Beyond IQ

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Upcoming events

    • 28 Jan 2019
    • 13 May 2019
    • 15 sessions
    • Online
    • 12
    Register

    In Part 2, we’ll continue our study of the science and literature of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. We’ll work on improving our own abilities as rationalists, and exploring the ideas behind humanism as well. We will move a little more quickly through the chapters than we did in part 1, as the science isn’t quite as dense, so be prepared to read more each week.

    Because the science isn’t as dense, the storyline gets richer, and departs more from the original books. We will spend less time doing direct comparisons to the original text, though topics will crop up from time to time, and more time focused on how these characters grow, what puzzles they are presented with, and where it all might be leading. Also, we’ll start seeing some comparisons to other works as well.

    Major themes in this section include geek references, friendship and trust, definitions of evil and morality, beliefs about death, and "the game."

    We will complete “books” 2 and 3 of HPMOR, or Chapters 23-64 of the entire book.

    As before, science is more than a set of facts. We will work to expand our scientific thinking.

    Total class time is 15 sessions.  Please note, class will not meet on April 22nd.

    All times are U.S. East Coast. 

    Students will have access to class recordings the day after each class.

    Syllabus:

    Chapters are indicated first by individual book chapter number, then by complete text chapter number. 

    Day 1 – Purposeful Complexity

    Introduction to main themes of the course, Punnet Squares and heritability, DNA, natural selection vs intelligent engineering, chromosonal crossover, belief in belief,  evolutionary origins of human intelligence, The Tragedy of Light, the relationship between rationality and science, chimpanzee politics, Norman Maier and problems vs solutions, Robyn Dawes and hard problems, brainstorming, Harry testing his hypotheses, and why is that third chapter written in that order anyway?

    Book 2, chapters 2 (23), 3 (24), and 4 (25)

    Day 2 – Dissociative Talent

    Physics of heat transfer, the power of prophecy, diversification, Douglas Adams on impossible and improbable, the concept of noticing confusion, The Massacre of Albania in the 15th Century, Roger Bacon, understanding others/empathy, the puzzle of what the Weasley twins did, levels of deception

    Book 2, chapters 5 (26) and 6 (27)

    Day 3 – Logically Impossible

    Reverse engineering, nanotechnology, carbon nanotubes (buckytubes), geosynchronous orbit, covalent bonds, societal expectations at different ages, quantum mechanics and timeless physics, parietal cortex, veil of Maya, seven point alchemal diagram, conspiracy theories and Lee Harvey Oswald, in-depth character contrasts

    Book 2, chapters 7 (28) and 8 (29)

    Day 4 – The Enemy’s Gate is Sideways

    So many geek references that it gets listed here as a topic, Robbers Cave experiment, analysis of the leaders’ speeches, analysis of the leaders themselves, using experimentation to prepare for battle, role of women, role of confusion in rationalism, knowing your audience

    Book 2, chapters 9 (30), 10 (31), and 11 (32)

    Day 5 – Learning Far too Fast

    Again with the geek references, Procopius and chariot racing, Everto and conservation of mass, Franz Ferdinand and WWI, Prisoner’s Dilemma, morality and governments, Newcomb’s Problem, recursion, autoimmune disorders/clever viruses/the battle, understanding that point system, speech analysis and politics, fasces and fascists, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, democracy and elections,

    Book 2, chapters 12 (33), 13 (34) and 14 (35)

    Day 6 – Toys? I Love Toys!

    International Index Funds/Berkshire Hathaway, code switching, Humean Projectivism, Harry’s thinking on death, parent/child relationships and messages, catching up on anything we’ve fallen behind on at this point.

    Book 2, chapters 15 (36) and 16 (37) – end of book 2.

    Day 7 – The Puzzle that Makes the Scientist

    The Quibbler, Lucius and the Game, evidence to discriminate between possibilities, benefits of note-taking, censorship vs. common sense, definitions of evil, analysis of Voldemort as cunning, the concept of pretending to be wise as pattern completion, inductive proofs, cognitive dissonance, moral development, logical tautologies, death: Harry, Dumbledore, theories in other cultures, near death experiences, brain damage and faith

    Book 3: chapters 1 (38), 2 (39) and 3 (40)

    Day 8 – Look Toward the Painful Thought

    Frontal lobe of the brain, “tiny rump part” of the brain, peregrine falcons, Drago and Hermione, Harry and the dementors, uncontrolled fusion reactors, continuing the conversation about Harry and death

    Book 3, chapters 4 (41), 5 (42), 6 (43), 7 (44), and 8 (45)

    Day 9 –Too Weird for any Normal Plots Confirmation bias – again!, layers of the earth and how we know, Mariana Trench, interpretations of prophecy, angle of incidence/reflection, blue krait, Stalin’s Russia and views on the West, the “I have a dream” speech and white supremacy parallels, language and sentience, analyzing Draco’s story

    Book 3, chapters 9 (46), 10 (47)

    Day 10 – I  Told You to be Nicer!

    Parrot protolanguage – Irene Pepperburg, evolution of language in humans, exponential progressions, scope insensitivity, estimating total blades of grass in the world, defending one’s self vs. being above social conventions, the power other’s perceptions of us have over us, plausible deniability, justification of actions (again), secure passwords, wiping out smallpox

    Book 3, chapters 11 (48), 12 (49), 13 (50), and 14 (51)

    Day 11 – Precious and Irreplaceable

    The Stanford Prison Experiment, geography and Azkaban, memories changing in retrospect, magic resonating, morality and the Azkaban guards, Harry’s way of overcoming cognitive bias, practicing examining and changing our own thinking

    Book 3, chapters 15 (52), 16 (53), 17 (54), and 18 (55)

    Day 12 – Ways to Hide from Death

    Cooling and reviving people, constrained cognition and our own thinking, risk and mathematics, rocket science, Aristotelian vs Newtonian physics, speed and acceleration analysis, terminal velocity, problem solving

    Book 3, chapters 19 (56), 20 (57), 21 (58), and 22 (59)

    Day 13 – Sensibilities Less Offended by the Dark Lord

    Theories on criminal justice, Quirrell’s politics (again), the paradox in this part, Harry’s questions, Newton’s third law, cryptography, what is a “muggle artifact”?, Dumbledore’s methods, Harry and Quirrell’s similarities and differences, being unlike children your own age, war/dementors/our own weapons

    Book 3, chapters 23 (60), 24 (61), and 25 (62)

    Day 14 – 3 out of 40 Subjects

    The sun’s life expectancy, following all the reasoning here using Bayesian logic, fractal structures, scarcity effects, proton decay, sunk costs vs. moral actions, cost benefit calculation, Milgram revisited and evolutionary psychology, being the 3 out of 40, the person you truly are

    Book 3, chapter 26 (63)

    Day 15 – Understand

    Sharing our assignment work, practicing our rationality, and catching up on anything still needed.

    Assignments:

    1: This is a group assignment – work to create an encyclopedia of geek references in HPMOR.  Contribute the ones you know, look things up to help if you suspect something.

    2: Create your own battle, using a scientific/neuroscience/social science topic as a plot device.  (Write, or outline, or whatever works for you).

    3: Cognitive Bias assignment (to be explained later)

    4: Criminal Justice assignment (to be explained later)


    • 28 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 13 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    • 3
    Register

    Mathematics courses often teach students how to solve problems, use algorithms, and number crunch.  Mathematical proofs are often taught in Geometry, with a focus on form and exact detail over the elegance and excitement of deep understanding.

    Our Special Topics and Mathematical Explorations courses teach students how to pose problems, develop algorithms, explore ideas, prove (both formally and informally) their methods and ideas work, and propose next steps.  Students can use the skills learned in these classes to stretch their regular math curriculum, challenge their assumptions about mathematics, and truly think like a mathematician.

