Splash Spring 2021
Course Catalog


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Arts Humanities
Math & Computer Science Science
Walk-in Activity Miscellaneous


Arts

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A96: History of African American Music
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Simone Lewis

This class will provide a brief overview/discussion of the history of African American music from its origins under the conditions of the transatlantic slave trade to the cultural significance of jazz, the widespread influence of blues, the political impact of rap music and more.

A84: The Math and Strategy Behind Figure Skating Scoring
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Diana Zhu

Learn about the math and strategy behind the breathtaking Olympic figure skating routines and how athletes optimize their scores. We will break down famously debated skating events, such as the 2014 Sochi Olympics, to understand what these athletes are doing, how judges calculate final scores and explore the fine balance between risk and reward. No prior knowledge necessary!


Humanities

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H82: How to Build a City
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tess Kelley

How did we switch from living as hunter-gatherers to living in cities? This course explores the rise of some of the first cities around the world, such as Teotihuacan in ancient Mexico and Uruk in ancient Mesopotamia. We will focus on the development of these cities and also talk about the everyday lives of people living in them, from rulers to priests to weavers. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to live in the past, this course is for you!

H88: Thinking Local
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alan Zhang

"Thinking Local" will provide students with an overview of the structure and function of local government in the United States, using Massachusetts as a case study. The course will explain the importance of local politics and how you can take action to make an impact! Finally, the course will also offer some interesting tidbits about local governments throughout the United States.

H97: Global Educational Inequalities and Technology Disparities During COVID-19
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alyvia Bruce

This class will discuss and explore how COVID-19 has shed light on massive educational inequalities and technology disparities throughout the world as well as exploring long and short term solutions. The intended purpose on this class is to show students that people around the world are suffering (most even more after the pandemic than before) and that they—the students—have the power to invoke change, even if it’s in their own communities. This will be approached with a MUN teaching style and students will have the opportunity to debate and discuss the issues presented in order to come up with an actionable plan that they can act on in the coming months to help disadvantaged students in their own communities overcome these educational gaps.

H101: The Blind Spot of the World: Geography of Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Post-Soviet Republics
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ibrahim Mammadov

Have you heard of Turkmenistan? How about Azerbaijan? Ingushetia, maybe? This course is intended to give students the basic cultural, historic, demographic, and political facts (and more!) about the countries of this region, thus enriching the students' understanding of the world. If you want a class on all the "I have heard of it but don't really know much about it" countries, this is the class for you.


Prerequisites
None!

H85: National Park Service
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alma Conway

In this seminar you will learn about the US National Park Service, its specific parks and their ecosystems, and influential key figures like John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, and Steven Mather who helped the Park service begin. Now we can still enjoy natural wonders of the US unmarred- like visiting the Grand Canyon without high-rise apartments and malls all over it. The federal protection of natural wonders and sites of scientific/historic significance was a new idea that has influenced the world. If you like nature, conservation, and history this may be a course for you.


Math & Computer Science

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M98: Taylor Series: Fun and Useful Examples
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Michael Kielstra

You may, during the part of calculus BC when you were being taught how Taylor series worked, wondered what they were good for. We have (some of) the answers! This class will cover a few of the ways in which Taylor series are used in the real world, from physics and environment science to computer graphics.


Prerequisites
Intended for students who have seen Taylor series (have taken some or all of calculus BC). Self-assessment: does (f^(n) x^n)/n! look familiar?

M77: Web Design
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Silin Huang

Web Design teaches best practices for user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design to make your website user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. You will be using Figma to create website mockups and wireframes. Using the practical and creative skills that you obtain in this course, you will enhance your resume/portfolio and establish an online presence. No prior experience required.


Prerequisites
No prior experience required, but please make a Figma account prior to taking this class. Figma: https://www.figma.com/

M104: Puzzles in Probability
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Al Xin

An introduction to probability, including counting, distributions of random variables, expectation, and conditional probability. Content will be structured around interesting problems, such as the Birthday Paradox, the Monty Hall Problem, and the St. Petersburg Paradox. For example, a problem we'll look at is why the average class size reported by the dean and a student at a school will be different.


Prerequisites
Algebra I


Science

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S73: How Important Is Sleep?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Meiyi Yan

We live in a sleep deprived society, and oftentimes, we would sacrifice our sleep for other activities. However, sleep is a fundamental part of our life. We spend a third of our lives sleeping and what benefits does it bring? We will learn about what happens to our body during sleep, the different stages of sleep, and the purpose of each stage. And finally, we will talk about the importance of sleep consistency and how to build good sleep hygiene.

