Ready to Plan Your EXPLO at Yale Experience?
At EXPLO, we believe learning mirrors life — full of questions, tensions, and worthwhile digressions in an ever-changing world. The courses and workshops at EXPLO at Yale are your opportunity to immerse yourself in subjects that you are curious about, and want to explore in a deep and meaningful way.
Students who attend EXPLO at Yale enroll in two 3-week courses each session. Courses in the 100s meet during the first academic period, and courses in the 200s meet during the second academic period. As part of the registration process, you will select and rank your top six (6) preferences of 100-numbered courses and your top six (6) preferences of 200-numbered courses.
Download the 2018 Course & Workshop Listings (PDF) for course numbers, selection tips and more.
When actors and directors work from the same frame of reference, they deliver powerful performances. We will analyze and interpret a variety of scripts, breaking each scene and dialogue sequence into beats. In small director/actor groups, you’ll both direct and perform selected scenes, with focused attention on line delivery, intent, story, and action. By both performing and directing, you’ll discover how different directors’ perspectives can completely alter the meaning of a script, and how an actor’s performance can bring a script to life. Whether you’re stepping on stage for the first time or looking to hone your chops, you’ll get the opportunity to not only explore the crafts of acting and directing, but also stage a final performance that all of EXPLO will be invited to see.
Note: Students will not be able to enroll in both the Acting + Directing course and the Acting Workshop.
Every gamer knows that exciting graphics, detailed characters, and seamless animations are essential to creating a realistic and engaging gaming experience. With Autodesk Maya — the Professional 3D animation software used to create massive AAA titles like Uncharted and Ratchet & Clank, you’ll be introduced to the tools and technical skills necessary to bring your concepts to life. In this course, we’ll explore the 12 Principles of Animation as you work through the development of your game hero from initial concepts to a fully-developed, expressive character. We’ll start with classic animation exercises in 2D such as the bouncing ball to practice core principles like arcs and squash and stretch. From there, you’ll design an eye-catching character and a walking animation sprite sheet. Next, you’ll jump into Maya and manipulate a 3D model to create the illusion of life. Through these experiences, you’ll hone your creative process and will have a foundation on which to further explore the field of animation.
Jump-start your career in architecture and land development. We’ll start by examining some of Yale’s iconic buildings from the Sterling Memorial Library to the recently renovated Beinecke rare books library with its marble “windows.” We’ll dive into experiential exercises, hard-lined scale drawings, and the creation of ¼ architectural scale models — the studio fundamentals that we’ll use as part of a real world project that will give you an understanding of design and building, as well as the challenges of real estate development. We’ve partnered with The Pinehills, a residential development that has won 90+ awards for its livability and commitment to the protection of open space. Tony Green, the internationally recognized developer of The Pinehills, has prepared a project for you. To begin, you will travel to The Pinehills and walk the land with Green who will prepare you for your project by covering site selection, design, and building. After a day at The Pinehills, you will return to campus where you and your team will begin work on plans and a model for a new building at The Pinehills. In addition to class, you will have the opportunity for additional studio time so that you can refine not only your design, but your presentation for the end-of-session design competition: The Pinehills Architectural Challenge. (After an internal class competition, the top two teams will present their work to Green, who will then choose the winning design.)
Note: Students enrolled in this course will attend a day-long trip to The Pinehills in historic Plymouth, Massachusetts. The site visit is required and will be in lieu of other on campus engagements that day such as classes and workshops.
It’s your library of sound, your beat machine, your sonic boom. Drum by drum, we’ll help you build a repository of rhythm that will let you construct the sickest beats around. Using professional music layering and production software, you’ll learn how to make 8- and 16-bar loops, how to cue them, and how to arrange them into full-on house, hip-hop, and dubstep tracks. By looking at (and listening to) sound in its most elemental form, we’ll figure out how to deconstruct songs and experiment with different instruments, effects, tones, and modifications (like frequency, decay, and attack) to create an entirely new sonic landscape. Sampling pieces of your favorite tunes — such as Freddie Mercury’s distinctive vocals, Ne-Yo’s catchy melodies, or Kanye West’s 808 drum kit — you’ll meld them into a crafted collection of beats and loops to create your own original tracks. As you build your beats arsenal, get ready to launch a musical movement that’ll make the masses go wild.