    This course explores ideas in geometry, where they come from, how to come up with your own, how to apply them in interesting situations, and how to pose problems and think deeper.  It is not based on your typical high school geometry course – the concepts we play with are usually taught prior to high school geometry, or are not part of the standard curriculum at all.  The course is not intended to replace a typical curriculum, but rather to deepen and extend, to introduce new ideas, and to foster mathematical thinking. 

    We’ll look at the reasons behind the formulas and relationships you may already know, and largely derive them ourselves.  We’ll think about shapes and figures deeply, considering how one would have to approach unknown shapes to determine their formulas, working on developing a spatial awareness and geometric reasoning rather than knowing and applying formulas.  We will then explore making changes to the shapes (in two or three dimensions) and how we can change the formulas to deal with our new figures.  We will design nets for the 3-dimensional figures, both to help improve our spatial awareness and to help us figure out the surface area.  We’ll stretch everything as we go into non-euclidean spaces as well.

    Students will do best in this class if they have done basic geometry formulas in the past – area, perimeter, surface area, and volume of the basic shapes.   Variables will be used in this class, but not beyond the pre-Algebra level except for extra extensions and challenge work.

    Syllabus is subject to change based on student interests and abilities.

    One should not look at the syllabus and expect it to be too easy if you’ve encountered these topics before.  The approach and the depth of the problem solving will engage even experienced geometer. 

    PrerequisitesNone

    All times are in Pacific Time.  There will be one break week.

    SYLLABUS:  subject to change based on student interests and abilities

    Week 1: Introduction – Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, the concepts of plane and space, what we’ll be doing, concept of axoims, postulates, etc.  Is geometry an invention or a discovery? 

    Week 2: Area and perimeter formulas: deriving the why behind the formulas we have, do those still work in non-euclidean geometries, problem solving with our formulas/understanding. 

    Week 3: Triangle Inequality Theorem – deriving it, using it, applying it to polygons with more sides, considering if it works in non-Euclidean geometries.  

    Week 4: Pythagorean Theorem Proofs and problem solving – deriving it, exploring interesting ways of proving it, using it to help us approach the formulas we already know differently. 

    Week 5:  Exploring shapes without simple formulas, including irregular shapes – pose problems about these. 

    Week 6: Similarity and congruence, and using it to solve problems, pose problems 

    Week 7:  Angles, transversals, deep and extended problem posing and solving, non-Euclidean ideas 

    Week 8:  Exploration of nets: Finding nets in pentominoes, drawing nets of rectangular prisms in many different ways. 

    Week 9 Prisms – right and oblique – nets, surface area, volume – how do we change  a solid and how does that impact the formulas we know? Extended problem solving. 

    Week 10: Pyramids – right and oblique, deriving the formula for volume, pyramidal frustums.  Introduction to using limits. 

    Week 11: Cylinders, cones, and spheres – deriving formulas for surface area and volume,  exploration of nets. Conic frustums, spheric sections.  Further use of limits. 

    Week 12: Platonic and Archimedean solids.  Naming conventions, surface area and volume concepts. 

    Week 13: Surface area and volumes of unusual shapes 

    Week 14: Further explorations – extended problem solving, other ideas that have arisen during class 

    Week 15: Sharing of projects and wrap-up.


    • 28 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 13 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Registration is closed

    Kazimierz Dabrowski, a Polish psychiatrist, developed a theory that explains why you can't hold still, why things that are unfair bother you more than anybody else, why it seems to you that everybody else seems to have shallow emotions and reactions, and why your mere existence (or the world's) is enough to make you depressed! Curious? Come learn about Overexcitibilities, Dynamisms, and how disintegration can be positive!


    Description

    Dr. Kazimierz Dabrowski was a Polish psychiatrist and psychologist who, when he was young, observed that different people suffered more and less in response to the same stimuli and wanted to figure out why. The first result is the OverExcitabilities (OEs), which many parents of gifted children have recognized in them (and in themselves, tbh), but this is just the tip of this intricate personality development theory.


    In this course, we will study Dabrowski's Theory, its strengths and weaknesses, and how it may apply in our lives and in those of the people we love. We'll consider the Levels of Development and the Dynamisms that facilitate our growth through those levels. And we will look more deeply at the OEs, both how they interact and their role in the rest of the Theory.


    Syllabus

    Week   Topic  
    1 – Jan 28  Introduction and Overview: Why does anybody care?!
    2 - Feb  4  Overexcitabilities
    3 - Feb 11  Dynamisms
    4 - Feb 18
     Levels 1 & 2: Primary Integration and Unilevel Disintegration
    5 - Feb 25
     Level 3: Spontaneous Multilevel Disintegration
    6 - Mar  4
     Level 3 (continued)
    7 - Mar 11  Level 4: Organized Multilevel Disintegration
    8 - Mar 18
     Level 5: Secondary Integration – is it possible?
    9 - Mar 25
     Review
    10 - Apr 1  Multilevelness of Emotions & Instinctive Function, Part 1: Emotions
    11 - Apr 8
     Multilevelness (etc.), Part 2: Case Studies 
    12 - Apr 15  Multilevelness (etc.), Part 3: Instinctive Functions
    13 - Apr 22  Autopsychotherapy and Developmental Psychotherapy
    14 - Apr 29  Developmental Psychotherapy (continued)
    15 - May 6  Review and Next Steps
     - May 13 -  Potential Makeup Day

    All topics subject to change, based on class feedback.
    MATERIALS
    We will rely heavily on "hand-outs" and website materials, but students are encouraged to purchase Personality Shaping by Kazimierz Dabrowski (ISBN: 069242749X). It's $10 in the Kindle edition and is currently free to Kindle Unlimited members.
    • 28 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 13 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    What do you mean by those numbers?  Do they say what you're trying to tell me they say?  Are you hiding something?  Where did they come from anyway? 

    In a world filled with data, one of the most important skills we can develop is thinking critically about that data - finding the inherent bias in all data.  We are going to interrogate data!

    We will look at many example of data in all it stages, mostly real, some crafted to demonstrate the issues that can arise. We will read How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff (available free online). Students will try their hands at the art of data manipulation. Students are not expected to have prior knowledge of statistics – content required to understand manipulation will be taught alongside the actual manipulation, however, the focus of the course is on the bias and manipulation over the content itself, so students who come with no statistics background may find they need to work more outside of class on the material. Students will learn how to collect, analyze, represent, and interpret data, but the focus is on how bias is introduced when we do this, and how to ask questions of data to try to determine what the truth really is.  This class will be heavy in discussion, with accommodations made for students who prefer to take more time to think before responding.  

    PrerequisitesNone

    All times are in Pacific Time.  There will be one break week.

    SYLLABUS:

    Week 1: Introduction to statistics, pre-assessment, discussion of “What is fair?” 

    Week 2: Questionnaires, leading questions, question order, background information 

    Week 3: Sampling methods, why sampling is important, when sampling goes wrong 

    Week 4: Science and data gathering – the importance of the control, changing a single variable, basic experimental design 

    Week 5:  The concept of “average” – mean median, mode, when to use each, when to be sure which one you’re hearing 

    Week 6: Data analysis beyond the average – other methods of crunching the numbers, what they mean, and what they don’t.  Margin of error. 

    Week 7:  Graphs week 1 – ways to display those numbers that trick the eyes! 

    Week 8:  Graphs week 2 – more ways to make those numbers look all out of whack! 

    Week 9 The semi-attached figure – getting people to think what you want by showing them something else. 

    Week 10: Post hoc ergo propter hoc – correlation vs. causation 

    Week 11: Logical fallacies continued – a look at other logical fallacies and how they can impact thinking about data and statistics. 

    Week 12: Statisculation – a review of some of the other nasty things people can do, sometimes without even realizing it! 

    Week 13: Summary of talking back to a statistic, development of steps to ensure you have examined a statistic well. A chance to really tackle some good examples! 

    Week 14: A week built in to go off on tangents that arise, make-up anything we fall behind on, or explore something the students wish to explore. 

    Week 15: Wrap up discussion, sharing of projects.


