Splash 2020
Course Catalog


Filter Catalog by Grade:

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


Visual and Performing Arts

[ Return to Category List ]

A14381: Lucky Stars and Origami Charms
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Grace Cai, Laura Cui

Come learn to make lucky stars and turn your own paper creations into custom jewelry charms! No origami experience required. Access to printer and colored pens/pencils optional but helpful.


Class Style
Activity

A14245: The Future of Design, Designing, and the Designer: Creating Design Processes that Foster Design Innovation
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Steven Faerm

Have you ever wondered how artists and designers develop their innovative work? Do you want to become a better artist or designer by strengthening your creativity? What is “design process” and how can it be used to achieve maximum creativity?

This lecture analyzes undergraduate-level design projects that are remarkable for their inventive and innovative design processes — a critical stage that proceeds research exploration and precedes final design outcomes. This “middle-stage” is arguably the MOST important stage. It is when your playful exploration and experimentation will produce optimal creativity.

This presentation will show you how to innovate your own CREATIVITY through select examples. These inspiring methods may then be applied to your own art and design projects.

Please note, this is a lecture presentation and not a workshop.
Presented by Steven Faerm, Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None

A14244: Design It. Brand It. Love It.: The future of design for Generation Z.
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 these new, emerging consumer behaviors that prioritize the emotional over the mere material and aesthetic altering the purpose of design and design practices? 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 products 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 underpin 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 design marketplace

Please note, this is a lecture presentation and not a workshop.
Presented by Steven Faerm, Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None

A14255: Intro to Bollywood Fusion Dance
Difficulty: *

Come learn some fun Bollywood choreography with the members of MIT Mirchi! We'll teach you basic Bollywood steps with a fusion of some other dance styles, like hip hop, contemporary, and classical Indian. We love to dance and want to share our passion with you! No dance experience needed, just come ready to have some fun


Class Style
Activity

A14347: Voices of Years and Memories: The Lives and Music of Fanny Hensel and Florence Price
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Julian Gau

In the world of classical music, we tend to celebrate a narrow subset of the wide and diverse array of people who were creating and playing music. Specifically, a very white and male one. Let's talk about two artists: Fanny Hensel, a German pianist, composer, and sister to Felix Mendelssohn; and Florence Price, an American teacher, organist, and the first African-American woman to make it big as an orchestral composer.

We'll learn about their lives and music, and how their circumstances affected the art they created. Aside from words and pictures, there will also be live performances of their piano music. Finally, some important questions that bring us to today: whose music do we perform, and on a greater level, whose stories do we tell?


Class Style
Lecture

A14376: (Tiny) Paper Crafts
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Doreen Chin, Leslie Yan

Do you enjoy making tiny things out of paper? Have you ever wanted to make a pop-up book or make kirigami art? Are you simply intrigued by the prospect of doing any of these things? Come join us for this workshop-style, interactive class! Be sure to have some paper and scissors on hand :) Cutting mats, tape, and Xacto knives are helpful but not necessary.


Class Style
Activity

A14336: MIT Bhangra Workshop
Difficulty: **

We, MIT Bhangra, will be holding a workshop to let you all DANCE! Bhangra is a high-energy dance form and can be shown off to all your friends!

No dancing experience required!


Class Style
Activity

A14238: How to Dance to (Almost) Anything
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Lindsay Brownell

With enough practice, anyone can learn a TikTok dance, but how do you dance to a song that doesn't have a specific set of dance moves to follow? This interactive class will have you up and moving as we explore how to identify a song's rhythm, the fundamentals of moving to a beat, and simple moves that you can pull out whenever the need to dance arises! If you're looking to learn a formal dance like tango or salsa, this is NOT the class for you - this class is all about figuring out how your body likes to move to music, whether you're dancing alone in your bedroom or at a (socially distanced) party. This class is open to everyone regardless of dancing experience, gender identity, or physical ability.


Class Style
Activity


Computers and Programming

[ Return to Category List ]

C14178: Introduction to Verification with Dafny
Difficulty: **

After writing your perfect program, you suddenly find out it has a mysterious bug. You trace the program line by line, run dozens of tests, and realize it's unclear what the code was supposed to do in the first place. Does this sound familiar?

Introducing: formal verification! With formal verification, you can ensure that your program has the desired properties without writing a single test. No more frustration over missing edge cases, unclear program descriptions, and changing every line of code just-barely-so in hopes to find and fix the bug at random. Formal verification is here to help, and it can be automated, too.

Dafny is a web-based automated verification tool that allows you to write your program directly in a web browser, specify very clear constraints (using assert statements and loop invariants, among other things), and run the verifier. If your code adheres to the constraints, Dafny will finish with 0 errors. However, if Dafny finds an issue, the line of buggy code will be underlined. The tool and the tutorial are available online completely free, so you could keep experimenting even after class is over. The class will be taught as a short introduction followed by hands-on exercises in Dafny, no set up required. Change your life and discover formal verification today!


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
basic programming

C14355: Internet Privacy 101
Difficulty: **

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING.

Governments across the world, tech companies, advertisers, fraudsters, scammers—they're all doing their best to track your every step on the Internet. Some of them want to "increase consumer engagement". Others want to "monitor criminal activity". All of them want to infringe on your Right to Privacy.

In this class, you'll learn how to protect your privacy online. You might be surprised at how easy it is to get started. Although we can't guarantee complete freedom from surveillance, by the end of this class, you'll know much, much more than the average Internet user about how to easily and *legally* reclaim your Internet privacy.

We'll also send out an extensive list of resources after the class that you can share with friends and family, as well as a free ebook about digital privacy and surveillance!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None at all. No programming experience required!

C14176: An Introduction to Programming Languages
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Sameer Pai, CJ Quines

From Python and C and Haskell, to Java and Rust and Pascal, to Fortran and Perl and APL,

…from declarative and functional, to imperative and intentional, to object-oriented and procedural,

…from analyzing and parsing, to syntax and compiling, to semantics and typing, we'll talk about it all.

This class is a whirlwind tour of programming languages, their history, how they work, and how they differ from each other.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
You'll get the most out of this class if you know at least one programming language.

C14311: Minecraft Fires, Social Networks, and Quantum Complexity
Difficulty: ***

Can we write a more efficient algorithm for fire propagation in Minecraft? What does it have in common with social movements, disease spread, and quantum complexity? Ideas in complexity theory manifest themselves in diverse, seemingly disconnected systems that come together to form a beautiful picture of how the universe functions. We’ll be giving a whirlwind tour of this exciting subject and connecting the dots between the disparate fields of computer algorithms, physics, and social science.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Some mathematical and programming maturity is helpful but certainly not required.

C14275: brain****
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chris Viets

Have you ever wanted to code using only 8 keys on your keyboard? If so, brain**** may be the perfect programming language for you. This class will teach you everything there is to know about esoteric programming languages like brain****, which, while impractical, are fun and challenging to work with.

We'll take a look at the theory behind esoteric programming languages, and we'll answer questions like, "What does it mean for a language to be Turing complete?" and "How do you create a programming language?" and "Why would someone put pineapple on pizza? Seriously, who thought that was a good idea?". After that, we'll study one language in particular: brain****. We'll take a look at the history and theory of BF, then attempt to code in BF ourselves! If time allows, we'll explore other esoteric programming languages more closely as well.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
You will do a little bit of coding during this class; basic coding knowledge helpful but not required.

C14200: From Zero to One - Deep Learning with PyTorch
Difficulty: ***

Deep learning is powering everything from AI assistants to autonomous vehicles with many of these built using PyTorch. PyTorch is a python library that is used by the world's leading experts in AI to build some of the most amazing applications at scale. Join Joe Spisak and Francisco Massa from Facebook AI as they take you from the very basics of deep learning and neural networks to using cutting edge computer vision algorithms to build your own applications. No cloud knowledge or complicated setup will be required as we will be using Google Colab which provides free GPUs and interactive Jupyter notebooks for everything we will do. You can learn more about PyTorch at pytorch.org. Cheers!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Basic programming with python; Some understanding of calculus would be helpful; and an open mind and thirst to explore!

C14375: How to Get Stuff on The Internet
Difficulty: **

We're going to be teaching an introductory class to making your first website, only using tools that are free and often open source. If you've always wanted a personal website or needed websites for your projects, this class can give you the inspiration and direction to get started.
If you want to learn how to put stuff on the internet quickly and without hassle, come hang out with us as we show you how to do it.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Knowledge of Git, HTML, and CSS is helpful but not required.

C14243: Data Visualization in R
Difficulty: **

Data visualization is SUPER important!!

(But what is it exactly?) In short, data visualization aims to take a big chunk of information and turn it into a picture-- AKA, an understandable, visual narrative to show trends and make generalizations. Data visualizations are everywhere--news, textbooks, social media infographics-- so the ability to create, interpret, and critique them affects how we understand the world around us. The way an author chooses to present a certain set of data can completely change the way we think about it!

We will look at several real-life case studies and decide whether data has been presented effectively. We will also introduce the programming language R, which has many applications in the world of data visualization and statistical computing! By the end of this class, you will be better equipped to critically analyze data visualizations and have the skills to create some of your own! No previous experience in programming or statistics is required.


Class Style
Lecture

C14327: Who is Bobby Tables? Exploring Security with XKCD
Difficulty: **

What makes a "good" password? Can you *really* explain recent security vulnerabilities in comic panels? And who is Bobby Tables?
Join a software security engineer for a discussion of some computer security topics, loosely guided by Randall Munroe's XKCD comics (such as https://xkcd.com/1820/).
We'll cover SQL injection (and other code injection) attacks, passwords (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and why older bugs like Heartbleed are still relevant today, plus additional topics as time permits.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
While this class is intended to be accessible to students with little or no technical background, those with some programming or other technical experience may find they get more out of it.


Engineering

[ Return to Category List ]

E14142: Sketching for Product Design
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Charlene Xia

Learn to sketch skill for product design.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Paper, Pencil, Color Marker

E14299: How Does a Solar Car Work?

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 2,000 miles!

Come check out how we accomplish such a task and how a solar car works! We’ll cover topics from the construction of our carbon-fiber aeroshell to the arrangement of the 416 Li-ion cells in our battery to the machining of our custom steering system. The team is excited to meet you:)


Class Style
Lecture

E14370: Robots with Legs - How to Make Them Walk & Run
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Matthew Chignoli

Robots that can walk and run are no longer just ideas for science fiction movies. They exist and have the potential to make the world a safer, cleaner, and better place.

