Spark 2022
Course Catalog


Filter Catalog by Grade:

Jump to Categories
Visual and Performing Arts Computers and Programming
Engineering Humanities
Mathematics Pop (and not-so-pop) Culture
Science Walk-in Activity
Miscellaneous Social Studies


Visual and Performing Arts

[ Return to Category List ]

A15000: History of France, Told Through Music Closed!
Difficulty: *

Come explore the last two centuries of France and classical music with us, told through pieces like Clair de Lune, Bolero, and Carnival of the Animals! No prior music study needed!


Class Style
Lecture

A15006: How to draw a mandala Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Krishna Manoj

Drawing mandalas is a fun way to relax your mind, let your fingers flow while creating a beautiful master piece. It can be a very calming and meditative experience. Join us to learn and appreciate the art of drawing mandalas. We would start off with simple mandalas, and slowly move to complex ones, and colorful ones. What's best of all, you don't need to have sophisticated artistic skills or talents to make a mind blowing piece of mandala art.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Interest in art and knowledge in using a compass and a protractor. You should come to class with white paper, pencils, eraser, ruler, and a few colored pens/pencils. A protractor and compass will be sent out to each student!

A14999: Branding and Consuming in the Emergent Design Marketplace Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Steven Faerm

In our current era of over-abundance where material needs are met (and often over-met), what are we really seeking from the products we buy? How are the new, emerging consumer behaviors that prioritize the emotional over the mere material and aesthetic altering the purpose of design and attendant design industries? In what ways will the attributes of ‘Generation Z’ affect the future design marketplace?

This presentation explores the fundamentals of branding, emergent consumer behaviors, and the future role of design and designers. Due to consumers’ increasingly nuanced emotional needs, designers must replace their traditional role as independent "style dictators"— in which they create product based on personal whims and biases in the hopes their work will appeal to consumers—with that of "designer-as-social scientist" whose research into consumers’ demographics and psychographics drive all subsequent design proposals. Following this introduction, several case studies will be presented and analyzed to illustrate key ideas about branding, ‘emotional value’ in design, and the future marketplace

This is a lecture presentation (not a workshop).
Presented by Steven Faerm, Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design.


Class Style
Lecture

A14998: From Stage to Stage: A Synthesis of Creative Disciplines Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Steven Faerm

The 20th Century gave rise to new and radical multi-disciplinary crossovers between performance and fashion. In that century, the traditional, rigid boundaries between these disciplines were dismantled by emerging avant-garde choreographers, performers, and designers who challenged the ways their audiences understood—and experienced—their work.

When and how did they crossover? What were the social, artistic, and political reasons behind this “blurring of professional worlds”?

This 40-minute lecture will explore this radicalization of each creative world and how today they are inextricably linked: the performing arts and the fashion runway. We’ll begin in the late 1860s, focus primarily on the 20th century, and conclude with today—a pivotal moment when there seems to be (at times) no division between fashion and theater. Are you watching a fashion show? Or a theatrical performance? Is there a difference?

This lecture is for anyone who loves learning about art history, fashion history, the theater world, dance performance, and costume design! Together, we’ll cover it all in this creative historical overview.


Class Style
Lecture


Computers and Programming

[ Return to Category List ]

C14992: Intro to Javascript (Beginners) Closed!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Andrew Richards

This course serves two purposes. Firstly, it aims to introduce coding to non-coders. Secondly, it aims to teach Javascript, a web development language. Ultimately, students will design a simple 2d game, while learning about the intricacies of Javascript.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
none.

C14930: Inside Java Closed!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Bil Lewis

We are going to have fun. We are going to explore all sorts of interesting aspects of Java, Java's implementation, Java's history.

I was not on the Java team myself, but all my friends were. So half of this course will be me telling you fun, interesting, curious events and quirks of my friends and why Java is what it is.

The class will open with an exploration of Java from Eclipse, using reflection interfaces. We will compare Java to Lisp and C and C++. We will continue on to consider type hierarchies, multiple inheritance, and primitives.

We will use the "Omniscient Debugger" to "go backward in time" to examine programs and understand their behavior.

The class concludes with an open discussion of anything the Students want to talk about.

You will leave the class with a solid understanding of:
- The basic design of Java and the JVM.
- How method dispatch works via both Classes and Interfaces.
- How Objects are laid out in memory, where Instance Variables are stored, how they are accessed.
- How Hardware Interrupts turn into Unix Signals, into Java Exceptions, and are handled.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Decent programming experience & familiarity with Java

C15022: Let's make a discord bot! Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alan Chen, Wenqi Ding

Learn how to make and host a public discord bot using python and replit.com


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Knowledge about python or another programming language is recommended

C14979: How to make an impact in your community using programming and design Closed!
Difficulty: *

Are you curious about HOW TO MAKE A GOOD IMPACT in the world? Do you have an app or website idea, but don't know how to get started? Have you ever wondered what engineers mean when they talk about "GOOD PRODUCT DESIGN" and "user research" and "WIREFRAMES AND PROTOTYPES"? Do you want to learn about design, engineering, and HAVE FUN?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above, this workshop is for you!!