    • 28 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 13 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Registration is closed


    Course Description

    Hey! I'm supposed to be getting $10/hour! How come my check is for $287.46? You need HOW MUCH?!? to retire? Can I really save a million dollars?!? I found a great apartment and awesome roommates! Can I afford it? What should I know about my roommates? They seem nice and that's enough, right? Taxes? Everyone is talking about what they are doing with their refund, how do I get mine? What do you mean my account is overdrawn? I still have checks!

    These topics and many more will be covered as we touch on all the ways money affects the lives of responsible (and irresponsible) adults. We will talk about earning, saving, spending and investing $$$$. Budgets, borrowing, credit reports, taxes, retirement accounts, charitable giving, etc. Job applications to rental agreements we'll talk about the $$. We'll work with real world numbers for several different life stages and economic classes. All ages welcome, adults too! Please sign up for a class with your age range as I do have a somewhat different focus with students 14 and younger than with those closer to financial independence.

    Recommended Age Range: 

    15+

    Syllabus

    Session 1:  Introduction and overview

    Session 2:  Income – Career choices and finding work

    Session 3:  Budgeting – What can I afford? Housing, transportation, food

    Session 4:  Budgeting – What can I afford? Taxes and Savings

    Session 5:  Banking and Investing – What sort of accounts do I need?

    Session 6:  Borrowing – ‘good debt’ vs. ‘bad debt’

    Session 7:  Saving and investing for short and long term goals

    Session 8:  Investing – stocks, bonds, real estate

    Session 9:  Taxes – new law, same basic system

    Session 10: Other “adulting” – registering to vote, registering a car, getting birth certificates and official identification, obtaining property information.

    Session 11: Credit and credit scoring – qualifying for a mortgage or car loan; renting an apartment – roommates as financial partners.

    Session 12: Q&A for budget project; using online resources to estimate for your budget.

    Session 13: Insurance: car insurance, rental and homeowner’s insurance, health insurance, and life insurance.

    Session 14: YOUR topic – what do you want to learn more about? Tell me and we’ll dive in more depth from the topics above or into your special interest topic.

    Session 15: Presentation of individual budgets and plans.




    • 28 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 13 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    Welcome to Fantasy.  This genre of literature tries to explore what the world would be like if there were magic in the world, in one form or another.  Whether fantasythat comes from powers that an individual (magicians, witches, sorcerers, etc.) has; the presence of divergent beings (elves, gnomes, changelings, etc.), strange animals (unicorns, gryphons, rocs, etc.), or some other elements, it is the essence of magic that ties them together, usually. Exploring this field -- which may take the form of novels, short stories, essays, movies, TV shows, games, or websites – carries the reader/participant into impossible worlds, often filled with wonders that stretch the imagination.

    Over the course of the term, we will discuss a broad variety of types of fantasy, while reading (hearing), watching, and looking at examples (good and bad) that illustrate those types. With one exception, all materials will be available on line at no cost for people within the United States. I expect that I can make them available for others if they should not be accessible from other countries.

    We will have a few exercises along the way. Any writing or presentations you do will receive feedback. If you are willing, I would like to share it with the class.

    Regardless, the number one goal is to have fun!

    PrerequisitesNone

    All times are in Pacific Time.  There will be one break week.

    SYLLABUS:

    Week 1: Introduction; Discussion of Syllabus; Sub-genres

    Week 2: Just Add Dragons – Alternate Histories born of fantasy; Exercise One: Explaining Technology

    Week 3: The Major Races of Fantasy

    Week 4: Mixing Animals and Humans

    Week 5: Medieval Europe as a Basis for Fantasy; Exercise Two: The Project

    Week 6: Fairy Tales and Mythology

    Week 7: Religion as a Basis for Fantasy

    Week 8: Magic the Destroyer; Magic the Creatorfantasy

    Week 9: What’s Your Fantasy doing on My Alien World?

    Week 10: The Rise of Romance

    Week 11: Urban Fantasy

    Week 12: The Hero’s Journey, Lord of the Rings, and How They Changed the Field

    Week 13: Harry Potter and How He Changed the Field

    Week 14: “Where Do We Go From Here?”

    Week 15: Presentations; Summation


    • 29 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 14 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    Mathematics courses often teach students how to solve problems, use algorithms, and number crunch.  Mathematical proofs are often taught in Geometry, with a focus on form and exact detail over the elegance and excitement of deep understanding.

    Our Special Topics and Mathematical Explorations courses teach students how to pose problems, develop algorithms, explore ideas, prove (both formally and informally) their methods and ideas work, and propose next steps.  Students can use the skills learned in these classes to stretch their regular math curriculum, challenge their assumptions about mathematics, and truly think like a mathematician.

    This course explores ideas in geometry, where they come from, how to come up with your own, how to apply them in interesting situations, and how to pose problems and think deeper.  It is not based on your typical high school geometry course – the concepts we play with are usually taught prior to high school geometry, or are not part of the standard curriculum at all.  The course is not intended to replace a typical curriculum, but rather to deepen and extend, to introduce new ideas, and to foster mathematical thinking. 

    We’ll look at the reasons behind the formulas and relationships you may already know, and largely derive them ourselves.  We’ll think about shapes and figures deeply, considering how one would have to approach unknown shapes to determine their formulas, working on developing a spatial awareness and geometric reasoning rather than knowing and applying formulas.  We will then explore making changes to the shapes (in two or three dimensions) and how we can change the formulas to deal with our new figures.  We will design nets for the 3-dimensional figures, both to help improve our spatial awareness and to help us figure out the surface area.  We’ll stretch everything as we go into non-euclidean spaces as well.

    Students will do best in this class if they have done basic geometry formulas in the past – area, perimeter, surface area, and volume of the basic shapes.   Variables will be used in this class, but not beyond the pre-Algebra level except for extra extensions and challenge work.

    Syllabus is subject to change based on student interests and abilities.

    One should not look at the syllabus and expect it to be too easy if you’ve encountered these topics before.  The approach and the depth of the problem solving will engage even experienced geometer. 

    PrerequisitesNone

    All times are in Pacific Time.  There will be one break week.

    SYLLABUS:  subject to change based on student interests and abilities

    Week 1: Introduction – Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, the concepts of plane and space, what we’ll be doing, concept of axoims, postulates, etc.  Is geometry an invention or a discovery? 

    Week 2: Area and perimeter formulas: deriving the why behind the formulas we have, do those still work in non-euclidean geometries, problem solving with our formulas/understanding. 

    Week 3: Triangle Inequality Theorem – deriving it, using it, applying it to polygons with more sides, considering if it works in non-Euclidean geometries.  

    Week 4: Pythagorean Theorem Proofs and problem solving – deriving it, exploring interesting ways of proving it, using it to help us approach the formulas we already know differently. 

    Week 5:  Exploring shapes without simple formulas, including irregular shapes – pose problems about these. 

    Week 6: Similarity and congruence, and using it to solve problems, pose problems 

    Week 7:  Angles, transversals, deep and extended problem posing and solving, non-Euclidean ideas 

    Week 8:  Exploration of nets: Finding nets in pentominoes, drawing nets of rectangular prisms in many different ways. 

    Week 9 Prisms – right and oblique – nets, surface area, volume – how do we change  a solid and how does that impact the formulas we know? Extended problem solving. 

    Week 10: Pyramids – right and oblique, deriving the formula for volume, pyramidal frustums.  Introduction to using limits. 

    Week 11: Cylinders, cones, and spheres – deriving formulas for surface area and volume,  exploration of nets. Conic frustums, spheric sections.  Further use of limits. 

    Week 12: Platonic and Archimedean solids.  Naming conventions, surface area and volume concepts. 

    Week 13: Surface area and volumes of unusual shapes 

    Week 14: Further explorations – extended problem solving, other ideas that have arisen during class 

    Week 15: Sharing of projects and wrap-up.