While art is a millennia-old tradition, new technologies are pushing creative expression far beyond traditional boundaries. From harnessing the power of color manipulation and digital filters to making new, original photos using advanced Photoshop techniques, our hands-on studio course will help you create works of art that are impossible in a classic medium.You will learn not only how to capture good photos, but also how to digitally manipulate images using layers, masking, blending, and special effects. Throughout the course, you’ll develop a portfolio of digital images that highlight the new techniques you have learned. With the power to improve reality — or create an alternate one — where will you take your photography this summer?
Note: You will need a 10-megapixel digital camera and media storage for this course. Disposable, cell phone, and 35-millimeter film cameras are not appropriate.
From the energy of movement caught in a quick gesture drawing to the more polished feel of a studied piece, drawing is both challenging and fun. This course is a great introduction to basic concepts of art. We will choose from a wide array of subjects as we develop our skills by rendering perspective, tone, line, form, light, and shadows. We’ll work extensively in pencil and charcoal, and we will discover the compositional tricks and drawing techniques of masters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, as well as contemporary artists. At the end of this course, you’ll have the opportunity to show off your work in the EXPLO Art Show.
Learning principles of fashion design, you’ll examine shape and form, understand how to sketch and sew a line for a seamless silhouette, and figure out how proportion and scale can affect the look and drape of a piece. Collaborate with your fellow designers on a series of fashion challenges that will require you to think critically and act creatively. Our work will focus on fundamental elements and principles of visual design (unity, balance, rhythm, emphasis), which you’ll incorporate to enhance the pieces you make — garments with fringe, pockets, and fitted waist lines. You will have a chance to display your completed designs in the EXPLO Art Show.
Your dream: to tell incredible stories on film that will someday open doors, make headlines, and (hopefully) win awards. To get you into the filmmaking world on the ground floor, you need an idea that’s going to capture the imagination and emotions of your audience as much as it does yours. Working in small production teams, you’ll begin by sketching out your group’s chosen narrative with a rough story treatment — who are your principal characters? What is your story about? — before writing, editing, and storyboarding your script. As you film, direct, light, shoot, and edit your short film, you’ll learn how to use professional equipment and editing software, optimize shot design, and get the most out of your location, props, and actors. Through it all, you’ll get a peek into the production process that goes into making a short film — with you behind the lens.
Graphic design is the art of problem-solving in visual form. Join us as we combine text, type, and graphics into visually arresting and extraordinary designs. Using the tools in the Adobe Creative Suite, you’ll transform rough sketch ideas into fully rendered posters, brochures, and other printed material as you learn how to use color, shapes, textures, and typography to effectively convey messages, moods, and information. We’ll explore the formal elements of design through a series of investigative exercises that will expose you to concepts of content, form, and structure; and our in-class critiques will help you synthesize and develop your design ideas. If you’re interested in how words and images are composed in the world around you, this is the place to start composing those words and images yourself.
Are you someone who enjoys a good belly laugh? Ever dream of besting your big brother with a witty comeback? Want to take a simple topic and turn it into a full scene on the fly? If so, then we’ve got an improv studio waiting for you. You’ll learn how to best express your inner Kate McKinnon or Jimmy Fallon by studying characterization (think: Upright Citizens Brigade), stage positioning, and other strategies that will keep any audience on the edge of their seats. You’ll discover the art of thinking on your feet and pulling from your acquired bag of tricks to turn anything as mundane as a trip to the grocery store into entertainment gold. While our focus will be on engaging the audience (and each other), we’ll focus on developing confidence in performance and the ability to improvise alone or with a group.
Your client is opening a bistro. She wants it to feel hip, urban, open, and inviting. Your job: make it happen. How will you lay out the floor space? What type of furniture will you recommend? What color themes will you integrate? In this course, we’ll get hands-on with interior design. You’ll investigate color theory and textures to build harmonious palettes, implement light and lighting systems to evoke mood, and incorporate design principles to create efficient spatial flows. You will meet the aesthetic demands of a variety of clients and spaces — an architect’s loft, a beach resort’s lobby, or a suburban home’s game room — coming up with comprehensive proposals, complete with color boards, fabric swatches, and layout designs to meet and exceed the client’s expectations. Bring your HGTV “pinspiration” — your design has to make her flip (not flop)!