Come join this class to get the 101 on product, engineering, and design -- and everything you need to make an impact with computers & programming. You'll learn about finding a real problem, how to do user research, synthesizing research into designs, implementing your designs and project, and finally putting your project out into the world.

We're excited for you to learn how to CHANGE the WORLD around you!


Class Style
Activity

C14959: PicoPlay Workshop: Program a Mobile Device! Closed!
Difficulty: *

Ever wanted to program your own games for your phone? Have a great idea for an animation you want to make, but aren’t sure where to start? Come make them with PicoPlay!

PicoPlay is an app that lets you make your own programs for your phone or another mobile device. Come learn how to use PicoPlay to make your own animated messages, interactive stories, mobile games, and anything else you can think of! Try out and give feedback on this free new creative coding app, currently in development at the MIT Media Lab. No prior programming experience needed.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Bring an Android phone, iPhone, or iPad to try it out


Engineering

[ Return to Category List ]

E14961: Making Your Own Water Filters Closed!
Difficulty: *

Interested in water? In this class, you will learn about different water treatment technologies and plastic pollution. By the end of the class, you will also get to leave with your own handmade water filter!


Class Style
Activity

E14919: How to be an Astronaut Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Michelle Lin

Since 2000, there have been people living in space continuously -- that's longer than you have been alive! Being an astronaut is certainly a dream for many, but less than 600 people in the history of humankind have been to space. If you would like to find out what it takes to become an astronaut, the challenges you'll face, or perhaps how you can help humans get to space, this is the class for you!

We'll discuss the history of space programs, the astronaut selection process, the challenges they face in space, and revolutionize your idea of what an astronaut looks like.


Class Style
Lecture

E14966: Geometry and Beauty of Soap Bubbles Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Harsh Bhundiya

In this class we'll learn about the geometry of soap bubbles. Did you know that soap films always take on a shape which minimizes surface area? And did you know that soap bubbles have inspired engineering concepts for structures in space? Come find out and have some fun blowing your own soap bubbles!


Class Style
Activity

E15008: Learn Rocket Science With MIT Rocket Team! Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jacob Rodriguez

You always see the phrase "it's rocket science" thrown around constantly, but when have you actually thought about what that is? In this course, you'll see the real mathematics, physics, and engineering involved with building an ACTUAL rocket engine! No dumbing down, no non-applicative simplifications: just hardcore rocket science taught in a way younger students can understand :)


Class Style
Lecture

E14980: How to Build a Solar Car Closed!

MIT’s Solar Electric Vehicle Team (SEVT) is faced with a unique challenge: design, manufacture, and construct a solar-powered vehicle from scratch to compete in a long distance endurance race. By long distance, we mean about 1,500 miles! Students from across disciplines come together to create a community of teammates and friends working to solve real-world problems with significant impacts. We’ll cover topics from the construction of our carbon-fiber aeroshell, to the arrangement of the 416 Li-ion cells in our battery, and to the machining of our custom steering system. Apart from engineering, members learn invaluable business and project-management skills by approaching this challenge from a higher level. Come check out how we build a solar car and how the car works!


Class Style
Lecture

E14997: How to build a spacecraft Closed!
Difficulty: **

Introduction to how to build a spacecraft, and what goes into planning for space missions. Overview of spacecraft subsystems, such as payload, power, structures, communications, software, etc.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
none

E14985: It's a materials world! Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Lisa Maiocco

In this class, we will learn about the fascinating world of materials science and engineering. We talk about the major specialties within materials, such as metallurgy, ceramics, polymers, semiconductors, nanomaterials. We touch on techniques and tools used by materials engineers. And talk about cool stuff and hot stuff!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None


Humanities

[ Return to Category List ]

H14993: Language Puzzles Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Hannah Parrott

Come try some linguistics puzzles! Language is full of some really fun puzzles that linguists get to explore. We'll work on some and talk about linguistics.


Class Style
Discussion

H15017: A brief history of Chinese Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ethan Lake

In this class, we will learn about the history of Chinese: how the writing system came to be and evolved over time, the battles fought between the northern and southern dialects, and how characters were nearly eliminated altogether in the 20th century.


Class Style
Lecture

H14981: Help Solve Climate Change! Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: John Gage

We know the technical changes needed for a relatively safe climate future: reduce human-made greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050 and reduce CO2 in the air below 350 ppm by 2100. We also know that when pollution is free, we get too much of it. Climate pollution is still free in most countries. The cheapest, fairest, and most comprehensive way to address our climate pollution problem is to fix the market's failure to account for it with a three-part solution:
Put a steadily increasing price on climate pollution when it enters the economy,
Give the money collected to the third party that is being harmed (all households equally), and
Use border carbon adjustments to protect US businesses and push our carbon price around the world.
A strong carbon price signal will incentivize efficiency, innovation, transition, and drawdown. Sending the cash back to households will protect purchasing power and let us achieve the high price needed. Complementary policies are also necessary, but this is our best first step.

It sounds so easy! What's preventing us from doing this? Is it possible to break the logjam and save ourselves? Can any of us do anything to help solve the most significant existential crisis human civilization has ever faced? Yes, we can.