In this class, we will cover basic concepts about walking and running for humans and animals and then discuss how these concepts relate to robots. We will compare animals/robots with 2 legs versus 4 and the challenges and benefits that each design offers. We will review some of the most popular legged robots seen on the internet and discuss how the designers get them to walk and run. Hopefully, after this class you will have learned (1) why walking and running is a useful capability for robots and (2) how robots “think” about walking and running as they are doing it.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Watch some cool videos of robots walking and running (suggested: Boston Dynamics Spot Mini and Atlas robots)

E14186: Intro to Analog Transistor Circuits
Difficulty: ***

Have you ever heard of transistors? Do you want to learn what transistors do and how to use them in circuits?

In this class, we will go over how transistors operate and how to use them in some common analog circuits. You will learn how to design and analyze several types of transistor-based circuits, such as single-transistor amplifiers, differential pairs, and cascodes.

We will consider parameters such as gain, input/output resistance, and frequency response. As time allows, we may move on to topics like temperature sensors, current mirrors/active loading, translinear circuits, op-amp architectures, or analog/digital converters.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
A solid understanding of circuits will be essential. In particular, we will assume that you are very familiar with the following: $$ * Circuit schematics * Kirchhoff’s laws * Ohm’s law * Capacitors and RC circuits * Norton & Thevenin equivalent circuits * What op-amps do and how they’re used in a circuit * You will get more out of this class if you have seen AC circuit analysis before (e.g. small signal analysis, intuition about frequency response of inductors and capacitors, etc.). * You should know calculus. In particular, familiarity with derivatives is essential. $$

E14342: Fusion Energy: Recreating the Sun here on Earth
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Abtin Ameri

The Sun has been burning for 4.6 billion years, and will continue to do so for roughly another 5 billion years. How is it able to sustain such a process for so long? The answer is: fusion!

If you want to understand how exactly the Sun is powered, or if you are curious to learn more about fusion energy, or if you want to know how a fusion reactor works, then you should attend this course!

This course will cover everything relevant to fusion energy, from how it powers stars in our universe, to how we are trying to achieve it here on Earth.

The course will go over some physics concepts relevant to fusion, mainly plasma physics and some nuclear physics. From there on, we will delve deep into various designs -- such as magnetic confinement fusion and inertial confinement fusion -- that are currently being explored in order to make fusion energy a reality.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Elementary knowledge of physics should be sufficient.

E14270: Yeeting Rockets
Difficulty: **

Interested in rocket science and sending giant hunks of metal, carbon fiber, and explosive chemicals into space? MIT's rocket team has got you covered with an introductory lecture into the science behind yeeting rockets. We will cover some of the physics, chemistry, and engineering principles behind building rockets that go into space. We will also teach you about how you yourself can get started on the journey of becoming a rocket scientist and even how to start building your own rockets!


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
Some introductory physics knowledge is preferable but not required.

E14147: Nano Satellite - Project and Design
Difficulty: **
Teachers: marcelo anjos

Nano Satellite projects aims at designing, production, installation, launching, tracking and using the data of working nano satellite. The two basic structures used for nano satellites are cubical and hexagonal. We begin presenting an overview on nano satellites, their advantages over conventional satellites. We include the structural layout and design of a hexagonal shaped nano satellite, the thermal conditions that it has to bear at the LEO and the different kinds of materials suitable for its construction.


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
Nothing

E14306: Introduction to Microfabrication
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joy Cho, Matthew Yeh

Have you ever wanted to build things on an atomic scale, or wondered how Intel and Samsung mass-produce the tiny electronics in their chips? Do you just think "nanotechnology" sounds cool? Then this is the perfect class for you!

Topics include semiconductors, photolithography, thin-film deposition, ion implantation, etching, and transistors. As we cover more topics, we'll break into small groups where you'll have the chance to talk to your peers and figure out how you would put these steps together to build actual devices!


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
basic chemistry, physics helpful but not required.

E14195: Explore Aerospace: Mission to another World!

Learn how to engineer a mission to another planet! Students will be split into missions to Venus or Mars and guided through the design process for a space mission. MIT Aero Astro graduate students will lead the teams, teaching students about mission requirements and subsystems.


Class Style
Discussion

E14146: Practical in Humanoid Robotics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: marcelo anjos

Mounting.
Programming.
And executing a created choreography dance with humanoid robots


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
Nothing

E14193: Where does your electricity come from?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Andrew Lopreiato

Electricity just comes from the outlet on the wall, right? Sure, but there's a lot that happens before that.

This class will bring you through the basics of the primary methods of electric power generation used in the US, including both the traditional sources (fossil fuels) and some new and growing ones. We'll compare them on metrics like efficiency, capacity factor, cost, environmental impact, and more. We'll compare what the mix of sources looks like now to what it might look like in the future.

This class will introduce a bit of engineering thermodynamics, but it won't be a super math-heavy class. The main focus will be on the concepts.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Basic understanding of what work, energy, and conservation of energy are. Having taken a physics class before would be helpful.

E14160: Introduction to CMOS
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Maitreyi Ashok

Ever wondered how all those electronic devices you have work? This class will start with explaining the basic building block of most of these - the MOS transistor. After understanding these, we will zoom out and look at how we can use these building blocks to represent digital logic and use them for practical applications.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Basic understanding of what an atom is. A basic knowledge of voltage and current would be helpful, but will also be explained.

E14164: Idea Realization with Arduino and Rapid Prototyping
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Fangzhou Xia

Do you have a cool idea that you have been thinking for a while but not sure how to realize it? With the development of modern technology, a number of rapid prototyping techniques such as 3D printing are within the grasp of hobbyists. Microcntrollers can be used to add intelligence to your project with easy programming. This course show you the tools to realize cool ideas even if you are not a trained engineer,


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Basic programming knowledge preferred, any language would be OK


Humanities

[ Return to Category List ]

H14350: Intro to JSTOR (and some other research tools)
Difficulty: **

Do you ever have a question you want answered, and for whatever reason Google isn't scratching your itch? Do you want to be able to search archives of scholarly work? In this class, I will teach you how to use the research utility JSTOR, alongside some other useful tools for research; I will also go over how to even read a research paper. While this class is aimed more in the humanities direction (that's where I've been trained, largely), the skills should also carry over to reading scientific papers, if that's more your thing.


Class Style
Seminar

H14232: Assessing Arguments For God: A Crash Course in Counter-Apologetics
Difficulty: *

We'll describe and critique several of the classic arguments for religious claims, as well as discuss the role of religion in our society today.


Class Style
Discussion

H14230: Chinese Dynasty Crash Course
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Vincent Fan, Wayne Zhao

Learn about n chinese dynasties in 2n minutes! This will be a roller coaster ride through every Chinese dynasty, from the semi-mythical Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors all the way up to the Qing dynasty. The catch? We will spend equal time discussing every dynasty, such as the renowned Han and Tang, but also the lesser-known Southern Chen.


Class Style
Lecture

H14169: Making deep friendships - Circling
Difficulty: *

Most of your Splash classes will be about objects and things. Some of your conversations will involve personal history, where you grew up, what you like and dislike. This class will be a third kind of conversation, about what our present experience is, as we're having it.

Access to this level of conversation has a way of facilitating deep connections where you can feel deeply seen and welcomed. Circling is a practice about getting others' worlds, sharing what it's really like to be you, and having that be seen and reflected. Come experience the magic.


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
Openness to talking about your emotions and present in-the-moment experience. Willingness to have your webcam on for the whole class and to participate verbally.

H14166: Crash Course on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Difficulty: *

What is the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict? Why did it start, why does it continue and will it end? This course seeks to answer all of these questions by looking at history from both perspectives.


Class Style
Lecture

H14206: The Digital Global Health Crisis: Social Media and Mental Health
Difficulty: *

Our news, friends, and lives, are on social media platforms. Protests, elections, conspiracy theories, and more are influenced, perpetuated, and catalyzed by social media. How do we address social media as a global health crisis, particularly in the context of mental health and public health? Come learn about how Instagram manipulates your brain chemistry, Facebook struggles to prevent "infodemics," TikTok sells tweens' attention, and strategies to protect ourselves.

---
Want to learn more about global health? Check out MIT Global Health Alliance's other Splash classes: Systemic Racism in Healthcare and Social Determinants of Health, and Defining Global Health in 2020.


Class Style
Discussion

H14165: Ireland Uncovered: The American Irish
Difficulty: *
Teachers: H. Alexander Chen

This course will emphasize the influence of the Irish diaspora in America. The lecture begins with the mass immigration caused by the Great Famine in Ireland and examines the communities and impacts of those Irish immigrants in America. It will assess the social and political influence of American Irish communities in the rebellions, revolts, and revolutions that led to the establishment of independent Ireland. The overreaching idea is the strong ties between Ireland and the United States throughout history.

Topics include the potato famine, cultural memory, Irish communities in America, the Young Ireland Movement, the Fenian Brotherhood and the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and the Easter Rising of 1916. If time allows, the course will address the cultural significance of St. Patrick's Day and late generation Irish identity in America.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None. However, students who have taken courses under the title "Irish Presence in America" at any ESP Program should not register for this course due to overlap of content.

H14175: Should /r/Shoplifting be banned? and other questions
Difficulty: **
Teachers: CJ Quines

What can be posted? Who decides?

The recent months have showed us how much social media can influence elections, incite violence, and increase misinformation. The solution should be moderation. But this often stands at odds with promoting free speech, making moderation unbiased, and commitment to consistency. We'll discuss case studies of how Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit dealing with controversial content, and analyze whether they made the right calls or not.


Class Style
Discussion

H14322: Random Facts about Communist Countries
Difficulty: **

Did you know that Fidel Castro's favourite cow holds the world record in milk yield on a single day? That Burkina Faso vaccinated 2.5 million children in one week under Marxist rule? That an interview broadcast on Soviet TV revealed, with evidence, that Lenin was actually a mushroom?

Come learn about intriguing things that happened in the communist world that you'd never find in a history book!

This class does not endorse any political ideology, and won't be a comprehensive history lesson but just a bunch of miscellaneous facts. Since we're at MIT, we'll be particularly interested scientific/technical topics among others.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None, but a standard knowledge of 20th century history/geography may make it more entertaining

H14239: The Persian Wars 500-480 BCE
Difficulty: **

This lecture-based course will be on the legendary David vs Goliath conflict between a coalition of Greek City-States lead by Athens and Sparta against Persia, the largest empire the world had ever seen.


Class Style
Lecture

H14240: Peloponnesian War: Athens VS Sparta. The Greek World Wars. 431-404.
Difficulty: **

This lecture-based class will cover the great war between the city-states of Athens and Sparta. Essentially the Greek World Wars, this Peloponnesian War lasts over 30 years and has lasting impact on the future of Greece. In this conflict, both Athens and Sparta control half of Greece, and the winner has the opportunity to become the first ruler over a united Greece.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None.