Yale is closer to Broadway than you think! Join our musical theater troupe as we sing, dance, act, and direct scenes from some of the most memorable musical productions ever performed. From small Off-Broadway revivals to classic hits, our class will investigate the technical aspects of musical theater as well as the dramatic relationship between spoken lines and singing and dancing. We’ll analyze classic performances such as Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera, and explore how Broadway hits like Hamilton and Wicked have expanded the genre. By the time we hit the stage at Explopalooza with our own final performance, you’ll dance and sing your way to EXPLO fame. Watch out, Broadway!
Songwriting is melody + poetry: telling stories, evoking emotions, and saying old things in a new way. It’s Beyoncé working through the complications of betrayal and marriage. It’s Adele mourning a lost love. It’s Kendrick Lamar providing a ray of hope to the Black Lives Matter movement through music. In this course, we’ll review the great songs and songwriters of all-time — what made them legendary and one-of-a-kind? We’ll explore how songwriting standards shift across genre — how Drake and Jay-Z construct a lyric differently than Bob Dylan or Ed Sheeran (and then you’ll write your own). Try your hand at different song styles and tempos — a solo acoustic guitar accompaniment vs. a Top 40, beat-heavy banger. Combine basic musical notation, music theory, and compositional structure to add bridges, intros, and some musical depth to our songs. As you match words to music, you’ll build a catalog of, original songs you’ve developed yourself — and the foundations of a songwriting voice to launch your musical career. When it’s your time to write, what will you say?
Most people don’t need whatever it is you’re trying to sell them. Your job is to persuade them to believe in your brand, your vision and to convert prospects into customers that buy your product. How companies go about doing this is more challenging today than ever before. In this course, you’ll learn how data sets feed into the creative work and why both are critical to delivering a good return on investment for your client. We’ll dive into trade publications, explore trends in digital marketing strategies, and use predictive modeling exercises to build an effective marketing campaign tailored to your client. We’ll learn about SEO, content marketing, and the importance of social media. What makes a campaign “sticky”? You’ll begin to understand why great marketing is both an art and a science. After you’ve built some foundational marketing skills, you’ll take on work with a client, PEZ Candy Inc., a staple in pop culture and maker of beloved candy products for over 60 years. This summer, PEZ will be working on new flavor selection and a packaging launch. You and your team will advise this international company that generates $77 million in yearly revenue. In addition to class, there will be additional studio time to allow your team to refine its recommendations. The goal? To develop the most compelling work and presentation so that your team will be selected to pitch directly to PEZ executives. Time to roll up your sleeves. This is marketing in the real world.
If you want to be a winner in this boardroom, you have to balance your company’s budget, improve your business management skills, and gain the trust of your investors. Turning this company into a top-tier firm is going to take strong leadership and effective management — which could mean the difference between a company that inspires loyalty, creative thinking, and productivity among its workforce, and one that simply doesn’t. To make sure your business is as ethical as it is financially sustainable, you’ll formulate a business plan that maximizes the company’s profits, provides your employees with a living wage, positions your company in the marketplace, and gets your product or service to market before the competition. Create an ad campaign — complete with new branding and messaging — and conduct market research with your colleagues to see which ideas most resonate with the public. Once it’s time to pitch your business plan to investors, you’ll be ready.
A white man goes on a killing rampage, and he’s labeled mentally ill. A man of color does the same, and he’s branded a terrorist. If the punishment is supposed to fit the crime, what happens when the crime — or the evidence — is tainted from the get-go? Reviewing criminal justice systems, we’ll see how the rule of law is applied from police states and countries with strict gun control laws to nations with more relaxed views on nonviolent offenses. We’ll examine the impact of prison time on recidivism rates, how solitary confinement affects a prisoner’s mental health, if mandatory minimum sentencing is necessary, and whether the death penalty is an effective (or even ethical) deterrent to criminal activity. If the best crime is the one that’s stopped before it starts, we’ll figure out which policing style — legalistic, watchman, or service — is the most effective. And using case studies such as that of Serial’s Adnan Syed, we’ll look into how external factors — such as politics, public perception, prejudice, and new technology — could have a hand in determining the outcome of the case.