Each of us can take effective action in this pivotal moment in humankind’s history. Ordinary citizens advocating for change is our last, best hope to avoid climate catastrophe. Let's get started right now!


Class Style
Lecture

H14995: Algorithmic Justice through Media Literacy Education Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: MELDA YILDIZ

This workshop investigates the role of Algorithmic Bias/ Injustice integrating new technologies such as Global Positioning System (GPS) while developing global competencies, geospatial intelligence, and computational thinking skills. It offers creative strategies and possibilities for eradicating myths and misconceptions in education. We will engage in a wide range of media literacy activities exploring geospatial and computational thinking skills. We will investigate alternative points of view on news, global issues, algorithmic bias, and social justice through media literacy education.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
N/A

H14931: James Madison on the Founding of the United States Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Bil Lewis

President James Madison would like to come to your classroom and lead a forum on the issues and debates leading to the establishment of this country.

From 1776 onward, as the United States came into being, James Madison was at the center of it all. With the assistance of audience members reading appropriate dramatic quotations from Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Dolly Madison, etc., he will lead investigations into events from the House of Burgesses, the Constitutional Convention, the “Dinner Party,” etc., that marked the coming of age of the United States.

More than a mere recitation of dates and facts, this will be an exploration the underlying reasons that prompted them to act as they did. Many of the issues they confronted then continue to be relevant today.

• Should we be one Country?
• What debts should be paid?
• Who gets the power of Taxation?
• Should a Private Bank issue money?
• Should we be agrarian? Or a center of manufacturing?
• How do we limit the influence of Great Corporations on our public life?
• How can we protect the Common Man from the rapaciousness of the Rich and Powerful?
• How do we eliminate Slavery?
• How do we make real the “Spirit of ’76?” So we can truly say that “All Men are Created Equal.”


Class Style
Activity

H14986: Deep Dive into Archives: Seeing, Smelling, Holding History Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Alona Bach, Di Wu

A cannonball from the Battle of Lexington. Isaac Newton’s alchemy manuscripts. A 1000-year-old doodle. In this interactive workshop, we'll take a look at historical curiosities from archives near and far, as we ask: What is an archive? What can I find there? What kinds of questions about the past (and the present) can an archive help me answer? And — last but not least — why does preserving history matter?

The workshop will culminate with a chance to contribute your own experiences to be preserved in a local archive.


Class Style
Seminar

H15019: Write A Poem And Talk About What The Living Do
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Lara Zeng

By the end of this class, you will have written a poem and talked about What the Living Do by Marie Howe, along with some other poems. We will discuss some important concepts in poetry. You might learn something new. You might feel something new.

You will also have the opportunity to share your own poem, receive feedback, and make poetry friends who you will cherish for a lifetime.


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
Must know how to read and think and laugh and pay attention deeply. All are welcome, regardless of experience. Come prepared to say things you believe!

H14896: Digital humanities: what's that all about? Closed!
Difficulty: **

New technology is providing exciting new ways for us to engage with the humanities, but too often people aren't introduced to how the two fields can meet. In this class, we'll look at three technologies that are being used to engage with the humanities - text analysis, virtual reality and 3D scanning - and we'll talk about how they're being used today and give them a go ourselves!


Class Style
Activity

H14991: Language and Brains Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Hannah Parrott

What's going on in your brain when you use language? How do children learn language so quickly? These are super exciting questions in linguistics. In this class, we'll explore what we know about language and the brain!


Class Style
Lecture

H14905: Norse Mythology! Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Daina Neithardt

We're going to take a look at Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, one of the most comprehensive sources on Norse Mythology! We'll talk a bit about the history of the Prose Edda and Norse Mythology, and then look at some of the most popular stories from Norse Mythology.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None :)

H14974: Worldbuilding Workshop Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Oomi Pammit, Noah Raby

Flying cars. Firebenders. Do you love fictional worlds that play around with "what if"s? Come learn about how to build your own fictional worlds!


Class Style
Activity


Mathematics

[ Return to Category List ]

M14936: pRoPoSiTiOnAL LoGiC Full!
Difficulty: **

You are at a crossroads. One path leads to free bubble tea. One path leads to an empty room with a one-way (shatter-proof) window through which you can see people drinking free bubble tea.
Two judgmental talking trickster frogs are at the crossroads. One only tells the truth, and the other only tells lies. You can only ask one frog one question.
Goal: Get free bubble tea with your new frog friends!
Material includes propositions, truth value, logical operators, truth tables, logic puzzles, tautologies, equivalences, arguments, rules of inference, and fallacies.


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
possession of a brain; this is an introductory class that doesn't require additional knowledge beyond what is covered in school

M15005: Information and the Redundancy of English Closed!
Difficulty: ***

What is information? How can we measure it? In this class, we'll introduce a way of quantitatively measuring information and use the tools we develop to discuss how redundant the English language is. We'll also see how to play Wordle strategically using information theory.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
You should know what a logarithm is.

M14989: A History of Number Systems Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alena Culbertson

Have you ever wondered why we write numbers the way we do? Come learn about the history of numbers, from tally marks to the number systems used by modern computers. We'll also work on some number-y puzzles and get a chance to think about our ideas for an ideal number system!