    • 29 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 14 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register
    CLASS DESCRIPTION:

    What if you could create a world like Pokemon or Neko Atsume? What if you lived in a place and you were in charge of finding animals for the zoo? What would you do if you had the ability to change the colors of a zebra’s stripes?

    The Character Creation Lab is all about your love of animals, real or fictional. We’ll spend the term talking about the world these animals of yours inhabit (created by you) and you’ll give them a place to bring to life. Whether you’re all about leveling up and battling, showing off animals of a different color of wearing clothes, or if you’re just fascinated by the animals of the world- this class is for you.

    SYLLABUS:

    Class 1: Introductions, A Short Brief on Archetypes, Visual vs. Written Characters

    Class 2: Animals Here on Earth and Why They Matter To You

    Class 3: Setting the Scene- Collection, Battling, Fashion, or Friendship

    Class 4: Growth and Evolution (and not just your character!)

    Class 5: Are Robots and Cyborgs Pets? Are They Important to Your World?

    Class 6: Character Archetype 1- Control. Case Study: Mewtwo

    Class 7: Character Archetype 2- Belonging. Case Study: Penguins

    Class 8: Character Archetype 3- Risk. Case Study: Dragons

    Class 9: Character Archetype 4- Independence. Case Study: Digimon Class

    Class 10: How Do You Care For Your Animals? (Coins, Crests, Hearts, ?) Class

    Class 11: Quick Character Creation Prompts Class

    Class 12: Presentation of Your Creations- Visual and Written (Part 1) Class

    Class 13: Presentations Part 2 and the Research Process Class

    Class 14: Questions From The Audience Class

    Class 15: World Building, Science, and Pokemon (for instance) Class

    Class 16: Updated Presentations and Changes based on feedback

    • 29 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 14 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    CLASS DESCRIPTION:

    Do you love Escape Rooms?  Do you wish you were at MIT each January to join the MIT Mystery Hunt? (http://www.mit.edu/~puzzle/)  Do you love to share your intense interests with others and are intrigued by the idea of crafting a puzzle from your passion?  This is the space we get to do all of that – puzzling, creating, and tying together all our passions into one incredible GHF Puzzle Hunt!

    Puzzle Hunts are made from a set of puzzles that give an answer upon being completed – usually a word or phrase.  Those answers work together in a meta-puzzle that gives a single final answer.  (Or, in more complex hunts, the meta puzzles work together towards a meta-meta puzzle.  Or… yes, it can get complex!)

    By the end of the course, students will have collaborated in making and playtesting our own Puzzle Hunt using techniques for puzzle creation that we will play without throughout the course.  We will also be solving a mini-puzzle hunt and exploring puzzles from the MIT Mystery Hunt – likely from both this year (theme dependent) and previous years.

    Syllabus is subject to change based on progress through puzzle creation and Puzzle Hunt progress.  Students are highly encouraged to explore puzzle hunts and propose changes to our syllabus based on kinds of puzzles they want to explore more deeply.

    Every day will include some collaborative puzzling and puzzle creation.  Homework assignments will be entirely doing and crafting puzzles, and will be important for making the class work.  Expect at least an hour of puzzling a week outside of class.  Students will be able to stretch that to many more if they so choose.

    For more information and example of Puzzle Hunts, look at:

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puzzlehunt

                http://www.mit.edu/~puzzle/ - If you look in the archives, the 2006 MysteryHunt was my introduction to Puzzle Hunts and I still think it was a good hunt!  Last year’s Hunt, based on the movie Inside Out, also shares the kick-off video and has a lot of great puzzles as well.

                http://pandamagazine.com/ - there’s a sampler puzzle at the bottom that you can work on (as a family, if you like!) to give you a sense of how to do a puzzle hunt.  This is what we’ll be shooting for.  We’ll be completing an issue of this magazine together as well.

    SYLLABUS:

    Day 1: Course introduction.  Discussion and sharing of favorite puzzles.  Discussion of issues in crafting puzzles and approaches that help.  Sharing of passions, brainstorming ways to make them into puzzles.

    Day 2:  In-depth look at puzzle hunts and beginning to work on one.  Clue extraction – crafting a simple puzzle with an extractable clue. The importance of flavor text. 

    Day 3:  Introduction to cryptic clues – looking at several different puzzles that use cryptic clues.  Crafting a cryptic clue-based puzzle.

    Day 4: The role of cultural references in puzzling, and identification of references students may wish to include.

    Day 5: Metapuzzles – how they work, beginning to lay out possibilities for our own metapuzzle. 

    Day 6: Focused time for working our way through a puzzle hunt.  Gathering of ideas for our own hunt.

    Day 7: Word puzzles.  Use of language or story to create puzzles, making simple word puzzles, such as word searches, more complex.

    Day 8: Visual puzzles.  The use of images and even video in puzzle crafting.

    Day 9: Creating puzzles based on games (video or board).

    Day 10: Logic puzzles – using or creating your own logic puzzle for a puzzle hunt.

    Day 11:  Puzzlecrafting: Planning out the puzzles that will work together in our Puzzle Hunt. 

    Day 12: Puzzlecrafting part 2:  The importance of playtesting.  Checking in on progress, extra puzzle time.

    Day 13: Exploring additional puzzles based on student requests and needs.

    Day 14: Final coordination of our own puzzle hunt and the one we’re solving together.

    Day 15: Presentation of Puzzle hunt – inviting others to come puzzle with us!


    • 29 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 14 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    Students will learn how the voices of the past changed our present, and how young voices can change the future. Students will explore the impacts of authors of the past by reading excerpts and essays from authors such as Maya Angelou, John Steinbeck, David Foster Wallace, and Margaret Atwood. During in-class exercises, students will also learn to write poetry, fiction, and essays. Class discussions will also look at how young activists have used literature, essays and blogs to focus needed attention on important causes. During the last week, students will put their in-class works together to create an anthology.

    All times are in Pacific Time.  There will be a one week break.

    SYLLABUS:

    Prerequisites: None

    SYLLABUS:

    Week 1: What Matters and Why?

    Weeks 2-3: Poetry

    Week 4: Poetry Writing

    Weeks 5-8: Essays

    Week 9: Essay and Memoir Writing

    Weeks 10-11:  Fiction

    Week 12: Short Stories

    Week 13: Fiction Writing

    Week 14: Voices of Today’s Youth and Finding Your Voice

    Week 15: Work on “Voices of Today,” Anthology

    Assignments, required materials, and other relevant information

    Teacher will supply the poetry, essays, short stories, and novel excerpts to students to read in class.

    There will be three writing assignments: poetry, essay/memoir, and fiction if students need to be finishing the work that they began in class.



    • 29 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 14 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    DESCRIPTION

    Created for students who have completed Introduction to Chemistry, and open to students who understand the basics of the periodic table, atomic and molecular structure, as well as bonding and polarity. Together we will learn to interpret chemical equations. We will engage in tests as we explore what it means for chemical bonds to break, atoms to rearrange, and for molecules to form. I will provide readings as an introduction to the concept that will be covered in class. We will perform in class tests or experiments using harmless household chemicals, with an optional writing portion for each experiment. Most of our source material is provided by the American Chemical Society middle school curriculum.

    PrerequisitesIntroduction to Chemistry or equivalent

    SYLLABUS

    Week 1: A Deeper Look at the Periodic Table of Elements
    Week 2: Molecular & Formula Weights
    Week 3: What is a Chemical Reaction?
    Week 4: Chemical Nomenclature
    Week 5: Forming a Precipitate
    Week 6: Balancing Chemical Equations
    Week 7: Temperature & Rate of a Chemical Reaction
    Week 8: Mole Concept
    Week 9: A Catalyst & The Rate of a Reaction
    Week 10: Using Chemical Change to Identify an Unknown (part one)
    Week 11: Using Chemical Change to Identify an Unknown (part two)
    Week 12: Energy Changes in Chemical Reactions
    Week 13: Ph & Color Change
    Week 14: Neutralizing Acids & Bases
    Week 15: Carbon Dioxide Can Make a Solution Acidic
    Week 16: Review Games



    • 30 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 15 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    Course Description:

    If you want to know more about a topic, what do you do?  Research!