H14366: Model United Nations conference - An Overview
Difficulty: *

MIT MUNC is a very happening student group that organises Model UN conferences for high school kids in the US as well as China. Our other goal is to increase awareness among the public about what MUN is, what benefits one can get if they participate in MUNs, and how enjoyable the whole experience is. Along with informing you guys about these aspects, we will also do a real debate in class after going through some basic MUN procedures on a fun topic. Hope you are hyped!


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
None at all, everyone is welcome!

H14241: The Second Carthaginian War: Rome and Hannibal
Difficulty: **

This course is a lecture covering the famous Second Carthaginian War (and a quick summary of the first), the famous conflict between Rome and the Carthaginians.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None

H14242: The Greco-Roman Wars
Difficulty: **

This lecture-based class will cover the Romans (fresh after fighting Carthage) clashing in the East with the successors of Alexander the Great. The West collides with the East in a series of wars that will shape the Greek world for centuries to come. The winner of this will become the undisputed ruler over the entire Mediterranean, from Portugal to Palestine.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None

H14356: The Art of Riddling
Difficulty: **

You're in the palace of an Ancient and Powerful King, and the Master of Knowledge has just asked you an artful riddle to test your worth. You're smart: you deliver an impeccable answer in seconds. Of course, it is but courteous to return the exchange by posing a riddle of your own... oh. You don't know any. Now what?

It has to be challenging, but solvable. It has to be majestically poetic, but not cringy. Its lines should resound in the halls and minds of the palace and thrust an irresistibly fascinating mystery upon them.

Come learn the Art of Riddling.


Class Style
Seminar

H14154: President Madison on the Founding of the United States
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Bil Lewis

With the assistance of students reading appropriate dramatic scenes as Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Dolly Madison, etc., we 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.”

The class tends to be noisy and raucous, as there are numerous requirements for Huzzahing and Yelling and Singing the songs of the age. History was loud, so we have to be loud, too.


Class Style
Discussion

H14339: Philosophy of Science
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Abe Levitan

What is the essential scienceness that makes science scientific? Answering this question is not straightforward. Yet our answers - individually and as a society - impact how we value scientific work and even how scientists view their own research. In this class, we will discuss two famous perspectives - from Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper - on the question, "what makes science sciencey?". Finally, we will consider how our own answers to this question influence our views on what scientists should be doing, what they shouldn't be doing, and what they actually do.


Class Style
Seminar

H14358: the Ideologies of Korra
Difficulty: **

In this class, we will use the show Legends of Korra as a medium through which to discuss the Ideologies and Historical Context of the Villains, and so of early 1900s political philosophies. Through which, we will discuss what ideologies are represented faithfully in the show, and which ones are less so, to put it mildly. Topics to be discusses include Socialism, Anarchism, the Red Scare and J Edgar Hoover, and some methods of "close reading" and critical analysis that you can use to be a better consumer of media!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
You should have seen all four seasons of Korra, or be prepared for spoilers---we won't pull any punches, spoilers-wise


Languages and Literatures

[ Return to Category List ]

L14233: Thai Language, History and Culture
Difficulty: **

This course is an introduction to Thai language, history and culture. Why am I teaching this? Because I'm born and raised Thai and I'm proud of it! Not many people *actually* know about this country and people, outside of the beaches and occasional puns about our names and our place names. Come to learn the idiosyncrasies of our language and stay for more Thainess!

This is pretty much the same as last year's course, so if you were here last year I'd recommend the other Thai course I'll be teaching!


Class Style
Lecture

L14234: Thai II: Electric Boogaloo
Difficulty: **

With me last year, registered for "Thai Language, History and Culture", or already have some knowledge about this Pad-Thai loving, scorching country? Come explore even more of Thai language including orthography, evolution and vocabulary, phonology (or lack of), and syntax! If time permits I'll also do an AMA about Thai language or Thai people or Thai history or me!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Thai Language, History and Culture would be great ;)

L14380: Close Reading in the World
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Leslie Leonard

This class employs the same tools that we use to closely read and engage with literature in order to closely read and engage with the world around us. Using advertisements, newspaper headlines, clips from popular television, and so on, this class shows how the skills and critical thinking of close reading, paying attention to detail, and acknowledging the audience/tone/goal/etc. of a piece helps us to interpret the world around us. Starting from the belief that our perspectives are built from the media we consume, the language we use, and the representation that we witness, this class lays bare how interpretation and close reading are part of our everyday lives as consumers, global citizens, students, and so on.


Class Style
Discussion

L14177: Invent a language!
Difficulty: **

Are you fascinated by languages? Do you ever wonder what went into making the languages in Star Trek, or the Lord of the Rings?

Come learn how languages work and the cool stuff they do with sounds, words, structure, and much more - and build your own language along the way!


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
Know at least one language (note that English is a language)

L14273: Wonders of Ancient Chinese Literature
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Yiming Chen

Read, translate, and analyze ancient Chinese poetry (古诗) and prose (古文). Learn about the history behind Chinese literature. Practice your pronunciation and conversation skills. It's gonna be lit! :)


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
Some background in Chinese and an interest for more!

L14341: Star Tales: Mythology Behind the Constellations
Difficulty: *

The night sky is full of stories that are as true to human experience today as they were two thousand years ago. Come learn about the myths and stories behind major constellations - and maybe even a bit of astronomy!


Class Style
Lecture

L14219: Introduction to Esperanto
Difficulty: **
Teachers: CJ Quines

What's Esperanto? It's the most widely spoken invented language, actively spoken by around 200,000 people all over the world.

It's really easy to learn! You'll learn more Esperanto in this hour than you'd learn German in ten hours. By the end of the class you'll be able to form basic sentences in Esperanto.


Class Style
Lecture

L14305: Make Your Own Language
Difficulty: **

Glidis, O studans! When you pick up a fantasy or sci fi novel, do you flip to the back to look at the glossary for that alien language? Do you think the world would be a much better place if there were one, neutral, easy-to-learn language that we all could speak? Maybe you've made a code or cypher for you and your friends. Or maybe you think language is too imprecise and really wish there were some unambiguous way of communicating. If any of these statements describe you, congratulations! You might just have what it takes to be a conlanger, someone who makes languages, for fun (and for profit!). In this practicum, we'll create our own language, for fun (not for profit!), learning some interesting facts about conlangs and linguistics along the way.


Class Style
Activity

L14308: Oracle Bones to Spoken Tones: Comparative Linguistics with Mandarin Chinese
Difficulty: *

Join us for a fun hour and a half as we dive into the evolution of the Chinese language! Through various ~*engaging*~ activities, we’ll learn about how Chinese characters came to be and compare it to the development of English. We’ll explain what you need to know along the way, so you don’t need to know anything about linguistics or Chinese!


Class Style
Seminar

L14251: Magic Systems in Fantasy Stories
Difficulty: **

We'll spend a good chunk of this class exploring how magic is presented in a variety of books and movies, after which we will see about constructung our own, either individually or collectively, as the class prefers.


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
Must love fantasy stories!

L14279: In Your Own Words
Difficulty: *

"Twas brillig, and the slithy toves/Did gyre and gimble in the wabe..."
Why is it that when Lewis Carroll writes a bunch of nonsense like $$ \textit{Jabberwocky} $$ he gets called a visionary, but when I hand in my original poem "Dyufrg Pcoihgbk Kiuygbnjhgf" the only reception I get is "it's just a bunch of keysmashes" and "you need to start taking this class seriously, Caroline"? What makes his fake words better than mine?

The answer is linguistics!

In this class, you'll learn what makes a good fake word work. Along the way, we'll discuss linguisticky stuff like phonology, morphology, and semantics. At the end of class you will have made several of your very own fake words, with which you can annoy your friends and family.


Class Style
Seminar

L14168: The Basics of Chinese
Difficulty: **

In this short class, we will teach you how to speak, read, and write some of the basic words (or any words you wish to know) in Chinese. From learning intonation to understanding character strokes, anyone is welcome to join and learn a little more about this beautiful East Asian language!


Class Style
Lecture

L14204: International Phonetic Alphabet
Difficulty: **

Learn how to pronounce stuff and categorize the ways people pronounce stuff, and also read those strings of letters and other symbols that appear on wikipedia pages

Also useful if you want to try making your own language at some point


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Be able to pronounce words

L14359: Summarizing Tolkien's Silmarillion
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Eric Wooten

Read the Lord of the Rings and loved it? Into world-building on the heroic scale?

This class takes students through a rapid breakdown of events in JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion, starting from the awakening of the Elves and finishing with the end of the First Age.


Class Style
Lecture


Lunch

[ Return to Category List ]

L14393: Lunch Period
Difficulty: None
Teachers:

Enjoy a break for lunch with your friends! Please register for at least one lunch period on each day of the program.

L14394: Lunch Period
Difficulty: None
Teachers:

Enjoy a break for lunch with your friends! Please register for at least one lunch period on each day of the program.


Mathematics

[ Return to Category List ]

M14148: Intro to Cryptography and Encryption
Difficulty: **

What does encryption really mean? What makes it secure? What is a cipher? A block cipher? How do you use them? Come and learn the basics of one of the most fascinating and important subjects in mathematics! No background knowledge needed! We will cover message integrity, keys, one time pads, and the beauty of prime numbers.


Class Style
Lecture

M14274: Fractions Continued
Difficulty: **

Do the inherent limitations of classical fractions keep you up at night? Do you wring your hands in frustration at the blandness that is the denominator? If you answered yes to both of these, one of these, or even neither of these, you'll be glad to know that continued fractions have you covered. In this class, we'll explore some surprising results about continued fractions and learn about their application to rounding, approximation, tax fraud, and even Pell's equation. As a bonus, check out the cool example below!

$$ \pi=3+\frac{1^2}{6+
\frac{3^2}{6+
\frac{5^2}{6+\dots
}}} $$


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Familiarity with fractions. The class will make heavy use of the first ten positive integers. Knowledge of eleven and beyond is recommended, but not required.

M14304: Card Games and Combinatorics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jennifer Choi, Joy Ma

Learn all the tips and tricks of winning card games through using combinatorics! Simply put, combinatorics is a branch of math about counting. Studying combinatorics can help us better understand card games and how to do well in them.


Class Style
Activity

M14291: Quick Introduction to Graph Theory
Difficulty: **

Have you ever wondered how Google Maps determines the fast route? How Expedia finds the cheapest flights? How Facebook makes friend suggestion? How to solve mazes without guessing? Or even how robots avoid obstacles?

If you can resonate with any of these questions, this class is for you!

In this class, you will learn about the basic Graph Theory, which is a major field in the intersection of math and computer science. You will learn what a graph is and how to build one. You will learn some basic search algorithms and essentially how to use it to solve some real-life problems!