S80: Critical Debates and Perspectives on Decolonizing Science & Technology
Difficulty: *

In recent years, discussions surrounding decolonization of science and technology have surfaced as scientific research and innovation advances. Imperialist ideologies are prevalent in our understandings of science today, and it has contributed to ongoing oppression towards marginalized communities of color across the globe. In this seminar, we will critically engage with these debates, looking at examples in global health and artificial intelligence. The session will include a number of interactive activities, including a brainstorming period for students to find a contemporary issue related to these topics. We will all discuss these questions together and embrace the diversity of perspectives — no prior experience or knowledge of the topic is necessary whatsoever. Just come with an interest and excitement to learn!

S87: Cell City: The World Within Us, The World Around Us
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jeffrey Prince

Every one of us is made up of more than 37 trillion tiny cells. Careful analysis reveals that these cells--small worlds within us--are not so different from the world around us. Every cell has a natural barrier, a postal system for importing and exporting essential goods, power plants, street cleaners, highways, libraries, criminals, a police force, construction workers, and much more. This class will connect the world around us to the one within us as we explore concepts in cell biology in fun and unusual ways. This class is also meant to provide students with the skills that will allow them to on their own make use of real-world models to better understand scientific concepts.


Prerequisites
Loose familiarity with cells could be helpful but is not required!

S99: Fusion Energy, Climate Change, and Environmental Racism
Difficulty: *

Climate change disproportionately negatively affects low-income, people of color. With recent technological advances, fusion will become a viable source of sustainable energy within the next decade, and it is necessary to deliver this energy to the communities that are most vulnerable to climate change. Come learn about the basics of fusion and the social impacts of climate change!

S75: Supernovas of Science: How Women in STEM Revolutionized the World
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Shanivi Srikonda

This class focuses on the wonderful contributions and discoveries made by women in STEM throughout history. STEM has historically been male-dominated while women, and especially women of color, have historically been shut out. By teaching this class I hope to encourage students, regardless of their background or identity, to pursue their STEM passions. Take this class if you are interested in pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and/or if you are interested in learning more about smart women throughout history such as Marie Curie, who won two Nobel Prizes and discovered Radium, and Katherine Johnson, whose equations made it possible for NASA to reach the stars and step foot on the moon. Throughout history, many discoveries have been made by those who were once invisible to us, so this class hopes to give visibility to many of the amazing women in STEM who helped push our boundaries of knowledge to infinity. This class is inclusive of everyone, and we’re looking forward to learning about women in STEM with you!

S76: The Story of Humanity
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Shanivi Srikonda

This class focuses on the story of humanity itself: the transformation from single-celled organisms to the people we are today. This class will be a journey through time — students will be able to get better insight into the different human species that were precursors to H. Sapiens, and how our environment transformed throughout the eons. Students will also learn about the constancies of humanity: our ability to create art, care for one another, and ultimately, leave traces of ourselves behind. Take this class if you are interested in learning more about human history, of discovering where we all collectively come from. The story of humanity is one of resilience and persistence, of venturing into the unknown — if you are enthusiastic about venturing into our past so we might have wisdom for the future, then this class is for you! This class is inclusive of everyone, and we are looking forward to exploring the story of humanity with you!

S79: Exploring biological problems through simulation
Difficulty: ***

Over the last 100 years, computing power has made it possible to simulate a variety of physical processes. In this course, we will study a few classical topics in biology (sequence prediction, bacterial chemotaxis, and protein dynamics) and explore them through simulation using a platform called Google Colab (https://colab.research.google.com/). No prior coding experience is necessary, but we ask that participants create Google accounts beforehand (if they do not already have one) so that they can play with the simulations during the course.


Prerequisites
Calculus recommended; interest in biology.

S89: Basics of Diseases: Understanding What Makes Us Sick
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Triet Doan

Why do we get sick from time to time, and what really causes it? Is there a difference between a cold and the flu? Why is Covid-19 so big if it's just another virus? Through this course, students will be able to understand the biological basics of bacteria and viruses and how they cause diseases. Students will also learn what makes COVID-19 a pandemic-causing virus.