    Research is a systematic way of collecting data, organizing it into meaningful groupings, analyzing it in a consistent manner, and reporting it honestly to others.  We need to do this so others take what we say seriously, and so we can trust that others who research are being straightforward about what they are reporting.

    In this class, we will discuss what it means to do research, how we should do research so we can be ethical and honest, and practice reporting on our findings so that we give credit to sources and share what we know in ways that others can understand and use effectively for future research.

    Recommended Age Range:

    12+ years old

    Prerequisites:

    None

    Syllabus:

    Week 1: Introduction – What is “research”?  Why is research important? What is a “research question”? 

    Week 2: Types of Research – What are different ways that we answer research questions?  What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative research? What are some research methods that can be used, and when is each method useful?

    Week 3: Sources – How do you find good sources for research?  How do you identify inappropriate sources?                       

    Week 4: Bias – What is “bias”?  Why is it bad for research?  Is it always bias if you have a preference or argue for something?       

    Week 5: Credit – How can you give credit to a source that helped you with your research?  Why do we give credit?   What is a citation style?

    Week 6: Qualitative Research - What is qualitative research?  What kinds of questions can it answer? How do we do qualitative research? 

    Week 7: BREAK  (Homework: Ethnographic observation)

    Week 8: Quantitative Research - What is quantitative research?  What kinds of questions can it answer? How do we do quantitative research?

    Week 9: Designing a Research Project - What are the parts of a research project?  How do you write a proposal, and why do you want to do so? 4

    Week 10: Good Practices for Research - Human subjects research, data management

    Week 11: How to Avoid Bad Research - Research misconduct, plagiarism, consequences

    Week 12: How to Share Your Research - How do you explain your research to others?  Does audience matter?

    Week 13: Final Project Start: What is your research question? What will your method be?

    Week 14: Project Proposal: Present your research project proposal and receive feedback.

    Week 15: Research Update: What are you doing in your project?  Have you encountered any challenges? 

    Week 16: Final Project: Student presentations

    • 30 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 15 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    CLASS DESCRIPTION:

    You find yourself at a portal.  You walk through it, and once through, you find yourself on a path.  You choose to follow that path, and along the way you meet companions, face obstacles, and confront villains.  Will you make it to the final destination?

    In this course, you will take a Sketchbook Adventure, one you draw for yourself.  You will draw the door you walk through, your path, the setting, your mode of transportation, characters you meet along the way, and your final destination.  As you do so, you will learn a variety of art principles such as color theory, one-point perspective, shading and highlighting, and more. You will also participate in a rich, encouraging community of learners.

    Are you ready to roll?  Draw? Paint? If so, let’s go!

    PrerequisitesNone, supplies*

    SYLLABUS: is subject to change based on student interests and abilities

    Weeks 1-2:  Portal. During these first two classes, you will meet your classmates, learn about what the class entails, and begin your adventure by drawing the doorway through which you will enter the magical land through which you’ll journey this semester.  What kind of door will you walk through? Draw it with effective shading.

    Weeks 3-4:  Path. Dorothy had her yellow brick road.  You might have a dirt trail, a busy highway, or a river to travel down.  What do you see along the way? What’s in the distance? Flora? Water? Landmarks?  It’s up to you! Express it in one-point perspective.

    Weeks 5-6:  Transportation.  How do you get to where you’re going?  A wagon? A hot air balloon? A llama? In this session, you will experiment with drawing methods of transportation.

    Weeks 7-8:  Characters you meet along the way.  In these classes, you will draw companions who will go along with you on the journey, secondary characters who pop up unexpectedly, and villains who challenge you.  These characters may be human, animal, or imaginary, and you will explore how to render them.

    Week 9-10:  Surprises. What unexpected things appear on your path?  A flood? A rock slide? An unexpected character? Play with putting an unexpected item or person in your artwork.

    Week 11-12:  Refreshment. The journey has been long, and you’re getting thirsty.  Create a resting space. Add water. Learn techniques for rendering water.

    Week 13-14:  Destination. You’ve arrived!  Create a landscape in an intentional color scheme that expresses your reaching your final spot.

    Week 15:  Online Art Show.  Share your artwork with your family and friends!

    *Supplies

    • At least one sketchbook of your choice, whatever type of sketchbook most enhances your creativity.  You may want to create on paper or digitally. Or both!
    • Media of your choice, such as one or more of the following:
      • Graphite pencil
      • Markers
      • Colored pencils
      • Paint (watercolor, acrylic, or oil)
      • Digital app
      • Or anything else.
    • Readiness to learn, and
    • A sense of adventure and fun!


    • 30 Jan 2019
    • 17 Apr 2019
    • 12 sessions
    • On Line
    • 11
    Register

    Lisa Fontaine-Rainen, instructor

    Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a fanfic that begins with the premise that Harry’s aunt Petunia marries an Oxford chemistry professor (rather than Vernon Dursley) and Harry is homeschooled – and has a particular talent for scientific thinking.  Thus the 1600 page fan-fiction re-envisions the Harry Potter story through the lens of a child who engages in scientific and rational thinking.  

    And here’s a bit of honesty.  I don’t read fanfic.  I don’t begrudge it for those who love it – I think it’s a great way to get writing or to explore ideas, but I generally don’t read it myself.  I don’t want to see changes to stories I love.  I had to be dragged into reading this one. 

    And I don’t regret it one bit.  Even if you’re like me and not into fanfic, this one’s worth it.  This one makes me think.  It lets me move through the world I love, examine it through a different lens, laugh at its quirks, love it all the more, and become a better scientist.  Not only do I hope to share it with you, I hope to bring you deeper into the thinking, exploring the story and the premise fully to help you also think rationally, like this version of Harry. 


    In this course we will read the first  “book” of the work and explore the various scientific ideas introduced in the text.  We’ll talk about Harry’s approach to the world, and where it might get in his way.  Our course will weave literature and science, as they have been woven in this text.  We’ll also ask the question about the changes made from the original text – which were driven by an intent to steep the main character in scientific thought and which were not.  Thus, having at least some knowledge of the original Harry Potter texts, or at least the movies, is useful for this course. 

    Some of the ideas presented in the text can be quite dark – much like the original books, but sometimes even more so.  Parents are encouraged to read chapter 1 to get a flavor for the text, and chapter 7 (starting around page 85) as it contains some of the most troubling material that we will address in this class.   Alternatively, feel free to e-mail me directly for excerpts to review, and I’m happy to discuss the content as well. 

    Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a number of assignments that explore the ideas in the course.  These will be flexible and tailored to participants’ interests and abilities.  Other work will be primarily reading the book and supplementary material and participating in discussions in and out of class.  The book is available online for e-readers or to print and as podcasts, all at no cost. 

    Science isn’t a set of facts, but instead a way of thinking.  Come explore the science and the magic of this world.

    All times are U.S. East Coast. 

    Students will have access to class recordings the day after each class.

    Syllabus

    Day 1: Why do I believe what I believe? 

    Introduction to Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (HPMOR), and the basic concept of a controlled experiment.   Discussion – how would the wizarding world yield to science? 

    Ch. 1, in class


    Day 2:  Cats are complicated!  or That’s the most Ravenclaw thing I have ever heard.

    Sufficient Evidence, Conservation of Energy,  Bystander Effect, conscientious objectors, intro to logarithms.

    Ch. 2, 3


    Day 3: It’s a Mathematical Thing or Shaking Hands with a Bad Explanation

                Fermi estimation and money conversion, arbitrage, seigniorage, how to make money by buying and selling money, fiscal prudence, fundamental attribution error, Occam’s Razer, and what is that hilarious thing Draco and Harry are doing anyway?