In short, this class will give you a quick introduction to Graph Theory along with some applications that you can really use in daily life. No technical prerequisite is required -- just come and have fun!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
- very basic math (addition/subtraction) - great observation skills

M14209: SET Theory
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Isabel Anderson

Have you ever wondered about how math relates to board games? This class will go over introductory combinatorics, modular arithmetic, and affine geometry and how they relate to the game SET.
If you have never played SET before, that is fine. However, you will get more out of the class if you familiarize yourself with the game by reading the rules and trying one of the online versions of SET beforehand.


Class Style
Lecture

M14210: Introduction to Fractals
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Isabel Anderson

Fractals look cool, but have you ever wondered how they're constructed? In this class, we will be going over the definition of a fractal, the basics of complex numbers, and how the Mandelbrot and Julia sets are constructed. If there is time, we will also discuss what dimension fractals exist in.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Know what a function is.

M14216: So you want to be a math major
Difficulty: *

Do you want to study math in college? Learn about what being a math major entails, what sorts of classes you'll take, different types of degrees you can get, and what employment options look like for math majors. At the end of class, we will answer any questions that people have.


Class Style
Seminar

M14320: Crash Course in Game Theory
Difficulty: *

In the prisoner's dilemma, two prisoners face a critical decision: to defect or to cooperate. While it would be best if both prisoners cooperated, each one has something to gain by defecting, and both end up getting a worse overall outcome than if they had both cooperated.

Come learn about interesting problems like this in our crash course in game theory, which explores the science of optimal decision-making.


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
None

M14223: Splitting Cake with Sperner's Lemma
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Nelson Niu

You and your friends have attained a large, multi-flavored cake. You would all like to eat some of that cake, but you each have slightly different preferences about what part of the cake you want. Some of you love the coconut shavings; some will avoid the chocolate icing at all costs. The large scoop of ice cream in the corner is particularly popular. Is there a way to split up the cake fairly amongst yourselves—without losing any friends in the process?

It turns out there is, and we can prove it! All it takes is a cute little theorem about coloring points in triangles called Sperner's Lemma. In fact, not only does our theorem tells us that a fair division exists, it can even tell us exactly how—plus or minus a sprinkle. Come see how it all works here!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Some experience with proofs is recommended; you should, at the very least, know how to prove a statement by induction. It would also help to know what the graph of $$ x + y + z = 1 $$ looks like.

M14343: Philosophy of Probability
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jesse Yang

What exactly is probability? Is it merely assigned to measure the tendency of a physical, objective reality, like rolling a die or flipping a coin? Does it measure the strength of our subjective beliefs, based on expectation and experience? With no regard for accuracy, we'll examine interpretations of probability based in math, frequency, propensity, and subjectivity, and most likely discover that each interpretation is in its own manner inexhaustive.


Class Style
Lecture

M14173: Proving Löb's Theorem
Difficulty: ****

Löb's theorem is a beautiful theorem with a deceptively short proof. It states that $$\square (\square P \to P) \to \square P$$ for all $$P$$---that if you can show that proving $$P$$ is sufficient to make $$P$$ true, then you can prove $$P$$.

Löb's theorem has a variety of applications, from enabling robust cooperation in the prisoner's dilemma, to curing social anxiety, from proving Gödel's incompleteness theorem, to proving that the halting problem is undecidable.

I will present a few proofs of Löb's theorem, all of which are twisty in subtly different ways. We will spend the rest of the time working on wrapping our minds around these proofs, and discussing related topics.


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
I will assume that you understand the difference between "P is provable" and "P is true".

M14303: Introduction to Logic
Difficulty: **

(there will be a better description soon!)


Class Style
Lecture

M14302: Puzzle Hunt! (math-based)
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jennifer Choi, Joy Ma

Put your math skills to the test with this puzzle hunt! Open to everyone, and we'll help you form teams (or you can come with one!).


Class Style
Activity

M14352: The Mathematics of Pokemon
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jeffery Li, Andrew Lin

Have you ever wondered about the specific mechanics of Pokemon, like type matchups and damage calculations, that allow for competitive Pokemon battling or Pokemon speedrunning? Have you ever heard of the terms "EVs" and "IVs" and and wondered what they meant or what they do? In this class, we'll go over some of these mechanics in theory, and a little bit of how they are put into practice!


Class Style
Lecture

M14172: Linear Logic
Difficulty: ***

It's a well-known fact of logic that if from $$P$$ you can get $$Q$$, then from $$P$$ you can also get $$Q$$ and $$Q$$.* So since you can get two dimes and a nickel from a quarter, you can get two dimes and a nickel and two dimes and a nickel from a single quarter.

Come to learn about linear logic, which is a version of logic which doesn't claim that you can get infinite amounts of money from a quarter.


*For example, since $$n = 2$$ implies that $$n = 1 + 1$$ then, $$n = 2$$ implies that $$n = 1 + 1$$ and also $$n = 1 + 1$$.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
You should know about truth tables, and the "and", "or", "not", and "implies" logical connectives.

M14213: Mathematical Modeling
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jessica Oehrlein

Math modeling is how we use mathematics to study open-ended questions about real-world phenomena. What's the best location for a food truck? How does an invasive species affect an ecosystem? How do we clean up space debris? These are all questions that we can start to answer with math modeling. The goal of this class is to introduce you to the modeling process. By the end, you'll have developed models to answer questions about a couple of different scenarios, and you'll know about some of the tools you can use to tackle more significant modeling problems.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Comfort with algebra and a willingness to tackle very open-ended problems.

M14284: SET (& the mathematics of)
Difficulty: **

Learn how to play the card game SET, what it means when people call it a hypercube, and how to win the game without flipping over the last card (and the math behind why the trick works!)


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
No math background required, though familiarity with how modulo works can be helpful :)

M14357: Wrong?? Math
Difficulty: **

Some things in math look true but are false, and some things in math look false but are true.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
No formal prerequisites. Being interested in math will improve class experience, but anyone is welcome.

M14248: Beyond the Paper Airplane: Mathematics with Origami
Difficulty: ***

Lots of people use pen and paper to do math. Come learn to do it with just paper - add, divide, multiply, and even solve quadratic equations for x, and hint towards the context of Galois theory and fields.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
You should have paper and a ruler ready to go.

M14265: How to Break Rules in Math
Difficulty: *
Teachers: H Azzouz, Dustin Jamner

When do a triangle's angles add up to more than 180 degrees? When is 11 a multiple of 2? How many numbers are there? We'll take a look at some examples your math teacher probably didn't show you. This class is aimed at students with interest in math, but without advanced background. For extra entertainment, you can bring your own rule and we'll see if we can break it.


Class Style
Seminar

M14313: Building Quantum Circuits
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Jordan Hines

How does a quantum computer work and what does an algorithm for one look like? In this class, we'll talk about the fundamentals of quantum computing with the help of IBM's online circuit composer, which will allow you to build your own quantum circuits and see what they do!


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
Comfort with matrix operations

M14301: Women in Mathematics
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jennifer Choi, Joy Ma

A historical and current survey of important women in mathematics, taught by women from MIT's Undergraduate Society of Women in Mathematics!


Class Style
Lecture


Pop (and not-so-pop) Culture

[ Return to Category List ]

P14184: Learn about Chinese RAP!!
Difficulty: *

Hi, I'm sure some of you listen to rap, but would you also like to listen to culturally-appropriated rap from countries you don't actually expect rap from? In this class, I shall educate you on the history of Chinese rap, the drama, the tea, and of course give some great song recommendations. Learning to rap may or may not be included depending on how network conditions are.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None! But understanding Chinese well is very helpful for appreciating the lyrics.

P14235: History and Strategy of Minecraft Speedruns
Difficulty: **

This video, I made it so that students coming in will get to know about Minecraft Speedrunning. This goes way back before Dream even started his YouTube channel. We'll get to see Illumina, Benex, NiceTwice, TheeSizzler, Dimeax, Korbanoes and other big name speedrunners, and see their strategies throughout the years. Will they beat Minecraft (quick enough)? We're about to find out. Also, only a small percentage of people that watch my videos are actually subscribed, so if you end up liking this video, consider subscribing, it's free and you can always change your mind in the future. Enjoy the video.


Class Style
Lecture

P14181: Conspiracy Theories: The Fake from the Real
Difficulty: *

From the flat-earth theory to 9/11 being an inside job to Paul Pierce faking an injury during the 2008 NBA Finals, conspiracy theories on every scale run rampant in today's world. Many people universally roll their eyes to any and all of these theories, but then again, it's important to remember that they encourage a healthy skepticism about the world. After all, no one would ever think a sitting president could organize a robbery, but that's exactly what Watergate was. It always sounds unbelievable until it's proven true, but how do we separate the fake from the real when it comes to conspiracy theories? Take this class to find out.


Class Style
Lecture

P14353: Introduction to K-Pop
Difficulty: *

Interested in kpop? Want to learn more about the idol life, group structure, and the entertainment industry in Korea? If you’re a casual fan, or even completely new to kpop, join in to listen (and potentially fangirl/fanboy) to some kpop songs, possibly become *surprised pikachu face* at kpop’s infamous scandals, and discuss anything (and maybe a tad bit of everything) about kpop!


Class Style
Activity

P14236: Eurovision Song Contest
Difficulty: *

Good Evening Europe!

I discovered the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2014 and have been watching the contest every year. What is this TV show? Why do I like it so much? Come learn about the contest, and join me in watching all-time favorite songs and performances from this huge spectacle!


Class Style
Lecture

P14362: Minecraft advancements
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Victor Luo, Yuru Niu

Here we learn how to get every advancement in Minecraft.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Know how to play Minecraft

P14229: Fugues! (FYOOgz)
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Henry Hu

You may have heard of The Master, but are you interested in learning about his coolest works, the mighty fugues? Do you go on YouTube often to learn about stuff? Do you want to hear music in a new, more immersive way?

Let's discuss what a fugue is, what makes it special, and then listen to a bunch of fugues with visual graphs from YouTube to help us understand. We will listen to everything from "child's play" to "in one ear and out the other" and everywhere in between! Figure out why people have been listening to this beloved work for centuries...


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
Some ability to read music is preferred, curiosity and motivation are mandatory! And ears!

P14290: Media Binds or Blinds? Eradicating Algorithmic Bias through Media Education
Difficulty: *

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

P14300: Hololive and Virtual Youtube: Why are anime streamers showing up in my recommended?
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Brandon Pho

Enjoy the cute, moe aesthetic of anime? Wondering why people have been throwing thousands of dollars for at livestreamers? Come learn about the intersection of these two phenomena, or come laugh at a weeb college student simping for anime waifus!
This class will give an overview of the current trend of virtual streamers, its origins in idol culture, and why the genre is so appealing to many.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
No experience necessary, but you should probably at least have heard about anime to fully understand the some of the context behind this genre.