Class Style
Seminar


Pop (and not-so-pop) Culture

[ Return to Category List ]

P14984: Rapid (We Didn't Start the) Fire History Closed!
Difficulty: *

Like Billy Joel? History? Random facts thrown at you so fast it's impossible to get bored? Join us as we attempt to pack 40 years of history into an hour and fifty minutes as we run through every lyric in Billy Joel's classic song "We Didn't Start the Fire".


Class Style
Lecture


Science

[ Return to Category List ]

S14925: Turning up the Heat: A Crash Course in Heat Transfer Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Simo Pajovic

Heat transfer is everywhere. From our smartphones to our planet’s climate, the three modes of heat transfer—conduction, convection, and radiation—shape the world around us and the technology we use to solve our problems. But how do they work? What even is heat to begin with? In this course, you will learn the answers to these questions and more. Using a basic understanding of atoms and how they interact, we will learn about the physical nature of heat transfer and “carriers” of heat like electrons, phonons, and photons. Hopefully, students will walk away with a conceptual understanding of heat transfer and why it matters on length scales ranging from atoms to solar systems.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None. We will start from scratch, although a basic understanding of atomic structure would be helpful.

S14955: CRISPR: The Molecular Scissors Closed!
Difficulty: **

Did you all hear of genome editing? The term has been on the news since the 20th century and provoked both excitement and concerns among the broad public. The truth is, no matter how exciting on a scientific basis that seems, biologists have tried for a long time to edit the human genome specifically. It only happened during the last two decades that genome engineering came to the point of being carried out on real-life biological case studies and giving the possibility to target specific sequences and leading to the implementation of prime editing for curing diseases and engineering organisms. A breakthrough occurred when Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna were awarded the Nobel Chemistry Prize in 2020 for their discovery of “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats” technique. Join us in this fun presentation and learn the science behind this cool tool!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
basic middle school biology

S14967: It's a wave? It's a particle? It's a quanton! - Intro to Quantum Physics Full!
Difficulty: **

How can we be certain that anything, really… happens? Well, we can’t. We never could. However, we can predict how likely an event is going to happen using Quantum Physics! Believe it or not, the world of microscopic particles is very different from our macroscopic world and we are only beginning to understand it. If you feel that these ideas are a bit weird, don’t worry, Einstein did too! Come along on a journey with us into the world of Quantum Mechanics.


Class Style
Lecture

S15018: The Bacteriophage: The Virus That Could Save Lives Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Trisha Lopez

Antibiotic resistance is starting to become a big problem, but a virus could help save us. Yes, you read correctly, a virus. Not all viruses are harmful to humans. In fact, some can be beneficial to us. Like the bacteriophage, which can actually help us when we no other treatment works for a bacterial infection. In this class, we will learn about what antibiotic resistance is and how the bacteriophage could help save lives.


Class Style
Lecture

S15001: Wet lab: extracting strawberry DNA Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Silvia Cho, Michelle He

Have you ever seen what DNA of strawberry looks like? Do you want to have some early wet lab exposure?
We will be teaching about basic cell biology and the genetic code of life: DNA! After that, we will try to use common household supplies+some strawberries to perform a DNA extraction at home. Come learn some cool biology and do a fun hands-on experiment!


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Some common household supplies will be needed: dish soap, salt, ziploc, rubbing alcohol, coffee filter, toothpicks, fruits.

S14983: Fun with Polymers! Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Celestine Hong

In this class, we will talk about what polymers are, what makes them different from other smaller molecules, and what they can be used for! Half the class will be a mini-lecture, while the other half will be a panel session where students can select specific categories of polymers to learn more about.
There may also be a couple of examples/demonstrations of different polymeric materials used in food or biomedical fields - join us to learn more!


Class Style
Panel

S14994: Coastal Ecology Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Katie Kitzinger

Learn about the coastal ecosystems of the northeastern United States! We will cover a few types of coastal habitats, the difficulties species living there face and the effects of climate change on the health of the ecosystem


Class Style
Lecture

S15010: Biotechnology: How Does COVID-19 Testing Work? Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Trisha Lopez

You’ve probably taken a rapid antigen and/or PCR COVID-19 test before, maybe even multiple. But do you know how these tests even work? What is an antigen? What does Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) mean? How is a lab able to tell if you have COVID-19 from a quick nose swab? If you want to learn the answers to these questions… take this class! You will get a glimpse into the world of biotechnology by learning about how Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests and rapid antigen tests work to determine if someone has COVID-19.


Class Style
Discussion

S14963: How do we fight against COVID? Closed!
Difficulty: *

The COVID pandemic has caused a great many changes to daily life in recent days. In this class, we will describe how our immune system reacts against viral infection and how vaccines can be used to boost our immune response. Materials will be delivered through various formats, like case studies, discussion etc.


Class Style
Lecture

S14958: Ice Cream and Other Cold Things: Fun with Liquid Nitrogen Closed!

Come watch us use liquid nitrogen to shatter fruits and rubber balls, freeze bubbles, and levitate chalk!

We’ll be making liquid nitrogen ice cream (and you can follow along at home by substituting the liquid nitrogen with salt, ice, and elbow grease). Along the way, we’ll also explain the science of liquid nitrogen and show you a bunch of cool (get it?) demos!