    Ch 4, 5


    Day 4: Offering an alternative explanation or Trouble Trusting Adults

    Experimentation, the Planning Fallacy, anecdotal evidence, Harry and psychology, scientifically investigating which sentences a human four year old can understand, lift, Bayes’s Theorem, social roles of children and adults.

    Ch 6


    Day 5:  Manipulating Reality or  the Trust, but Verify

    Rules of game design, psychology of reciprocation, manipulation vs. influence, social structures around privilege, politics and the French Revolution, positive or confirmation bias, what does “smart” really mean, experimental design, bystander apathy, desensitisation therapy, consequentialism.

    Ch. 7, 8


    Day 6: Being Aware of my Own Awareness or What Happens if you Fail?

    Reproductive isolation (with a  bit of Star Trek thrown in), sentience (with more Star Trek thrown in), the concept and challenge of sorting people (with a bit of Divergent thrown in), risk and failure, the problem of being placed on a pedestal, an examination of Dumbledore and Quirrell in this version of HP

    Ch 9, 10, 11, Omake File 2


    Day 7: A Metaphor for Human Existence or Ignorant About a Phenomenon

    The Game, Escher (for the uninitiated), doing good things, bullying and psychology, apologizing, antimatter, Gutenberg, anthropic principle, Turing machines, correlation vs causation

    Ch. 12,13


    Day 8: An Unusually Pessimistic Imagination or Most Dangerous Student

    Limits and dividing by zero, competition, safety and transfiguration, comparing coursework between this HP and the other HP, ideas about education and learning, being a creative thinker

    Ch. 14,15


    Day 9: Truly Brilliant Experimental Test or A Fashion Unbecoming a Hogwarts Professor

    Paradoxes, prime numbers and encryption, P and NP, formulating a hypothesis, looking smart, authority, anger as a tool

    Ch. 16,17


    Day 10:Vitally Important Technique or Impulse to Kindness

    How to lose vs. how to fail, representative heuristic, Bayes’s Theorem, Harry’s morality, approaching new ideas, pressure of consistency, Second Law of Thermodynamics, rationalization.

    Ch. 18, 19, 20


    Day 11: A Priceless Opportunity

    Omake file 1 and 3, general discussion, touch on anything we haven’t gotten to yet, discussion of assignments so far.


    Day 12:  Oogely boogely! or Observation

    Looking forward, Chapter 22 (or Book 2, chapter 1), the scientific method, N-Rays, Philip K. Dick, reality, Lake Wobegon effect, Socratic Method, Asch’s Conformity Experiment, heritability, Alfred Tarski, Eugene Gendlin, Sharing our own stuff.




    • 30 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 15 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    Course Description:

    What is science? This class will look at science as a way of knowing the world around us. 

    How is science done? We will discuss how science is done in standard practice and why it is that way.
    Who is science? Who does science? Who can be a scientist?  Are there ways that science excludes some people?  What does this mean for the quality of science that is done?

    When is science? We will also discuss how scientific practices came to be and what science means to society.

    Why is science sometimes controversial? We will discuss why science and other parts of society, like public health and lawmaking or policy can conflict with science.

    Suggested age range:

    11+

    Prerequisites:

    None.

    Syllabus:

    Week 1: Introduction - What is science?  How does science affect us?  What do scientists do?

    Week 2: Defining Science - science vs technology, branches of science, scientific research and practice

    Week 3: Media and Science: How is science portrayed in TV and movies?  Is it accurate? 

    Week 4: Who are scientists?  What do you need to do to become a scientist?

    Week 5: Where did science come from?  History of science across cultures part 1.

    Week 6: Where did science come from?  History of science across cultures part 2.

    Week 7: BREAK  (Homework: Research a culture and something scientific they did)

    Week 8: Exploring fields of science: share what you found out about a type of science!

    Week 9: Science and Technology: How do they affect each other?

    Week 10: Science and Values: How does science affect values?  How do values affect science?

    Week 11: Science and Policy: How does science affect laws and policies?  How do laws and policies affect science?

    Week 12: Science and Controversies

    Week 13: Scientific Careers

    Week 14: Final project: choose your topic, brainstorm

    Week 15: Project update: how is your project going?  Peer feedback and support

    Week 16: Final project presentations - share your project

    • 30 Jan 2019
    • 08 May 2019
    • 15 sessions
    • Online
    • 6
    Register

    Dark Matter.  The Multiverse.  Milton's Paradise Lost. 

    His Dark Materials, a series by Philip Pullman, ties these themes together, alongside concepts of family and betrayal, experimentation, friendship, magic, innocence, and so much more.

    This class extends on the thinking we built together in Scientific and Rational Thought & Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.  Together we will read through the trilogy: The Golden Compass (or Northern Lights), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass.  We'll explore the ideas, big and small, challenge ourselves to bring rationality to it, but also to see deeper into the literary and theological allusions.

    A syllabus is forthcoming.  I have planned for 15 weeks of class.  If this needs to change drastically for any reason, I will only do so with extensive communication with you.


    Thanks for being a part of this, as we continue to think together.

    • 30 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 15 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    • 11
    Register

    Course Description

    Do you love epic adventure stories, book series, movies, fanfic universes? If so, you may have noticed some similarities (along with some major differences) between the stories you love. Joseph Campbell, a well-known 20th-century scholar of mythology, observed those differences too and has claimed that there is an underlying “monomyth” or Hero’s Journey story which is reflected, in various ways, in the stories we love. But is he correct? And are there other ways to view the similarities among our favorite stories? In this course we will take a deep dive into Campbell’s work along with the insights of “stage theory” (Piaget, Erikson, and Kohlberg among others) and Christopher Booker’s work on the “Seven Basic Plots.” We’ll use these tools not only to examine our favorite stories, but also to look at our own personal Stories. Join us on a Quest … or will it be a Rebirth or a Voyage and Return?

    Recommended Age Range:

    13+

    Pre-requisites

    None

    Syllabus

    • 1/30 Week 1 - Intro to the Hero’s Journey and to Stage Theories of personal development

    • 2/6 Week 2 - First sharing session: Participants bring their favorite Hero’s Journey stories

    • 2/13 Week 3 - Introduction to Socratic Seminar process. Seminar based on one or more texts from Week 2. The Seminar Development Cycle, Part 1.

    • 2/20 Week 4 - The Seminar Development Cycle, part 2. Brief student-led Opening and Core 1.

    • 2/27 Week 5 - Mission #1 due and shared (should you choose and have time to accept it).  The Seminar Development Cycle, part 3. Brief student-led Closure.

    • 3/6 Week 6 - 7 Basic Plots overview and instructor-led seminar.

    • 3/13 Week 7 - Second Sharing Session: participants analyze plot structure of that favorite Hero’s Journey story (or another favorite).

    • 3/20 Week 8 - Student-led Seminars based on one or more texts from Week 7. The Seminar Development Cycle, Part 5: Pre-Seminar content and process.

    • 3/27 Week 9 -  Student-led Seminars based on one or more texts from Week 7 (Round 2). The Seminar Development Cycle, Part 6: Post-Seminar process and content.

    • Spring Break 4/3

    • 4/10 Week 10 - Mission #2 due and shared (should you choose and have time to accept it).

    • 4/17 Week 11 - Character archetypes and stage theories. Mission #2 presentations, round 2.

    • 4/24 Week 12 - Third Sharing Session: participants analyze character(s) of a favorite Hero’s Journey story through the lenses of character archetypes and stage theories.

    • 5/1 Week 13 - Mission #3 (full-fledged seminar) presentations, round 1.

    • 5/8 Week 14 - Mission #3 presentations, round 2.

    • 5/15 Week 15 - Remaining Mission #3 presentations; wrap-up and next steps.

    • 31 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 16 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    Course Description:

    Life on Earth is always changing.  Organisms and their environments are always interacting, and that can lead to growth or reductions of populations depending on the conditions.  Because all organisms are linked in an ecology, a small change with one organism could produce big changes in others.  Sometimes this leads to extinction of a species, sometimes this can lead to evolution of new traits that help an organism to survive.  Humans can influence these changes: directly through selective breeding and indirectly through environmental or ecological changes.