P14262: Time Travel in Popular Media
Difficulty: *

Do you like crazy time travel movies? Have you ever listened to a character exposit about time travel for 10 minutes and thought "Huh I want to learn more about this"? Well then, this is the class for you. In this class, we are going to be talking about time-lines, time-loops, and paradoxes from some of our favorite stories. We'll talk about stories that make sense and stories that don't. It'll be a lot of fun!

Warning: there are going to be spoilers for a lot of stuff. Here is a list of the spoiler warnings for those who care about that: Predestination, Avenger's Endgame, Terminator, Interstellar, Arrival, and Dark.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Maybe watch the movies we put spoiler warnings on if you care about that.

P14174: A Herstory of Rupaul's Drag Race Reveals
Difficulty: **
Teachers: CJ Quines, Jessica Wu

How are the Pokémon Trading Card Game and Rupaul's Drag Race alike? What are reveals and how did they start? And why is a two-second reveal so much more entertaining than a two-minute dance routine? Come watch some thrilling Drag Race clips with us, as we talk about what separates good reveals from bad ones.

Content note: Rupaul's Drag Race is rated TV-14. There will be spoilers, as we'll be watching episode endings and season finales.


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
None. Drag Race fans might've already seen most of these before. So you're encouraged to come *especially* if you haven't watched Rupaul's Drag Race before!

P14224: Revelio: What Harry Potter Teaches Us About Writing Shocking Plot Twists
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Nelson Niu

Think of that one book or movie with a killer twist ending, a shocking reveal that blew you away and left you stunned in your seat, marveling at the storyteller's cunning and cheek. (Don't tell me what it is, though: I don't want to be spoiled.) Ever wondered how the writer or director managed to pull it off?

Now think of that other twist ending that was absolutely atrocious, that left you feeling confused, cheated, or rolling your eyes because you'd seen it coming from a mile away. (Again, don't tell me what it is: spoilers for bad stories are spoilers, too.) What makes some twists work and others flop?

This is an intriguing topic that is very difficult to discuss, because, as you've probably already noticed, talking about plot twist is difficult without, well, actually talking about those twists, thereby spoiling them. Fortunately, there's one series chock-full of excellent surprise endings that nearly everyone of our generation has already been exposed to: Harry Potter.

We'll examine and discuss the techniques employed in the Harry Potter books to create some of the most shocking revelations, as well as the broader thematic ideas that a clever twist can convey. And perhaps you'll come out of this class ready to craft your very own mind-blowing plot twist.


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
You should be familiar with all seven books in the Harry Potter series.

P14331: Intro to Traditional Astrology
Difficulty: **

Not sure what a birth chart is? Don't know your rising sign? Puzzled by the phrase "Mercury retrograde?" You've stumbled upon the right class. Join Deon Mitchell, a Real-Life astrologer, in discovering the sky and how its motions impact you, society, and the world. You'll learn the basics: the signs, the planets, and the houses, and you'll walk away making accurate chart intepretations and new insight into your own chart. Astrology skeptics, beginners, and enthusiasts welcome.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
knowledge of your own birth day, time, and location (or good approximations)


Science

[ Return to Category List ]

S14201: Brain Injuries and How They Help Us Understand the Brain
Difficulty: **

This course will briefly introduce the main lobes of the brain (for some background) before going into different case studies that touch into cognitive neuroscience. The studies that will be discussed will range from people that had a complete change in personality after an accident to someone that became amnesic after surgery. I will also introduce sources for future reading so that students can continue learning beyond this course. Background knowledge not necessary! Come learn about some really interesting cases!


Class Style
Lecture

S14334: How Does Global Warming Work? An Introduction to The Greenhouse Effect and Other Mechanisms
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Phoebe Lin, Lily Zhang

The Sun is constantly emitting radiation... but what happens after it reaches the Earth? Learn about the radiative processes that occur within our atmosphere to understand the mechanisms behind global warming.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Basic understanding of algebra recommended

S14247: Microbiome 101: What's in your poop?

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

S14194: What Color is #TheDress? The Neuroscience of Human Vision
Difficulty: **

Is the dress blue/black or white/gold?!! Come hear us attempt to resolve the #dressgate that went viral on Twitter, learn about cool facts of human color vision, and pick up some methods scientists use to study the brain along the way!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None

S14212: COVID-19: What We Know
Difficulty: *

All of our lives are being impacted by COVID-19, and this class will explore what we know so far, how we know it, and what this means moving forward.

This is a class for people of all levels- we will cover the very basics of viruses, what makes COVID-19 unique, and how we can best protect ourselves.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Anyone of any level is welcome!

S14260: CRISPR Crash Course
Difficulty: **

Ever heard of CRISPR, the biology class buzzword and purported future of human evolution? (One of these descriptions is more accurate than the other). Come learn about the differences between the fact and fiction of this powerful gene-editing tool! We’ll cover the basics of the discovery of CRISPR, its original functions in bacteria, and how it has been engineered for a range of different applications today.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Introductory biology recommended (basic knowledge of genetics and biochemistry)

S14155: black holes!
Difficulty: **

Black holes live in the middle of galaxies, spew out hot plasma, and gulp up stars. We'll talk about the history of black holes, what happens when you get too close to a black hole, what black holes do to space and time, and some cool black hole thought experiments. If you want to learn more about all sorts of astrophysical weirdness, this class is for you!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
If you've taken high school algebra, you should be okay. There'll be a little calculus, but don't worry!

S14192: Epidemiology: Disease Snapshots
Difficulty: *

Are you tired of hearing about COVID-19??? Do you want to learn more about diseases that are deadlier, more contagious, and less manageable than COVID??? In this class, we'll survey a few prominent pathogens with pandemic potential (and some without pandemic potential).


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
A little basic biology would be helpful (e.g. knowing the difference between DNA and RNA)

S14269: Mystifying Tunes, Temperaments, and Overtone Singing

Ever wondered if it’s possible to sing two notes at once? It turns out yes, and much more!

In this class will cover an overview of audio signals, how sound is physically produced and transmitted. This includes an introduction to spectrograms, waveforms and frequencies. After this, we will explore being able to hear and identify these interesting properties of music.

Then a large part of the class will be spent activity-style on exploring a fun application of this knowledge with the strange and mystifying art of unusual singing techniques; including overtone singing and Tuvan throat singing. We will record our voice and examine the frequencies to augment our singing.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
A computer/phone with a microphone is required for this course.

S14371: Fantastic Semiconductors and Where to Find Them
Difficulty: **

Want to know what's behind the computing power of your computer and smartphone? Microchips, logic gates, and even LED lights all depend on the semiconductor, and it's not just something that's okay at conducting electricity. Come find out what makes it all work!


Class Style
Lecture

S14333: Science and Economics of Climate Change
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Phoebe Lin, Lily Zhang

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.

S14156: the standard model!
Difficulty: **

The Standard Model is (as far as we know) the best description of our universe. It summarizes the particles that make up everything around us (as far as we know), and also some things that aren't usually around us. If you want to unlock the mysteries of the universe (as far as we know), join the club and take our class!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Caring about physics!

S14252: Geobiology: What the Earth Teaches us about the History of Life
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Justin Duffy, Kelvin Li

How do we know what life was like millions of years ago? In this class, we will discuss how life interacts with the Earth, and how studying rocks, fossils, and biogeochemical cycles can help us understand the history of life. Topics will include fossils and fossilization, relative dating, the Great Oxygenation Event, mass extinctions, and climate change.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None required, although basic biology and chemistry knowledge may be helpful.

S14319: Do Fish Have Feelings? An Introduction to Marine Biology
Difficulty: **

Come explore the ocean and learn everything you never thought you needed to know about fish and other marine creatures! It'll be a whale of a time :)


Class Style
Lecture

S14277: Become a BioMaker!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Janice Tjan, Melody Wu

The goal of this course is not to make you all biologists, but biology enthusiasts and biomakers. In other words, we hope to spark your interest in fields of technology where you can apply biology or lead you to notice biology in your lives. We especially want to highlight the ways in which there can be lo-tech solutions to conduct biological research and ways to innovate within this realm!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
No background in Biology required!

S14344: The Secret Life of the Periodic Table
Difficulty: *

The periodic table is a familiar sight in all chemistry classrooms. But did you ever realize that all those elements in there are much more than entries in a table; each has its own exciting story of discovery, usage and incidents connected to it. We will explore some of the most enthralling stories connected to these elements which will help you better appreciate and enjoy the wonderful subject of chemistry.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Nothing in particular. Just some enthusiasm and interest in science and chemistry

S14360: Wildfires
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Clair Travis

Fall means fire season for the Western United States! Ever wonder why California always seems to be on fire? Or how a fire like this year's "August Complex" gets to be larger than Rhode Island? Or how fires like that are even fought?

In this course we'll cover the basic ecology behind wildfires, how they are dealt with, their causes, and why they seem to be getting worse. We'll also go over resources at your disposal as a curious citizen for all large fires in the United States.


Class Style
Lecture

S14145: Debates in Bioethics
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Talya Kramer

This class will introduce you to the exciting field of Bioethics! Bioethics is a dynamic topic that discusses and debates ethical issues that relate to science and medicine. This class will first cover how Bioethicists think about these problems and then will provide an interactive environment to discuss Bioethical debates with your peers. Topics covered might include: at what age can teenagers reject medical care? How should we test a coronavirus vaccine? How do we determine how to organize organ donations?


Class Style
Discussion

S14158: From Engineering Genes to Fish Glowing Green: the Basics of the Biology and Ethics of Gene Editing
Difficulty: **

A quick dive into modern genetic engineering techniques and the ethical implications!


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
1 biology class

S14246: The science behind face reading: Physiognomy
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Beyza yurt

Do you ever think about learning about someone without the need of talking to them or stalking them(!) Well I can't teach you how to read someone's mind, but I can teach you how to interpret someone's personality just by looking at their face. If you're interested in diving deep into the science behind the physical appearance and what information it gives you about someone, join my class!


Class Style
Seminar

S14335: Exploring the Solar System
Difficulty: *

Are you interested in traveling across space from the comfort of your socially-distanced couch? If so, come join us on our mission to explore the solar system! On our journey, we’ll investigate the workings of the Sun, terrestrial planets, and gas giants! Additionally, we will discuss some odd topics such as why Mercury is shrinking, possible life on Jupiter’s moons, and why we live inside the Sun! If you’re ready to accept our mission and learn about what might be the coolest star system ever, put on your helmets, strap in, and get ready for lift off in T-minus 3...2...1...!


