking about when they glow. Look at insects that pretend to be poop, insects that hide in poop, and insects that eat poop. In this class, we will see why insects are so interesting and, in many cases, beautiful.


Prerequisites
None

X8252: Dreamcatchers and Native American Mythos
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Megan Belzner

The dreamcatcher is a decoration hung above one's bed, which is designed to catch bad dreams in its web while letting the good ones pass through. In this class, we'll make dreamcatchers and learn a bit about Native American legends and traditions ranging from Pueblo feast days to stories of Coyote the Trickster.

X8257: Sabermetrics 101
Difficulty: **
Teachers: James Rowan

What makes a baseball player valuable? How do you compare pitchers and position players? How can the low-budget Oakland A's be so good?

These are the kinds of questions that sabermetrics, the scientific approach to baseball statistics, can answer. In this class, we'll see why traditional metrics like batting average and ERA can lie and try to build something better.


Prerequisites
Some knowledge of and interest in baseball would be useful to understand the context of what we're doing.

X8315: Cupcakery
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Kaylee Brent

Cupcakes might be small, but right now they are a huge thing! Everywhere you look you can see cupcake shops open. Not just bakeries, but bakeries specifically for cupcakes! People go and get certification in making cupcakes! Well, this class won't certify you, but it will certainly instruct you in how to decorate a cupcake and give you some sort of introduction to the weird world of cupcakes.

Also, did I mention you get cupcakes?

X8300: Gender Beyond the Binary
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ryker Reed

Like thinking about gender? Ever felt like male and female don't cover all the possibilities? Come learn all about the Gender Spectrum and all the different identities that a person can have that fall outside the Binary of Female or Male. We will talk about gender identity in society, in science, and in life. Come enjoy a fun discussion and bring your questions! No prior knowledge necessary, just respect and an open mind.

X8388: Intro to Rugby
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Christi Dawydiak

Come learn about the rules of rugby. Then, get some hands on practice with passing and touch rugby!

X8332: Linguistics Problem Solving
Difficulty: **

Do you enjoy unraveling logic puzzles, want to learn about other languages, or crave the feeling of a good riddle?

Come solve fun problems from the Linguistics Olympiads, NACLO and IOL!

A variety of languages, problem styles, and difficulty levels will be provided for you to solve. Logic and reasoning are your main weapon here – no prior linguistics knowledge required!

X8282: Introduction of Lightsaber Dueling and Stage Combat
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Christine Labaza

This class will cover proper stance and grip when holding a lightsaber, basic spins, how to strike, and how to defend. We will also teach basic choreography and impromptu dueling techniques. Students will also be taught how to construct their own duel, which they will have time to practice. We will also be available to critique and assist in creating and learning your own choreography. We have been teaching them for 3 years, and they’re super awesome!


Prerequisites
Good coordination and muscle memory, experience with weapons and martial arts experience is helpful

X8135: Psychology of Shopping
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Amy Estersohn

Have you ever wondered why cell phone cases are so expensive?

Or why there are about three or four different Amazon Kindle models or Kindle Fire models you can buy? Why not just one? Why not 10?

Or why adults love Apple the way tweens love One Direction?

In this class we'll go over common psychological mechanisms that companies use to make their products more appealing and compelling. We'll also discuss, if we have extra time, ways to counter-act some of these mechanisms?


Social Studies

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Z8118: Economics of Professional Sports
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jordan Ross

Economic ideas behind the business of professional sports and fun sport activities.

Z8360: Paradoxes of Democracy: Fair Elections and Voting
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephen M. Hou

What if, in hypothetical two-way races during the 2012 primaries, Romney beats Santorum, Santorum beats Gingrich, and Gingrich beats Romney? Is this even possible? (Yes.) What would then be a fair way to decide the "best" preferences of Republicans? 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.


Prerequisites
Comfort with arithmetic; interest in voting, political science, decision-making, and/or economics.

Z8178: Popularity and Social Dynamics
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Rebecca Li

What does it take to be popular? What characteristics make up charisma? Learn about it, get tips on improving your first impression, and what makes a cool kid on the block!

Extra time will be devoted to exploring pick-up.

Disclaimer: I do not represent a necessarily popular person, merely someone who has read books on the subject and find it interesting.

Z8349: Gender and Health
Difficulty: **

Learn about the difference between sex and gender, and how each impacts health and health care in the United States! For example, we will discuss how biological sex differences such as estrogen production protect women against heart disease, but the gendered history of biomedical research combined with gendered doctor-patient interactions make women less likely to be correctly diagnosed when they present with heart disease.

Z8217: Nonsense!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Megan Belzner

Explore words like "antidisestablishmentarianism" and sentences like those in Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" or Dr. Seuss's "Fox in Socks". Along the way you'll learn about many of the fascinating properties of language and get a chance to create some "nonsense" of your very own!

This class has been offered previously as "English that looks like nonsense (or vice versa)"

Z8397: The elementary forms of religious life
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Andrei Klishin

Have you ever thought why people started to believe into supernatural forces? What caused them to regularly gather for religious celebrations? Following the footsteps of the father of sociology Emile Durkheim we would discuss the reasons for emergence of most primitive religious beliefs, and whether the same logic applies to modern, much more sophisticated religions.

Z8312: Another Look at the Continent System
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ray Hua Wu

Have you ever wondered why Greenland is considered an island but Australia a continent? Come to this class to find out why your hunches were probably correct.