    This class will use foundational concepts like ecology, evolution, and taxonomies to examine changes in organism populations and ecosystems.  We will look at natural changes, human-influenced changes, and human-directed changes.  Also, we will discuss conservation and different ways it can be done, as well as ethical concerns about some methods, like zoos and reviving extinct species.

    Recommended Age Range:

    9-12 years old


    Prerequisites:

    None

    Syllabus:

    Week 1: Introduction - How is the natural world changing?  What are topics you are interested in? 

    Week 2: Organisms and Ecosystems - What is an organism? What is an ecosystem?  What is an environment?  How do these interact? Can an organism be an environment?         

    Week 3: Natural Selection - What happens if an environment changes so much that an organism can’t thrive or survive?  How does environmental change happen? Can humans cause environmental change?

    Week 4: Anthropogenic Selection - What are ways that humans can affect organisms?  What are some examples of intentional and unintentional human-generated selection?  Can humans change ourselves?  

    Week 5: Selective Breeding - What are some organisms that humans have intentionally changed over time?  For what reasons have we changed them?  Is it beneficial for the organisms? Is it ethical?

    Week 6: Unintentional Selection - What are some ways that humans have changed the environments of organisms unintentionally?  How have some organisms adapted?

    Week 7: BREAK

    Week 8: Extinction - What does it mean to be extinct?  What does it mean to be threatened?  Are there other ways to describe extinction? 

    Week 9: Conservation - What are things that we are doing to prevent extinctions?  Why do we talk about saving a species?  Do we prefer to save some species over others?        

    Week 10: New Earth - In what ways has the Earth been changed permanently?  What are some permanent changes that have happened in Earth’s history?  What can we do about them?

    Week 11: Issue: Zoos/Habitats - Why are zoos and other human-made habitats controversial?  What are some ways that they help conservation? What are some ways they are not good for organisms?                     

    Week 12: Issue: Genetically Modified Organisms - What are genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?  What are different ways that crops are genetically modified, and for what reasons?  

    Week 13: Issue: Gene Banks and Jurassic Park – What are the benefits and harms of collecting genetic samples to revive organisms in the future?  Should we do this?

    Week 14: Final Project Topic - We will discuss final project topic ideas   

    Week 15: Final Project Research - Come ready to share some research you have done on your topic

    Week 16: Final Project Presentations - This is your opportunity to share your project in a 5 minute presentation.

    • 31 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 16 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    DESCRIPTION

    Each week we will discuss a different aspect of Greco-Roman life, history and myth. The assigned reading for each week is to prepare for the following week's discussion. For example, Week 1's reading is to be completed by Week 2. Most weeks the assigned reading will be from the D'Aulaires' text, and I will include additional source material reading that is optional.

    At the end of the course, each student will present a retelling of a myth of his or her choice. The method of retelling the myth is open and up to them, and can include such approaches as:

    Comic
    Art piece
    Interpretive dance
    Dramatic retelling
    Poem
    Lego construction
    Minecraft storytelling

    Over the last two sessions of class, each student will have 10-12 minutes to share their creation with the class, including why they chose that particular myth and how they see the story as still relevant in modern life.

    Primary Texts:

    D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d'Aulaire and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
    Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan
    Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordangreek myth

    Secondary Text:

    Classical Myth by Barry Powell, Fourth Edition (used is fine)

    Additional Texts:

    The Iliad by Homer
    The Odyssey by Homer

    PrerequisitesNone

    SYLLABUS

    Week 1: Introduction; Myth as Metaphor 
    Week 2: The Greek Origin Story: Gaia and the creation of the world; the war of Zeus and the Titans
    Week 3: The Greek Pantheon: Gods
    Week 4: The Greek Pantheon: Goddesses
    Week 5: The Greek Pantheon: Minor Gods
    Week 6: Heroes and Monsters: Orpheus, Perseus, Theseus
    Week 7: Heroes and Monsters: Heracles, Oedipus, Jason
    Week 8: Heroes and Clever Kings: Midas, Daedalus/Icarus, Sisyphus, Bellerophon
    Week 9: The Iliad: War and the Greeks
    Week 10: The Odyssey: Odysseus and his Adventures
    Week 11: Greek Women’s Stories: Clytemnestra, Cassandra, and Penelope
    Week 12: Roman Myth: The Aeneid
    Week 13: Roman Myth: Ovid's Metamorphose
    Week 14: Soul Becomes Immortal: Apuleius’ Cupid and Psyche
    Week 15: Class Presentations

    • 31 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 16 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    DESCRIPTION

    A proton and a neutron are walking down the street.

    The proton says, "Wait, I dropped an electron help me look for it."

    The neutron says, "Are you sure?" The proton replies, "I'm positive."

    Would you like to understand why chemists find this joke hilarious but ultimately inaccurate? Join us for introduction to chemistry to find out! In our class we'll dive deeply into the concepts of atomic structure, molecular bonding and polarity. We will engage in tests to compare the solubility of substances and discuss the ways matter is constantly interacting all around us. I will provide readings as an introduction to the concept that will be covered in class. We will perform in class tests or experiments, with an optional writing portion for each experiment. Finally, students will write, show or present on a topic discussed in class. Most of our source material is provided by the American Chemical Society middle school curriculum.

    Let's have some fun!

    SYLLABUS:

    Unit One

    Week 1:Protons, Neutrons, and Electrons
    Week 2:The Periodic Table
    Week 3:The Periodic Table & Energy Level Models
    Week 4:Energy Levels, Electrons, and Covalent Bonding
    Week 5:Energy Levels, Electrons, and Ionic Bonding
    Week 6:Represent Bonding with Lewis Dot Diagrams

    Unit Two

    Week 7: Water is a Polar Molecule
    Week 8: Surface Tension
    Week 9: Why Does Water Dissolve Salt?
    Week 10: Why Does Water Dissolve Sugar?
    Week 11: Using Dissolving to Identify an Unknown (part one)
    Week 12: Using Dissolving to Identify an Unknown (part two)
    Week 13: Does Temperature Affect Dissolving?
    Week 14: Can Liquids Dissolve in Water?
    Week 15: Can Gases Dissolve in Water?
    Week 16: Review Games



    • 31 Jan 2019
    • (PST)
    • 25 Mar 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Registration is closed

    Kazimierz Dabrowski, a Polish psychiatrist, developed a theory that explains why you can't hold still, why things that are unfair bother you more than anybody else, why it seems to you that everybody else seems to have shallow emotions and reactions, and why your mere existence (or the world's) is enough to make you depressed! Curious? Come learn about Overexcitibilities, Dynamisms, and how disintegration can be positive!


    Description

    Dr. Kazimierz Dabrowski was a Polish psychiatrist and psychologist who, when he was young, observed that different people suffered more and less in response to the same stimuli and wanted to figure out why. The first result is the OverExcitabilities (OEs), which many parents of gifted children have recognized in them (and in themselves, tbh), but this is just the tip of this intricate personality development theory.


    In this course, we will study Dabrowski's Theory, its strengths and weaknesses, and how it may apply in our lives and in those of the people we love. We'll consider the Levels of Development and the Dynamisms that facilitate our growth through those levels. And we will look more deeply at the OEs, both how they interact and their role in the rest of the Theory.