Class Style
Lecture

S14211: Lung Health 101
Difficulty: *

Are you Pre-Med? Interested in diseases of the airway in lung? Got asthma?? Then this is the class for you! We will cover everything to do with lungs including anatomy, cellular biology, air quality, disease, pollution, and smoking.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
No pre-reqs! Everyone is welcome!

S14162: Mission: Climate
Difficulty: **
Teachers: David Mazumder

Students will engage as stakeholders in a climate summit tasked with limiting global warming to less than a disastrous 2 degrees Celsius. Following a brief introduction to climate change physics and policy tools, students will take on roles in a simulated United Nations negotiation to chart the world’s course to prevent climate catastrophe using an interactive climate policy simulator based on the best available economic, climate, and energy models. We will cover what is causing climate change, what actions are required to halt warming, and how students can take action in their communities.


Class Style
Activity

S14191: The Science of Happiness
Difficulty: *

We all know a thing or two about happiness from experience. But what can science teach us about it? In this class, we will review research on human happiness and explore what the scientific method can - and can't - teach us.


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
None, but to get the neural circuits firing, you may want to read some articles from Arthur C. Brooks' column in the Atlantic Magazine: https://www.theatlantic.com/category/how-build-life/

S14298: The importance of chemical reactions in organic synthesis
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ygor Moura

Have you heard about the Girgnard reaction? Do you know why is it important? Why are couplings important? Why reactions that form C-C bonds are so special? There are many Nobel prizes that are awarded to people that work with these reactions. Come learn a little more about the underlying principles behind many synthesis!


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
General chemistry, and basic knowledge (or interest) in organic reactions

S14326: Physics at the Atomic Scale and Beyond
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Keith Phuthi

We try and explain why matter at the everyday scale behaves the way it does starting from atoms all the way up to ordinary sized objects. How does the interaction of atoms and molecules result in solids, liquids, gases? Why do they behave the way they do? This will be done mainly through showing you different computer simulations and animations.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
A basic understanding of Newton's Laws of motion

S14345: Fundamentals of the CRISPR-Cas9 World
Difficulty: **

Want to learn about gene-editing?
Wondering why you should care?
Well, if you’ve been hearing all the buzz about cutting-edge research efforts for cancer and disease treatment, or the controversial possibilities of creating designer babies and are curious about the technology that is making it all a reality—you’ve come to the right place!

CRISPR gets down to the very element encoding us, the DNA we carry in our cells, in order to change it and modify the organism, allowing for a host of applications researchers are keen to create. We’ll take you through the entire process and relevance of modifying DNA and then do deep dives into how the CRISPR system operates. You will learn about how we discovered CRISPR and even where we’re heading with the technology.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Introductory high-school biology would be beneficial. But the lectures will touch the basics too.

S14354: How to Find an Exoplanet!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Mehrab Jamee

So you sat down at your telescope for a few weeks straight and stared at a star, and noticed that it dimmed at regular intervals. You may have found an exoplanet, in the same way as NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)! A project by the MIT Kavli Institute, the satellite launched in 2018 and finished its primary mission in July 2020, having scanned the northern sky for exoplanets using this transit method. How can you find an exoplanet this way? Just how much information can find out about the planet with this method? Why do we even care about finding planets outside of our solar system? Inquire within!


Class Style
Lecture

S14374: Organic Chemistry is fun and cool and approachable
Difficulty: **

Does Organic Chemistry have a scary reputation in your mind? Have your village elders warned you of its difficulty? Come to this class to find out why that's all fake news and see that organic chemistry is fun and cool (TM). Learn about all its interesting applications in understanding and improving the world around us and listen to my strong feelings about pushing arrows around!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
High School Chemistry

S14261: Protein Folding
Difficulty: **

https://xkcd.com/1430/
If you think origami is hard, imagine folding a chain of amino acids into a fully functional protein! Come learn about the twists and turns of the protein folding problem and what progress scientists have made so far, from Levinthal’s paradox to the biennial CASP competition and more. Try it out for yourself during the second half of this class, where we’ll introduce the protein folding game Foldit and finish with a mini-contest!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Introductory biology recommended (basic knowledge of biochemistry and proteins)

S14264: A Brief Introduction to Time Travel
Difficulty: **

Time travel is everywhere in popular media, but ever wondered "is this stuff real?" In this class we are going to be talking about both the classic paradoxes and physical theory. Topics include special relativity, the many-worlds theory and general relativity.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None

S14281: The Science behind Music

What makes the sound of a guitar different from a piano? How do computers process audio to detect what song you are listening to?

In this class, we will cover an overview of audio signals, the math behind it and how this relates to the music you hear. This includes an introduction to spectrogram, waveforms, frequency analysis and Fourier transforms. Basic math and program implementation will be covered.

We will explore how these interesting properties of audio signals affect the sound that you hear. The next part of the class will be spent activity-style exploring audio processing and synthesis. This includes short lab activities for note detection/transcription, song matching (Shazam), and audio synthesis using software. We will also explore interesting musical phenomena including tuning systems, microtonality, audio quality and harmonics.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Pre-calculus (basic trigonometry, sine, cosine) is required. Calculus knowledge will be helpful, although is not required. A computer (Windows or Mac) is required for this course.

S14382: Your Brain on Love
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Grace Cai, Laura Cui

Ever heard the phrase "love is a drug"? Sadly it never seems to be in stock at our local CVS... come learn about the brain chemistry of infatuation, emotional management strategies, ingredients for a healthy relationship, and more!


Class Style
Lecture

S14228: Zooming in on Organic Molecules
Difficulty: **

Molecules are dynamic objects with diverse structural and electronic features that affect their chemical properties and reactivity. In this course, we'll introduce some concepts about the three-dimensional structure of simple organic molecules and discuss how that structure, as well as other properties such as electronegativity, can be used to explain and predict how molecules react. We'll end with some real-world examples that showcase the importance of organic chemistry in our everyday lives.


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
High school general chemistry course.

S14309: Shockingly Scientific: Intro to Cardiac Electrophysiology
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Rudy Gelb-Bicknell

No matter how strong you are, if you lift something heavy over and over again, you will get tired. Your arms will start to ache, and eventually your muscles will just stop listening to you. Your heart muscle doesn't have that luxury. It needs to make sure every one of the cells in your body gets fresh oxygenated blood in a single squeeze. It needs to do this without fail every single second from the moment you are born to the moment you die.

Why don't our hearts ever need a break? What determines how fast it beats? What if our hearts pump too hard or too soft? Too fast or too slow? How does it squeeze in just the right way to pump the blood all the way around the body with ease? Welcome to the world of Cardiac Electrophysiology, or electricity of the heart. In this world you will encounter balloons filled with liquid nitrogen, laser-firing wands, and orbs that rip cells apart with electric fields.

We'll first go through the basics of how the heart works, where it sends blood to and where it gets it back from. Then we'll talk about how regular muscles work and how their behaviors are controlled by electricity, as well as what makes heart muscle different from all other muscle in your body. Then we get to the really fun stuff: how electricity propagates through the heart, and what happens when things go wrong in that system. Finally, we'll finish up with a dive into the extremely cool field of 3D electrophysiology mapping and ablation, the tools that doctors use to understand and fix hearts with conduction abnormalities (that’s where all those crazy tools come in!).

I’m gonna try to cover a lot of ground in this class, so it’ll definitely move pretty speedily. There will be some math and basic physics talked about, but I’ll do my best to cover any prerequisite material for understanding it. I’ll also make sure to stress the key takeaways from each section so that everyone can get the general idea of what is going on, and the people that want to can understand some of the math going on behind it.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Any math and physics you have seen will help you understand the material on a more quantitative level, but my goal is that anyone who wants to will walk away from this course having a general idea for how the heart works, why electricity is central to its function, and what happens when things go wrong.

S14231: Intro to Soft Matter and Fluids
Difficulty: *

This class will be a short introduction to the physics of soft matter and fluids. Learn about everything from bubbles to colloids to turbulence!


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None

S14289: Symmetry and Asymmetry: A Tale of Two Antipodes
Difficulty: **

Come one, come all to the rootinest tootinest class this side of the Mississippi! The concept of symmetry shows up everywhere, from physics to biology and from architecture to mathematics. We will share perspectives on symmetry primarily from the points of view of physicists and biologists. Topics include chirality, biological fitness, stereochemistry, parity, and polarization.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Previous experience with geometry, physics, and biology recommended

S14325: Quantum Encryption with Alice and Bob
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Michael Haas

Quantum encryption allows for communication where it is physically impossible for eavesdroppers to listen in on a conversation, which has huge ramifications for secure communication in the future. Come learn how present research on nanoscale physics could lead to global impact!

As part of the class, we will use IBM's Qiskit platform to demonstrate the advantage of quantum key distribution protocols.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Very little, have some interest in learning about quantum states and entanglement.

S14332: Radiation, Antennas, and Einstein Relativity: What They Won't Tell You in AP Physics
Difficulty: **

When you shake an electron, it spits out electromagnetic radiation. This fact is the basis of all wireless communication, from radio to wifi to satellite navigation. But despite these engineering applications, the behavior of moving charges is critical to pure theoretical physics. Einstein's 1905 paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies," among the most important papers ever published, showed that the way a charge radiates contains the seeds of a remarkable new subject called special relativity. Come to this class to hear how the study of moving charges led to an idea which revolutionized our understanding of what space and time really are.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
It will help if you have heard things like "opposite charges attract and like charges repel." In some places we will use calculus in a conceptual and intuitive way, but it is not necessary to have taken a calculus course to follow the talk.


Walk-in Activity

[ Return to Category List ]

W14271: DIY Sustainability with UA Sustain!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kayleigh Dugas

Come hang out with UA Sustain, one of MIT's undergraduate sustainability organizations! Learn how to make ecobricks, rate sustainability hacks on TikTok, and chill with us between your classes.


Class Style
Activity

W14390: Minesweeper
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Yuru Niu, Frank Wang

Minesweeper is a logic/puzzle game played on a grid, where the goal is to clear out all of the safe squares without hitting a mine. Come here to learn how to play, learn a few new tricks, or just have a good time playing Minesweeper! Open to both new and experienced players.


Class Style
Activity

W14389: How to cut hair
Difficulty: **

Learn by watching me learn by doing!

I will be cutting my roommate's hair (don't worry, this is 1) with permission and 2) not for the first time). I'll explain the basic techniques that I use to make a haircut look passable, especially for zoom calls. Let's hope it goes well...