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Ability to perform slight manual labor. Lactose tolerance preferred (optional, one of the instructors isn't)! :)

S14982: Optics for Aerospace Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Yun Kai, Eric Sung

In this course, we will give a brief overview of the optical systems used to survey outer space. We will focus on the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope and discuss what the NASA engineers had to consider when building a telescope to look further into the past than was ever done before.


Class Style
Seminar

S14893: FRUIT SNACKS!!!! with a side of some Biology Full!
Difficulty: **

Ever wonder what fruit snacks and your skin have in common? No? Well we have and the answer is collagen and crosslinking! Come join us in learning about the world of biochemistry and biomaterials and how special molecules like gelatin, collagen, and alginate can form gels that make anything from gelatin to the material that makes up a good portion of your own body! This class will also include a follow along demo of how to make fruit snacks. So if nothing else, come make fruit snacks with us.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
A introductory understand of biology and chemistry will be helpful but not required.

S14996: How to find Exoplanets Closed!
Difficulty: ***

Ever wondered if there's life outside of our solar system? Or if there's a planet outside of our solar system that we could live on? Look no further- this is the class for you! Well, actually, we'll talk about looking at planets that are even *further* than our solar system. This class will give a tour of the various types of ways we can detect exoplanets.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
excitement for the pursuit of knowledge

S14972: The Ballad of You and Your Brain Full!
Difficulty: *

Ever wonder why a song gets stuck in your head or why music can bring back fond memories? How our brains convert sounds into the deep, emotional experiences that music can give us is still unknown. This mystery will fuel us as we embark on how our brains help us experience music and everything it has to offer. Join us to learn more!


Class Style
Lecture

S15016: How (and why) to build a quantum computer Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ethan Lake

In this class, we will learn some basics about quantum computers: what they are, how people are trying to build them, and why physicists find them so interesting.


Class Style
Lecture

S15020: Ionizing Radiation: From Hot Rocks to Fusion Plasmas Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Amelia Cavallaro

Ever laid awake at night wondering 'so how did they figure out Uranium had all that energy in it?" Ever pondered "hm, maybe the contents of my smoke detector would be a tasty snack?" Wonder no longer, as an MIT nuclear fusion PhD student explains to you all the ways rocks that are just lying around can shoot electrons, photons, and who knows what else straight through your prefrontal cortex.


Class Style
Lecture

S14949: What is Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Manju Jain, Meena Jain

Do you want to learn what is DNA, and how do scientists make more DNA from a small amount of DNA? The technique to make more DNA from a small amount of DNA is called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This course will introduce polymerase chain reaction technique to make millions or billion copies of DNA from a very tiny amount of DNA in the science laboratory. You might be wondering why do we need to make many copies of DNA. The reason we need more DNA is that the DNA samples we get in the laboratory for testing is not enough.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
none

S14956: Fun with Immunology Closed!
Difficulty: **

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


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
NA

S14938: Nucleic Acids: The Symphony of Life Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Dien Nguyen

Not very long ago, when we watched health news, we often heard people talking about exercise, carbs, fat, and protein. Despite playing important roles in biological processes, nucleic acids have been the most overlooked group of biomolecules until COVID, when mRNA-based vaccines become essential in our effort to control the pandemic.
In this class, we will take a closer look at the two main classes of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and how they interact with each other to form and propagate life on Earth through billions of years.


Class Style
Lecture

S14971: Microbiome 101: What’s in your poop? Closed!

Come learn about the microbiome and where you can find it! We will discuss current methods to study the microbiome, correlations with diseases and the environment, and how you (and your poop!) can help somebody through microbiome science. Who doesn't love talking about poop?!


Class Style
Lecture

S14976: Is Eight Hours of Sleep ACTUALLY Enough? What Does Sleep Do for Us? Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: MaKenzie Carter

We are always told we need to get sleep every night but... why? What is our brain truly doing when we turn off the lights at night? In this course, we will illustrate the science behind our sleep with explanation of major concepts such as REM sleep and circadian rhythm. Plus, we will also cover what happens when we do NOT get enough sleep and the problems it can cause.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None

S14977: Introduction to Aging and Longevity Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ivan Duran

When we are young it often feels that youth lasts forever, but it ends sooner than we think. This course will focus on exploring putative biological causes of aging, discussing whether aging should be considered a disease, challenges to study aging, as well as the progress on developing interventions aimed at slowing or even reversing aging with the goal of preventing disease and improving quality of life at older ages.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None but basic biology will be helpful.

S15002: Is life about to get CRISPER?: learn the basics of genome editing! Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Matt Yarnall

DNA is the molecule that makes up your entire genome: the complete "instruction manual" that lives in every one of your cells and tells your cells how to make all the stuff (proteins, membranes, small molecules) that makes you, you! Scientists' ability to edit DNA (changing the genetic "instruction manual" in cells) has revolutionized our understanding of biology and created new approaches to the creation of medicines to treat all kinds of diseases. As a genetic bioengineer at MIT myself, I am excited to give you an overview of what genome editing is, the way scientists have actually figured out how to go into cells and change DNA sequences, some cool applications of gene editing for both better understanding biology itself and in creating new medicines, and some future directions in this field!