S103: MCB 000: Advances in Super-Resolution and Fluorescence Microscopy
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Scott Hester

We are living in an unprecedented age of biological imaging. Courtesy of the development of genetically-encoded fluorescent proteins and the microscopes that exploit them, a vast wealth of biological dynamics have come to "light". This course will cover a wide range of imaging techniques, with emphasis on those that function below the diffraction limit. After a brief synopsis of the history of microscopy, various techniques such as PALM, STORM, SIM/FIB-SIM, Lattice Light Sheet (with adaptive optics), IsoView, and 2-Photon microscopy will be discussed. Fetal development, cancer metastasis, cellular endocytosis, dendritic arbor formation, neuronal firing kinetics, and single-molecule tracking will be illustrated using these methods.


Prerequisites
An interest in the biological world.


Walk-in Activity

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W86: Product Design
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kevin Huang

Products are everywhere, and many are seamlessly integrated in our daily lives. But many are terribly designed and suck.

As a future leader, how can you build products and create experiences that make a difference? This interactive course will equip you with frameworks to uncover problems and effectively break down obstacles.

While this is a crash course in Product Design, you'll be walking away with a simple structure that can be applied to solve many problems.


Miscellaneous

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X74: The Psychology Behind Habits Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Meiyi Yan

Habits are a crucial part of our daily lives. Oftentimes, our habits are so ingrained into ourselves that we do them without a second thought. But how are habits formed? How can we build good habits and break out of bad ones?

X78: Tax Return Preparation
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Silin Huang

Knowing how to file taxes is an essential life skill, but it is usually not taught in high school. Tax Return Preparation will use simulated tax return accounts and scenarios to teach you how to prepare tax returns. After this class, you will understand the basics of tax law, how to file your taxes, and how to become a certified VITA/TCE tax return preparer in your community. No prior experience required.


Prerequisites
No prior experience required. Please make a Tax Return Practice Lab account prior to taking this class. Tax Return Practice Lab Password: TRAINPROWEB Tax Return Practice Lab: https://vita.taxslayerpro.com/IRSTraining/en/Account/Access

X81: Citizen Science and the Digital Humanities
Difficulty: **
Teachers: John Schaefer

A comprehensive introduction to citizen science and the digital humanities. Citizen science is the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public. This allows folks from diverse backgrounds to collaborate with professional scientists! We will learn about how to participate in citizen science projects, and how the methods and digital tools of citizen science can be applied to the humanities (art, literature, history, etc.).

X83: Impact of COVID-19 on K-12 Education
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zoya Surani

COVID-19 conversations are all around us. How has COVID-19 affected your education? This course will go over the impacts of COVID-19 on K-12 education globally and also allow for time to reflect on your own experience. How has your K-12 education been impacted by COVID-19? How do the impacts of COVID-19 on K-12 education differ between the U.S. and developing countries? What ideas do you have when schools reopen to address the achievement gap and educational inequities?

These are all questions you will learn to answer in this course.

X90: Digital Campaigns and Climate Justice
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jett Zhang

Climate change is an existential threat to our society. The fight for climate justice, led in the US by groups such as the Sunrise Movement and globally by groups such as Fridays for Future acknowledges the destruction of nature and the disproportionate effect of climate change on historically marginalized communities, including people of color, LGBTQIA+, etc.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced these groups to shift many of their protests online. How can organizers for climate justice run campaigns that are effective, online? Can you build genuine people power online? This class will look at the key elements to building a digital advocacy campaign, using theories from community organizing.

X95: Uncovering Dark Corners of Human Psyche: Introduction to Abnormal Psychology.
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Truong Nguyen

It is estimated that around 988 million people in the world had some form of mental or psychological disorders in 2018. One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. The cost of these psychological disorders, both in terms of personal suffering and socioeconomic burden, is astronomical. As long as psychopathology remains the stuff of myth and legend, rather than a target for empirical, scientific investigation, then we have little hope for preventing and treating these devastating disorders. So, throughout the course of the seminar, you will have the chance to become cartographers of the human psyche and mapping out these various forms of psychological disorders, and examine them broadly. We will try to understand what these disorders are (Description and Diagnosis) their causes (Etiology and Pathophysiology), and how best to treat them (Treatment).

X102: Start a start-up
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Lucas Chu

Ever had an idea that you wish existed?

In this hour, you'll learn a little about the why, when, how, what, where, and who of startups.
Tentative Plan:
0-5: Introductions
5-15: Improv pitching
15-30: Best practices
30-40: Breakout rooms
35-50: 2 minute pitches
50-60: Judging and Next steps