Class Style
Seminar

W14391: How to Write Calligraphy: Card Decorating and More!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Grace Sun, Daisy Wang

Ever wanted to learn how to write in calligraphy? Wanted to spice up notes or cards? Well, we'll show you! Sign up to learn some tips for modern calligraphy lettering, and by the end leave with a holiday card!


Class Style
Activity

W14373: Science Bowl
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Paolo Adajar

Come play high school Science Bowl and try to win bragging rights and learn some awesome things about science! Know lots of science trivia, love hitting buzzers, or just want to try to answer questions ridiculously fast? This is the walk-in for you! You do not need to have familiarity/experience with this game to participate!


Class Style
Activity

W14268: 7.4 Seconds for Every Pokémon
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jeffery Li

Game Freak has made a lot of Pokémon ever since Red and Blue came out - 8 generations' worth, in fact. Some are clearly more popular and liked, and some never see the light of day. Have you ever wanted to get a glimpse of every single one of them, and show them all some love? Come by and check out all of them in a ~mistake of a powerpoint~ gigantic slideshow featuring all of them, from the most Normal to the exotic, from the cutest to the most menacing, and from the derpiest to the most powerful!

No prior knowledge of Pokémon needed, only a deep desire to appreciate all the Pokémon out there :P


Class Style
Lecture

W14388: Dominion
Difficulty: **

Missing board game nights with friends? Come play Dominion with us virtually! No experience necessary, don't worry about memorizing what all of the cards do :)


Class Style
Activity


Miscellaneous

[ Return to Category List ]

X14280: Communication & consent

So much has changed this year. For many of us, there have been major shifts in how we interact with those we care about and build our relationships. Essential to any relationship (friends, family, romantic, professional) is respecting boundaries, honest communication and seeking consent, whether together physically or virtually!

Join us in a conversation to discuss boundary setting, what is consent, and how to promote healthy communication for yourself and those around you!


Class Style
Seminar

X14369: All About American Crosswords
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Emily Yi, Wayne Zhao

You've probably done, or at least seen a crossword sometimes in your life, but have you ever stopped to think about how they became so ubiquitous? Come learn all about the history of crosswords, from their humble tiny origins, through a surprisingly starring role during WWII, all the way up to the modern history of computer-assisted cruciverbalism! Along the way, hopefully you'll pick up a few resources and jargon across all of crossword-dom.


Class Style
Lecture

X14318: Intro to Business and Finance

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.

No experience needed!


Class Style
Discussion

X14187: Baking Bao Bread Buns (from scratch!)
Difficulty: *

Bao: steamed buns with various tasty fillings. We're baking bao live for you to watch, with instructions to follow along! Come join us and learn how to make yummy bao.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
If you want to follow along with the recipe, make sure you have access to a kitchen and the following items: -an open heating element -a rolling pin -knife -steamer (and pot that will fit it) -ingredients for the recipe

X14337: The Art and Science of Meditation
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Aaron Schwartz

Life is busy. Life is stressful. Life is full of distractions. When was the last time you stepped back and lived in the present moment, spent a couple of minutes in the here and now? That’s the idea behind meditation, and lucky for you, ANYONE can meditate and benefit from a daily mindfulness practice. In this class, you’ll learn how! But that’s not all – this is MIT of course, so we’re also going to take a deep dive into the scientific literature to understand how meditation affects the brain, and whether (according to peer-reviewed scientific journals) it really offers benefits to its practitioners. ABSOLUTELY NO previous meditation experience expected or necessary!


Class Style
Seminar

X14346: Intermediate Puzzle Logic
Difficulty: ***

If you already know the rules of some logic puzzles, this class will teach some slightly more advanced techniques in those logic puzzles


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
Know the rules to some logic puzzles such as Masyu, Shakashaka, and LITS

X14377: Things You Should Know About Life
Difficulty: *

There are things you should know about life. They won't teach you this stuff in school. Things like retirement and how to make your friends' parents like you. Featuring a Q&A at the end.


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
None

X14161: Planning Like a Pro: Learning to Bullet Journal
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. You can even tailor your bullet journal to online learning :,)

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


Class Style
Activity

X14256: Pokemon Showdown for Dummies
Difficulty: *

Do you want to be a Pokemon master? Do you want to crush your opponents on the Pokemon showdown ladder? Do you want to learn how to make heat plays? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this is the class for you! (This class will be focused on 6v6 singles formats.)


Class Style
Discussion

X14258: Save a Life 101
Difficulty: **

Learn how to save lives using hands-only CPR and Stop the Bleed! Join MIT EMS's certified EMTs to learn the basics of how to stop major bleeding, recognize and react to a cardiac arrest, and perform high quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Afterwards, take a virtual tour inside MIT EMS's custom built ambulance!


Class Style
Activity

X14315: Chess gone Atomic
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jeffery Li, CJ Quines

We will be exploring a chess variant: atomic chess! In this variant, whenever a capture happens, all pieces (other than maybe pawns) within a one-square radius gets blown up. In this class, we'll go over the rules in more depth, along with a few pointers to get started (as games can be very volatile, and it's very easily to lose instantly), and then play some games!


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
You will likely need a basic understanding of how pieces move and capture in chess.

X14263: Interesting Conversations?!?!
Difficulty: **

Do you think tech companies have an obligation to do something about fake news, and if so, how?? If you were the CEO of a dating app, what would you design for? Should younger people have their votes weighted more heavily?? What is the purpose of American education?? Come with an interesting open-ended question and we can explore together!!


Class Style
Discussion

X14372: The Semi-Complete Beginner’s Guide to Figure Skating Fanhood
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Amy Li, Stacy Wang

Have you ever wanted to skate gracefully but found yourself with the coordination of a duck? Stepped onto ice and fallen flat on your butt? Well that’s okay, because you can register to become a figure skating fan instead!
Learn to answer these questions from a figure skating fan’s perspective: What are the familiar faces you’ll see? How do judges score figure skating programs? How do pairs skating and couples’ ice dance differ? What are the Grand Prix, Four Continents, and the World Championships in the world of figure skating? How can you recognize each type of jump?
Don’t skate by this opportunity to learn what it takes to stan the world’s coolest artistic athletes (or athletic artists)!


Class Style
Lecture

X14203: (Virtual) Walking Tours of the Greater Boston Area
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Samantha Webster

Boston is an awesome city, and I'll take you on a (virtual) walking tour to some of my favorite buildings and sights. You'll get quirky fun facts, fascinating history, and spooky cemetery stories. Buckle up, because we can cover a lot more ground on Zoom than if we were actually walking! (For those prone to motion sickness, please rest assured there will be minimal hand-held camera work.)


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Tennis shoes and sunscreen recommended for an authentic experience.

X14205: Riichi Mahjong
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Yuru Niu, Wayne Zhao

Learn how to play Riichi Mahjong, which is like a combination of Rummy and Poker but with tiles instead of cards!


Class Style
Activity

X14328: Introduction to thru hiking
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Erin Reynolds

Come learn about the mysterious world of thru hiking! Thru hikers take it upon themselves to trek hundreds to thousands of miles in the wilderness on trails such as the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or Continental Divide Trail. You'll learn about the required gear, the logistics of obtaining food and water, trail hygiene, and weird trail traditions. Class will be lecture style with some short youtube videos to make the concepts come to life. We will end with a Q&A to answer all of your questions!


Class Style
Lecture

X14202: Clean and Intuitive Design
Difficulty: **

Great ideas require the right execution to be appreciated. When we show our ideas to others, the audience initially interacts with it visually— they don’t necessarily see the work behind it. Even the best ideas can be undermined by poor interface design.
This course covers the thought-process in designing interfaces, ranging from websites we see everyday to phone apps to advertisements. We will aim to understand a bit better the magical process of how these interfaces we interact with capture our attention. This means understanding design principles, knowing your audience, and seeing many many examples.
The principles covered go beyond this course, applying to many fields.


Class Style
Discussion

X14312: How to produce lo-fi hip hop

Ever listened to "lofi beats to study/relax to" and wondered how the tracks are made? In this class, we'll teach you the basics of producing music, and in particular, how to make a lo-fi hip hop track. You'll learn what gives lo-fi that slow, vibey element and how to create that in your own track. At the end of the session, you'll have your very own lo-fi track, and the foundation to explore music production further.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
None

X14387: Ice Cream
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Matthew Cox, Jenny Gao

Come learn the chemistry behind making ice cream! We'll show you how to make ice cream at home with salt and ice, and we'll also talk about the theory of liquid nitrogen ice cream (which we'd normally have at in-person Splash).


Class Style
Activity

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

X14392: n classes in 5n minutes
Difficulty: *

Do you ever feel like there aren't enough time blocks at Splash to take classes? Wish you could learn more about *everything*?

We'll be teaching you about 10 different topics, with 5 minutes for each! We don't know exactly what we'll teach yet (maybe we'll take suggestions from you all?) Perhaps we'll talk about Scrabble, meme-y music, gymnastics, mental math, firespinning, and much, much more :D


Class Style
Lecture

X14330: Streets!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Katherine Lei, Alan Zhu

Streets! What are they? Well, hopefully you have some idea of what a street is, but perhaps you want to know more about highways systems, the Manual on Unified Traffic Control Devices, or just big/long streets around the world. If so, look no further than this class.


Class Style
Lecture

X14351: How to Run a Splash
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jenny Gao, Andrew Lin

Splash is run by undergraduate and graduate students at MIT. And beyond MIT, there are Splashes and other similar educational programs at universities and high schools nationwide. How does it all happen, and what are some of the things behind the scenes that you don't usually get to see? Come learn about all of the intricacies that go into running a massive program like Splash and find out how you can do it too! We'll cover what goes into organizing Splash at MIT, as well as resources and next steps if you want to run something like Splash at your own school. Presented by former Splash directors :)


Class Style
Lecture

X14188: Powerpoint Karaoke!
Difficulty: **

Imagine that you are the speaker of a presentation, but you don't know what you are presenting on or what slides you are expecting. You have to wing this presentation somehow, but how would you do so? Welcome to powerpoint karaoke, where even nonsense makes sense.

Come learn a bit more about how powerpoint karaoke works, including some tips and tricks, and try it out for yourself!


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
A desire to do some improv!

X14237: Magic Eye and Beyond: Stereograms and Stereographs
Difficulty: **

Have you always thought Magic Eye pictures were super cool and want to learn more about them? Do your eyes hurt so much from trying to view Magic Eye pictures that you want to finally know what all the fuss behind them is? Do you want to learn how to view (and create your own!) 3D illusions from 2D images using the pOwEr of your eyes alone? Then this is the class for you!!


Class Style
Activity

X14282: Comedy
Difficulty: *

Watch clips from well known comedies, read some comedies, make some jokes, and enjoy an hour of comic relief.