We will start with the basics, I will assume no-one in the class knows what DNA is. I will go over what DNA is, and how your cells use it to create essentially everything that makes you you. I will then talk about the way that scientists have discovered different small molecules called "proteins" that are able to change DNA in different ways; most of the time, we take proteins from bacteria and viruses that do cool stuff to DNA and try to figure out how they work. Then, I will talk about how we build small machines using several proteins all linked together to change DNA exactly how we want; in a nutshell this is what bioengineering is: engineering a biology to do what we want! I will conclude by talking about some of the work I have been involved in and some future directions in the field of genome editing! There will be lots of pictures, animations, and explanations; the aim will be to have fun and learn some cool stuff, don't be afraid to ask questions or come with them!

I'm happy to say this is my MIT 9th spark/splash; I started when I was in 7th grade, and spark was really what got me interested in science! Feel free to stay after class to ask questions about the class or about what a career in science might look like for you!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None

S14969: sticky situations Closed!
Difficulty: **

How do geckos climb walls? How could an octopus possibly open a glass jar, when I can barely do it? HOW IS THAT SPIDER ON MY CEILING??!

If you want to know the answers to all those questions and more, then this is the class for you! Learn the science behind the sticky things in nature, and watch it all in action in real live examples!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Don't register if you are arachnophobic, there will be spiders

S14962: A not-so-brief History of Particle Accelerators Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Christopher Pierce

X-ray lasers, a pipe cleaning ferret, transmuting a non-precious metal into gold. Come learn about the sometimes absurd history of particle accelerators. Just over one third of all modern Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry and medicine were awarded for work done at these devices. We'll start from the beginning in the early 1900's and make our to the present where modern day physicists are fighting to create beams with every greater energy and intensity. Along the way we'll explore some of the interesting physics which powers these devices and the modern day problems that face researchers using them.


Class Style
Lecture

S15023: Science and Economics of Climate Change Closed!
Difficulty: **

Climate change is always in the news, but what is the science behind how carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other human activities impact our climate? What are the economic drivers behind pollution and how successful has environmental policy been in addressing climate issues?

This class will give you a unique understanding of the climate change issue from a scientific and economic perspective. We’ll explore the acid rain problem and discuss what the success of the Acid Rain Program in the late 1900s century says about how different policy instruments can address environmental issues.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Some Chemistry helpful, but not necessary.

S14894: Humans working on the Moon: training and guidelines Closed!
Difficulty: **

Do you ever wonder where will you be working when you grow up?

In an office? Online in cyberspace? How about ... ON THE MOON?

This class explores the skills needed for lunar job applicants, and how you can start your training now.


Class Style
Discussion

S14946: Human Identification through DNA Typing Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Meena Jain, Ram Kishore

Human identification – specifically PCR and capillary electrophoresis
STR analysis  – evaluate genotypes, a set of genetic markers for accuracy from the technical artifacts
Applications – identify individuals based on their STRs and to find out the biological father of the child


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
none


Walk-in Activity

[ Return to Category List ]

W15029: Skribbl.io Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kate Lu

Come play skribbl.io for as long (or short) as you like!

$$\textbf{This is a walk-in activity; you can drop in and out of this class at will.}$$


Class Style
Activity

W15032: Wordle (and clones) Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: James Koppel

Come play Wordle and similar games and get really good at guessing esoteric words.

$$\textbf{This is a walk-in activity; you can drop in and out of this class at will.}$$


Class Style
Activity

W15026: How to Make a Latte Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Leviticus Norman

Come learn how to make your favorite flavored coffees. Pull your own shot of espresso and foam milk hot or cold. Fall flavors include vanilla, pumpkin spice, chai tea, salted caramel, peppermint, and chocolate. Nondairy options will be available.

$$\textbf{This is a walk-in activity; you can drop in and out of this class at will.}$$


Class Style
Activity

W14954: Figure Drawing Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Farin Tavacoli

Grab a pencil and some paper, we'll be free sketching different poses and gestures.

$$\textbf{This is a walk-in activity; you can drop in and out of this class at will.}$$


Class Style
Activity

W14987: Hand Letter with Me! Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Anne Gvozdjak

Come drop by to learn and do some hand lettering and calligraphy! Watch me work on book jacket designs and posters, learn some tips to improve your own calligraphy (snag some nifty printables and templates to download and use for yourself too), get advice on the best calligraphy pens, and chat with me about anything you'd like :)


$$\textbf{This is a walk-in activity; you can drop in and out of this class at will.}$$


Class Style
Activity

W15034: Early Morning Origami Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Brandon Pho

Drop in the morning and join us in learning how to fold constructs out of paper! Come relax, have some breakfast (not provided), and try to avoid paper cuts!

$$\textbf{This is a walk-in activity; you can drop in and out of this class at will.}$$


Class Style
Activity

W15035: How to Write Competitive Math Problems Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Matthew Benet

In this walk-in, come give suggestions for math problems! I'll write up a sample question, and we'll talk about what aspects to consider when writing similar problems.

$$\textbf{This is a walk-in activity; you can drop in and out of this class at will.}$$