    Syllabus

    Week   Topic  
    1 – Jan 29  Introduction and Overview: Why does anybody care?!
    2 - Feb    Overexcitabilities
    3 - Feb 5  Dynamisms
    4 - Feb   Levels 1 & 2: Primary Integration and Unilevel Disintegration
    5 - Feb 12  Level 3: Spontaneous Multilevel Disintegration
    6 - Feb  Level 3 (continued)
    7 - Feb 19  Level 4: Organized Multilevel Disintegration
    8 - Feb  Level 5: Secondary Integration – is it possible?
    9 - Feb 26  Review
    10 -   Multilevelness of Emotions & Instinctive Function, Part 1: Emotions
    11 - Mar 5
     Multilevelness (etc.), Part 2: Case Studies 
    12 - Mar  Multilevelness (etc.), Part 3: Instinctive Functions
    13 - Mar 12  Autopsychotherapy and Developmental Psychotherapy
    14 - Mar  Developmental Psychotherapy (continued)
    15 - Mar 19  Review and Next Steps
     - Mar 26 -  Potential Makeup Day

    All topics subject to change, based on class feedback.
    MATERIALS
    We will rely heavily on "hand-outs" and website materials, but students are encouraged to purchase Personality Shaping by Kazimierz Dabrowski (ISBN: 069242749X). It's $10 in the Kindle edition and is currently free to Kindle Unlimited members.
    • 01 Feb 2019
    • (PST)
    • 17 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    You’ve got a project to do. But how long will it take? How do you break it down into parts or can you? How will you balance the time you need to put into doing it with everything else you need to do? What tools are out there that might help you? And where do you start?!

    This is where to start.

    We’ll look at projects for school, but we’ll look at your own goals, too. Want to change the world? Want to clean your room? It turns out that those are less different, conceptually, than you might think!

    One of the critical skills needed for college and life.

    Prerequisites: Having things you want to get done

     All times are in Pacific Time.  There will be one week break.

    SYLLABUS:

    Week 1: Introductions

    Week 2: Your project(s)!

    Week 3: Identification of fixed vs. moving parts

    Week 4: Breaking things down into manageable chunks

    Week 5: Does anybody really know what time it is?

    Week 6: What if it’s too hard? (What if it’s too easy!?)

    Week 7: Tools to make your life easier

    Week 8: Project check-in

    Week 9: Everybody needs an editor (or somebody like that)

    Week 10: It’s too big! Narrowing your focus

    Week 11: Group Projects vs. Working Alone

    Week 12: Project check-in

    Week 13: Whose standards are you working toward?

    Week 14: Polishing your project

    Week 15: Presentations of projects


    • 01 Feb 2019
    • (PST)
    • 17 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    This course is designed for those who already know the rules of the game, but who are looking to understand how to get pieces to work together, how to build plans, and how to convert a winning position into a won game. We will use a variety of online tools and puzzles, while looking at openings, middle games, and end games. Along the way, we will try to have some fun!

    Prerequisites: Knowledge of the rules of chess, experience playing entire games, being a good sport.

    SYLLABUS:


    Week 1: Introduction and Evaluation

    Week 2: The Openings - Part 1

    Week 3: The Openings - Part 2

    Week 4: The Endgames - Part 1

    Week 5: The Endgames - Part 2

    Week 6: The Middle Game - Part 1

    Week 7: The Middle Game - Part 2

    Week 8: The Middle Game - Part 3

    Week 9: Putting It All Together - Part 1

    Week 10: Crafting Puzzles

    Week 11: The Openings - Part 3

    Week 12: The Endgames - Part 3

    Week 13: The Middle Game - Part 4

    Week 14: Evaluation (Putting It All Together - Part 2)

    Week 15: Sharing Puzzles

    (Term is 16 weeks; one of those weeks is a week Break)



    • 03 Feb 2019
    • (PST)
    • 19 May 2019
    • (PDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    Course Description:

    Historical Geology is a course that will change the way you look at the world around you. The course is for anyone who is interested in learning about how the surface and structures of the Earth formed, how life evolved on this dynamic planet, and what the continuing geologic and evolutionary changes mean for life on Earth today. In this course we will become active geologists, using digital versions of the same tools field geologists utilize to study layers of sedimentary rock, and we’ll explore the evidence that supports major geological theories. Students will learn how to read Earth’s geology like pages of a book, and develop their own inquiry-based questions around geologic and evolutionary themes. We will accomplish this by studying real-life examples of rock strata via video, exploring examples of students’ local strata, and investigating iconic rock strata, like that of the Grand Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the United States. Then we'll “time travel” through the eons and eras of geologic history, examining how stratigraphic layers formed throughout geologic time, and how these changes relate to the evolution of life on Earth. A majority of the course will cover the connection between Earth’s evolutionary history and the geological formations that capture the evidence for evolution.

    Class time will consist of discussion with the visual aid of photographs and diagrams, and students will have the opportunity to actively try to decipher the meaning of rock layers and the evolution of groups of vertebrates and invertebrates. Outside of class, assignments will focus on your own local geology, eventually leading to your ability to describe how the land you live on got to be the way it is – and what, if any, fossils are around where you live.

    Recommended Age Range:

    11+ years old

    Prerequisites: None

    Syllabus:

    Week 1: Introduction to class, students, and instructor. What is historical geology? Why take historical geology? What is the human connection to geologic events?

    Week 2: Basic principles of geology: Steno’s Principles, the history of geology, important human beings in geology. Evidence for plate tectonics, sea floor spreading, and orogenesis.

    Week 3: Geology and stratigraphy: What are the major rock types? How do sediments accumulate (Walther’s Law). How do we read layers of sedimentary rocks?

    Week 4: Reading the layers of rocks (continued). The oldest rocks on Earth, reconnect to metamorphic rock and subduction vs. cratonic rock, importance of granite and isotopic readings.

    Week 5: Precambrian (Cryptozoic) Eon: Hadean and Archean Eras – Molten Earth, formation of the moon, beginnings of the oceans and atmosphere. Earliest cyanobacteria and stromatolites in Archean.

    Week 6: Precambrian (Cryptozoic) Eon continued: Proterozoic Era – Stromatolites, oxygenation events, oldest eukaryotes

    Week 7: Early Paleozoic Era – Cambrian, Ordovician

    Week 8: Middle Paleozoic Era – Silurian, Devonian

    Week 9: Late Paleozoic Era – Carboniferous, Permian

    Week 10: Spring Break

    Week 11: Mesozoic Era: Triassic Period

    Week 12: Mesozoic Era: Jurassic Period

    Week 13: Mesozoic Era: Cretaceous Period

    Week 14: Cenozoic Era: Tertiary Period  – Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene Epochs

    Week 15: Cenozoic Era: Quaternary Period – Pleistocene, Holocene Epochs

    Week 16: End of Class Business – Final Presentations


    • 25 Mar 2019
    • 11:30 PM
    • 26 Mar 2019
    • 11:30 PM
    • 1
    Register


Past events

11 Mar 2019 Payment Plan 3
18 Feb 2019 Payment Plan 2
29 Jan 2019 Payment Plan 1
06 Nov 2018 Election Day Math - 1 Hour session
06 Nov 2018 Election Day Math - 1/2 Section Registration
06 Nov 2018 Election Day Math
29 Aug 2018 Scientific and Rational Thought & Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality PART 3
27 Aug 2018 Scientific and Rational Thought and Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
01 Jun 2018 Scientific and Rational Thought & Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality PART 3
27 Apr 2018 Scientific and Rational Thought & Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality PART 2
14 Apr 2018 Girls Do Math - April Fools us with Logic!
03 Apr 2018 Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration - Spring Evening
03 Apr 2018 Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration - Spring Day
08 Mar 2018 Girls Do Math - March, Pi Day Challenges all month long!
26 Jan 2018 Scientific and Rational Thought and Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
24 Jan 2018 Scientific and Rational Thought and Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality PART 2
16 Jan 2018 Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration
16 Jan 2018 Parody and Satire 101
16 Jan 2018 Parody and Satire 101a
30 Oct 2017 Curriculum Modification for Gifted Children
16 Oct 2017 Current Events
08 Sep 2017 Parody and Satire 102
06 Sep 2017 Scientific and Rational Thought and Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
14 Aug 2017 Giftedness and Underachievement
10 Jul 2017 Scientific and Rational Thought and Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
10 Jul 2017