Class Style
Discussion

X14395: Powerpoint Karaoke!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jeffery Li, Wayne Zhao

Imagine that you are the speaker of a presentation, but you don't know what you are presenting on or what slides you are expecting. You have to wing this presentation somehow, but how would you do so? Welcome to powerpoint karaoke, where even nonsense makes sense.

Come learn a bit more about how powerpoint karaoke works, including some tips and tricks, and try it out for yourself!


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
A desire to do some improv!

X14215: European/World Football (Soccer) - Understanding and Following the Beautiful Game
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Federico Ramirez

Welcome to a crash course about the beautiful game, Football! (aka soccer). You'll learn about everything that happens during games from rules, concepts, and how teams line up. With that knowledge we can move on to actually following football in Europe and the World and OH BOY is there a lot to go over there. By the end of the class hopefully you'll be able to pick up following the current European leagues and look forward to future international cups and competitions.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Interest in learning about football/soccer or any interest in sports.

X14285: Beginner's Crochet
Difficulty: **

Want to make a scarf or hat to keep you warm this winter or give to a friend for the holidays? Do you ogle cute stuffed amigurumi? Try crocheting, one of the most accessible types of yarn craft! Intended for beginners, intermediate students also welcome if they want to learn something new or just hang out and relax.

Unfortunately, due to the online nature, you do need to bring your own supplies.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Crochet supplies: a hook and some yarn. Find these at Walmart, Joanns, Michaels or another local crafting store!

X14199: Gaming the System
Difficulty: **

Heads or tails? The immortal question that has followed our lives from playgrounds to the workplace. You might think your answer to this question doesn’t matter- 50/50 odds after all- but it does. From penalty kicks to hurricanes to even coin flips, everything in nature that seems random really isn’t. In this class, we look at the facts and statistics and break it down for you, showing you how to take advantage of this to “beat” our everyday lives and even make some money along the way.


Class Style
Lecture

X14267: Alpine Skiing!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: David Merchan

Calling all skiers (pros, weekend warriors, or winter Olympics watchers): MIT has a ski racing team! Come learn how, mathematically, the fastest way around poles down a ski hill is not to travel in straight lines, but sick carves. Wouldn't it be cool if we could ski near MIT in the summer, on, I don't know, a glacier? Do you know the rules of GNAR! If Nordic skiing is more your thing, Norwegian military skis provide the best of both worlds.


Class Style
Seminar

X14287: The Magic of Macaron-Making
Difficulty: *

Are you tired of paying too much for cookies too small? Have you tried to make macarons only to be greeted by a tray of cracked shells, soggy cookies, and sadness? Come join us for a foolproof macaron recipe (with a nut free alternative for those with allergies!) and the tricks we’ve learned over the years!

(Students must provide their own oven and ingredients, a list of which will be provided.)


Class Style
Activity

X14324: Chess for First Time Players
Difficulty: *

“Every chess master was once a beginner.” – Irving Chernev

This course is designed to give first time players an introduction to chess fundamentals. We will begin by going over the rules of the game, then we will cover some basic endgames, tactics, and briefly discuss opening theory. We'll end the day by having our own online tournament!


Class Style
Lecture

X14365: Intro to Puzzle Hunts
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


Social Studies

[ Return to Category List ]

Z14221: The History of Your Genetic Information
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jenny Gao, Janice Tjan

The most personal type of data you can own is your genetic information. As sequencing becomes more common, your genome has become more accessible to you, researchers, the government, and companies looking to make a profit. Is your genome worth keeping private? Are there ways to protect it?

This class will address these questions by delving into how genetic information has been utilized and exploited in recent history.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
No knowledge of Biology required.

Z14253: Introduction to Positive Disintegration - Part 1
Difficulty: ***

Dr. Kazimierz Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD) provides a lot of explanations for why some of us feel as if we fit into this world so poorly.

In this session, we will explore the basics of TPD, including OverExcitabilities, Dynamisms, and Levels of Development of personality.

So, if you are looking for alternate explanations for why some things bother you far more than they bother most folks, join us!


Class Style
Seminar

Z14316: Paradoxes of Democracy: Fair Elections & Voting
Difficulty: **

What if, in hypothetical two-way races during the 2020 primaries, Biden beats Sanders, Sanders beats Warren, and Warren beats Biden? Is this even possible? (Yes.) What would then be a fair way to decide the "best" preferences of Democrats? Whether it's a T-shirt design contest or a presidential election, voting converts preferences of individuals into a single preference for the community. We'll discuss Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, which states that there is no "perfect" way of doing so. We'll demonstrate a few of the mind-boggling flaws that every voting method must have.


Class Style
Lecture

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

Z14197: Systemic Racism in Healthcare and Social Determinants of Health
Difficulty: **

This is an installment of the MIT Global Health Alliance Splash Lesson series focused on structural racism and it's impact on social determinants of health, access to healthcare, and bias impacting quality of health. Want to learn more about global health? Why does it matter now? Besides COVID-19, what are other questions about global health and pressing challenges we need to address? Check out our other classes as well: The Digital Global Health Crisis: Social Media and Mental Health, Defining Global Health in 2020.


Class Style
Discussion

Z14198: Defining Global Health in 2020
Difficulty: **

This is an installment of the MIT Global Health Alliance Splash Lesson series focused on an introduction to global health and the pandemic's impact on it. Get ready to have discussions about why it is important to remedy healthcare disparities. Why does it matter now? Besides COVID-19, what are other questions about global health and pressing challenges we need to address? Check out our other classes as well: Systemic Racism in Healthcare and Social Determinants of Health and The Digital Global Health Crisis: Social Media and Mental Health


Class Style
Discussion

Z14250: Non-linear Thinking in a Linear World
Difficulty: **

Does doing one thing at a time drive you batty? Do people frequently tell you to pay attention or to 'stay on topic?' Do you think in pictures instead of words? Does the whole "You have to do it in the right order" concept bother you? Join us for an exploration of the How's and Why's of non-linear thinking. We'll talk about how to recognize and develop strengths, not just how to 'fit in.'


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
Open-mindedness.

Z14294: Us vs Them: The Psychology of Prejudice
Difficulty: **

How do humans learn to discriminate? Why are we loyal to groups, whether it be our family, school, country, or home sports team?

Discover the psychological insights into human divisiveness: we'll discuss stereotyping, implicit biases, social identity, and more, and apply this knowledge to key case studies and current events.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None! Just an open mind.

Z14317: The Life of Shelter animals
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Michelle He, Lin Hou

There are millions of pets being abandoned and sent to shelters. Globally, there are over 200 million stray dogs. According to ASPCA, there are about 6.5 animals being sent to shelters every year in the US. Over 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (‘good death’) every year, while 3.2 million may get adopted. In China, due to the lack of formal shelters, there are millions of street animals in cities and country sides. Local organizations and many individuals spent years trying to save them from harm and death. In this class, you will learn about the lives of animals in US shelters and globally, some statistic and facts, and watch some videos (some maybe heartbreaking…), and about their future.


Class Style
Seminar

Z14214: History of Ballet: 1900-Present
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jessica Oehrlein

This class will cover the past century of ballet, focusing on the westward spread of Russian-style classical ballet, the establishment of new major ballet traditions in England and the United States, and the rise of contemporary ballet. We'll look at photos and video and discuss as a class how different techniques and styles emerged in different parts of the world. We'll also talk about where ballet is headed now.


Class Style
Discussion

Z14266: Introduction to Criminology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Steven Swee

In Among Us terms, beyond saying "Red Sus," perhaps another question we should ask is why did red kill in this particular location and time?

In formal terms, beyond asking the question, "Who dun it?," perhaps another question that we should ask is why do people do crime?

This class dives into some criminological theories to get a better understanding of why people perform such deviant behavior.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
No strict prerequisites, but an interest in crime and in psychology will make this class more enjoyable!

Z14180: Climate Change and Public Policy
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Andrew Lopreiato

Are you concerned about climate change but unsure exactly what public policy can do about it, or what the government currently is doing? Here's your chance to learn! We'll start with what economics tells us is the best way to reduce emissions, explore the benefits and challenges of that approach, and look into different variations of it. We'll go through what state governments and the federal government are already doing to reduce emissions in the US, and the main proposals for what they should do going forward.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None

Z14361: How to Win an Argument
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jonathan Haber

Interested in learning the tools of critical thinking and how they can be applied in school, in politics and in life? This short course will introduce you to the tools of argumentation: how to create convincing and compelling arguments, and how to know when what you're being told is valid or bunk.


Class Style
Lecture

Z14179: Good and Evil in Superhero Comics
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 and watch clips from superhero movies. 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

Z14297: Linux's Moral Kernel
Difficulty: *

In the “long 60s” and early 70s, a new technology was fundamentally changing the way people thought, and fundamentally changed by the way people had been thinking. The early adopters of the computer formed new subcultures around this new technology, and participatory hacker culture flourished. As Marshall McLuhan states, the medium is the message, and that dictum applies here: in this class, we will delve into how the medium of technology affected hacker cultures (like the early days of Unix, the infamous MIT hackers, and the Cult of the Dead Cow) and the new left, laying the groundwork for the open-source software community. Because of these movements you have access to incredible software written by thousands of people for free—join us to learn more!


Class Style
Lecture

Z14257: Fashion in Everyday Life
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Shakira Acosta

Fashion is all around us, but how exactly does it affect us? In this course, we will be diving deep into the meanings of different types of fashion, and also the cultural significance behind them.


Class Style
Lecture

Z14149: Help solve climate change
Difficulty: **
Teachers: John Gage

From climate science we know the technical changes that are needed for a relatively safe climate future: reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and drawdown CO2 in the air to 350 ppm well before 2100. From economics we know that when pollution is free we get too much of it, but climate pollution is still free in most countries. Economists say that the cheapest and fairest way to address the problem is to put a steadily increasing price on climate pollution when it enters the economy, give the money collected to the third party being harmed (all households equally), and use border adjustments to push our price around the world.

A strong carbon price signal will incentivize efficiency, innovation, transition, and drawdown. It sounds so easy! What's preventing us from fixing this? Is it possible to break the logjam and save ourselves? Can any of us do anything to help solve this, the biggest existential crisis human civilization has ever faced? Yes we can. Come find out how, play a Kahoot, and take action in a pivotal moment in the history of mankind.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Watch https://youtu.be/9oyguP4nLv0

Z14254: The Psychology of Learning
Difficulty: *

How do we know what we know? How can we unlock our potential as students and lifelong learners? We will learn about how we grow and acquire new knowledge. Learning about inter workings of the brain can give us insightful and unexpected strategies for learning. We will explore these strategies to help you develop your mindful journey as a lifelong learner.


Class Style
Lecture