Class Style
Lecture

W15030: Codenames Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: James Koppel

Play a board game of guesswork and word association with us! Codenames has two teams compete to guess the other team's secret words based on one word clues.

$$\textbf{This is a walk-in activity; you can drop in and out of this class at will.}$$


Class Style
Activity

W15031: GeoGuessr Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: James Koppel

Come help guess where we are in the world based on one picture!

$$\textbf{This is a walk-in activity; you can drop in and out of this class at will.}$$


Class Style
Activity

W15028: Firestorm Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Lisa Kondrich

Listen to as many rapid fire 5 minute talks as we can fit into the class duration! Topics encompass everything that we have expertise in.

$$\textbf{This is a walk-in activity; you can drop in and out of this class at will.}$$


Class Style
Lecture

W15033: Paint along with Bob Ross Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jessica Pan

I think this world would be a better place if we all spent a bit more time creating happy little trees <3

In this walk-in, I'll show a Bob Ross painting video and we'll all follow along at home! Use a piece of paper and some markers, fancy paints and a canvas, or a basic digital drawing tool - whatever you can find! Remember, the journey is more important than the final product :)

$$\textbf{This is a walk-in activity; you can drop in and out of this class at will.}$$


Class Style
Activity


Miscellaneous

[ Return to Category List ]

X14934: Modern Brush Calligraphy Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Xuan Ly

Learn the basics of modern brush calligraphy! Class will teach basic stroke patterns and letter formations. Get hands-on calligraphy practice and take home a brush pen!


Class Style
Activity

X14935: 20 New Ways to Tie Your Long Hair Full!
Difficulty: *

In this class, we'll show you a variety of different ways to updo your long hair using hair sticks (or pencil or chopsticks), hair claws, and possibly other hair accessories. Hair sticks and claws will be provided for demo.


Class Style
Activity

X14968: Intro to Puzzle Hunts Closed!
Difficulty: **

Puzzle hunts are a fun way to solve puzzles together with friends! The goal is to solve several puzzles that culminate in a final challenge, called a 'metapuzzle'. After a presentation teaching common solving strategies, you'll have the opportunity to work on a small puzzle hunt with others. You don't need any specialized puzzle-solving knowledge to participate.


Class Style
Activity

X14939: Intro to Business and Finance Closed!

So you’ve heard about finance... but what does that ~actually~ mean?
Come join our team of Sloan Business Club members to learn about general finance topics in an interactive 50-min session. After a brief lecture introducing you to the world of finance, you will engage in small groups with one of our members who will provide you with some tools to conduct simple analyses on potential investments.


Class Style
Activity

X15007: Yoga for You Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Varun Shekhar

Yoga is one of the eternal gifts that ancient sages of India have showered on the humanity. Your physical, mental and emotional well being is nurtured strongly to make you a better human being. Simple asanas and breathing techniques performed with consistency will keep your body in an excellent condition. Want to start learning this age old science? Come join, "Yoga for You"


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Your energy and enthusiasm! Keep your food very light before this class! A stomach full of food is not good to practice yoga. Wear comfortable clothes that don't hinder stretching your body.

X14947: Indian Cooking Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Manju Jain, Meena Jain

Teach how to make fresh Indian Bread


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
none

X14898: Planning Like a Pro: Learning to Bullet Journal Full!
Difficulty: *

Do you want to be more organized? Do traditional planners box you in? Bullet journaling is a do-it-yourself planning system that is customizable and has lots of room for creativity.

Bring a blank notebook or several sheets of paper, a pen, and a life to organize!


Class Style
Activity

X15025: How to Run a Spark! Closed!
Difficulty: *

Have you ever wondered what goes into creating a program like Spark? Come listen to directors past and present discuss what it's like to create Spark. We hope you enjoy our fiery class!


Class Style
Lecture

X14988: [Minecraft] Making a Virtual Museum Closed!
Difficulty: **

Learn how to build a Virtual Museum in Minecraft as you are taken on a tour through a recreation of MIT's East Campus dormitory.


Class Style
Lecture

X15004: Poetic Ink: Learn Chinese Calligraphy Closed!
Difficulty: **

Do you want to learn an ancient art form? Come join us in learning basic techniques in Chinese Calligraphy! We’ll take you from zero to hero, and by the end of the class, you’ll have the opportunity to create a special ink gift for a friend or family member. We will provide you with a brush, ink, some paper, and a fun time!


Class Style
Activity

X14975: Tournament Chess: Catch COVID By Being a Good Sport Closed!
Difficulty: *

Have you ever tried to play chess online? Wondered what competitive chess tournaments look like in-person? Want to trash-talk your opponents in the flesh? This class will teach you all about the tournament chess experience, pre and post-COVID!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Just an interest in chess--no chess skill is assumed, though the course might be more interesting if you have played chess online

X15021: Locked Doors Aren't As Secure As You Think Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Grace Cai, Matthew Cox

A locked door seems secure. Right?

Actually, it turns out that most locked doors can be bypassed in a variety of ways. We'll talk about some of the flaws in common door systems and give some practical demonstrations. Whether you've locked yourself out of your house or you're trying to get into your sibling's locked room, this class is for you!

Disclaimer: please use your discretion as to when you apply these techniques, and always follow the law.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Must have opened a door

X14952: Yoga For Beginners. Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Manju Jain, ANIL SHARMA

SUKHASANA - EASY POSE--There are some amazing benefits of Sukhasana. It spreads a sense of calm and peace through your mind and body. Your body alignment is improved. Practicing this asana helps elongate your spine.
PADMASANA- ( LOTUS POSE)--The Posture is a power packed hip and heart opener, with numerous physical and spiritual benefits. It is one of the best meditative poses.
VAJRASANA-(THUNDERBOLT OR DIAMOND POSE)-It Strengthens pelvic muscles by changing the flow of blood and nerve impulses the pelvic region. It improves the whole digestive tract, relieves
stomach disorders such as acidity and peptic ulcer.
KAPAL BHARTI-(FIRE OF BREATH) -It Helps in Weight loss,Mental Agility,Blood Circulation,Enhances beauty, Healthy body organs,Stress relief. It lights up your life.
TULASANA-(BALANCE / SCALE POSE)-Strengthens your arms, wrists, and upper body region. Makes your shoulders strong.
Relaxes muscles and calm the mind. increases the sense of balance. It includes tightening the abs and bring out a rigid stomach. The muscles of your abdomen are pulled up tight and thus lungs show sign of improvement.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Any one is eligible for taking this class. There are no prerequisites required for this class as the class is for Beginners.

X14990: How to Save a Life 101 Closed!

CPR is a tremendously powerful intervention for victims of cardiac arrest, the sudden loss of heart function that claims the lives of 475,000 Americans every year. Bystander CPR is an easily learned skill, and its immediate application in an emergency can double a victim’s chance of survival.
The number one cause of preventable death after injury is bleeding. Learning how to stop the bleed is simple and very useful knowledge.
Instructed by members of MIT EMS, the volunteer ambulance service at MIT, we will be teaching the essentials of hands-only CPR, Stop the Bleed, as well as how to recognize a stroke. Stop by and learn a skill that could save someone’s life!


Class Style
Lecture

X14910: High School Advice Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Vivian Hir

In this class, I will be sharing my high school journey and reflections about what went well and what I could have done better. I will share study methods and academic habits that benefitted me in high school as well as how I managed my time.


Class Style
Lecture

X14948: Yoga, Mantra, Meditation, and Deep Breathing Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Manju Jain, Meena Jain

Yoga for neck, shoulder, back, knee, and eyes.
Om chanting, mantra
Meditation for peace.
Deep breathing for stress.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
none

X14978: Adulting 101 Closed!
Difficulty: **

Let's learn stuff no one teaches in school but we're all expected to know in life. Who decided we needed to know what a debit and a credit is. Even worse, how do loans work? Let's unpack this together!


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
Come with loads of hypothetical situations and questions.

X14909: Digital Minimalism 101 Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Vivian Hir

Are you tired of staying up late because of your digital devices? Do you want to spend less time on the internet? You are not alone! In this class, I will talk about my journey with having a healthier relationship with technology. I will use sources from books I read about concepts like digital minimalism and deep work.


Class Style
Seminar


Social Studies

[ Return to Category List ]

Z15003: Good and Evil in Superhero Comics Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Clio Macrakis

What makes someone a hero or a villain? Who gets to decide what is right or wrong? In this class, we will read excerpts of comic books. We will discuss our own ideas of equality and equity and support our opinions with real-life examples.


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
No prior knowledge of superhero stories is necessary

Z14920: Introduction to Economics workshop Full!
Difficulty: **

J-PAL North America's "Introduction to Economics" workshop provides high school students with the opportunity to engage with the field of economics and understand how they can use economics as a tool for social change.

This workshop explores questions, including but not limited to:

*What is economics?
*How are my passions and the field of economics connected?
*What is it like being an economics student?
*What topics do economists study?
*What career pathways are available in economics?
*If I’m interested in economics, what should I do next?


Class Style
Activity

Z14902: Humans and Plants: A Love Story Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Eldar Urkumbayev

$$Ya like some ~jazz~ plants?$$
Since the dawn of humankind, we dwelled in, ate, and otherwise used the greenery around us.
You can distinguish red and green? Thank the plants. Enjoying that whole upright walking? Plants (probably) did that as well! Remember you chummed down two bags of popcorn when Moana came out? Plants can sing Maui's "You're Welcome" in response, rest assured :)
In less than an hour, we will go on a tour through time and space to explore how our sprouty friends shaped us, and how we changed them in return.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Know what evolution is, and general interest in plants

Z14970: A Historically Accurate Julius Caesar Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Leviticus Norman

The events surrounding the death of Julius Caesar have been portrayed dramatically throughout time. Have you ever wondered what really happened on the fateful Ides of March? I can tell you, and I can tell you how it lead to the death of a Republic.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Knowledge of the existence of the Roman Republic

Z15024: How Languages Work - Intro to Linguistics Closed!
Difficulty: **

Have you ever wondered how languages work? How do we put together sounds into words or words into sentences? Come and learn the basics of linguistics!


Class Style
Seminar