Why does Urban Outfitters intentionally mark up the price of their clothing if they could sell more items at lower prices? What is the value of your leisure time — would you work on Saturdays for $5 an hour? $10 an hour? $20 an hour? Come explore the basic principles of micro- and macroeconomics as we learn how companies set prices to maximize their profits, explore the impact of unemployment, and understand the effects of supply and demand on price. By studying and debating the economic issues surrounding taxes, monopolies, the minimum wage, and monetary policies, you’ll discover the important impact that economics has on everything from the car you’ll buy to the neighborhood you’ll one day call home.
What if, in a game of rock-paper-scissors, you knew that the odds were your opponent would throw ‘rock’ after he throws ‘paper’? From poker games to chess boards and The Price is Right stage, we’ll use games to explore logic and strategy, and figure out how game theory can be applied across many aspects of life. Together, we’ll play the numbers, and based on what they reveal, learn how to make rational, personally advantageous decisions. We’ll also practice manipulating those numbers — whether it’s maximizing your chances of winning a contest or beating a friend in blackjack — to shift the odds permanently in our favor.
Note: Students may not enroll in both the Game Theory course and workshop.
A nation offers aid to one country ravaged by an earthquake, but doesn’t intervene in a second country’s civil war. Another nation announces it will open its doors to all incoming refugees, only to scale back weeks later and start implementing quotas. In the global game of international relations, which nations get to decide the rules of play? Taking on the mantles of global leaders, corporations, government agencies, and NGOs, you’ll work with (and against) your classmates on international efforts ranging from uncovering terror cells to halting an ever-widening Zika outbreak. Plan a response to a natural disaster that gets aid to where it’s needed without it becoming embroiled in bureaucratic red tape. Craft policies that address the refugee crisis and take into account the struggles refugees face on the ground. As we delve deeper into the dance of international diplomacy, you’ll examine how the interplay between power, order, communication, and self-interest impacts foreign policy and international law. So — how do you stop a mosquito?
Buy low. Sell high. Sell short. (Also, what does that mean?) Come grab the bull market by the horns and manage your own stock portfolio. Applying your informed analysis, explore how currency exchange rates, inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and debt affect the market. Decide whether it’s time to ditch the stock or double down. Learn how the Consumer Price Index is used as an economic indicator — and assess why companies manipulate asset values in order to make predictions about their bottom line performance. Through it all, you’ll gain a solid understanding of market indices, how companies leverage assets, and what stock brokers look for in selecting companies for their portfolios. At the end of three weeks, your portfolio may be in the red or the black, but your understanding of the stock market will definitely be on the rise.
The only way to understand the workings of a courtroom — and seek out the truth — is to stand in the shoes of a participant in a court case. After familiarizing yourself with the facts of a simulated civil or criminal case, experience the drama by taking the side of prosecution or defense. Collaborating with your team, you’ll develop and present your case, prepare witnesses for direct examinations, and discredit your opponent’s witness on cross. You’ll then present your evidence and argue your case in the Yale Law School courtrooms. From opening statements to closing arguments, you’ll improve your public speaking and persuasive argumentation skills, and get a better sense of how the American judicial system works.
To better this world, you could fight for human rights, support developing economies, and resolve civil wars. Or, you could battle (or back) coups in developing nations, conduct secret backroom trade deals, and negotiate the terms of a prisoners’ release. As delegates to the General Assembly, you’ll research, present, and debate the different positions that nations take in order to solve the pressing issues facing our world. Your job is to move international policy in a positive direction by using every available means in your diplomatic arsenal. By examining the history, principles, and practices of the United Nations, you will gain a better understanding of modern day international relations, and learn to address many of the major problems that challenge humanity.
Syrian refugees seek safe passage across your border. Do you and your team welcome them into your country, block their entry, or actively work to send them back? And what would the political fallout be for each? When you’re in a position of power, what constitutes good leadership depends on everything from your country’s political climate to its economic realities. Exploring the basic divisions of power, we’ll examine how political philosophies play a role in decision-making, government systems, and political participation. Looking at everyone from Machiavelli to Karl Marx, you’ll debate what makes for an effective political philosophy. To discuss the merits of national vs. local government, challenge your peers to a rap battle (think: Hamilton’s Cabinet Battle #1). Craft policy on gun control that addresses constituents’ concerns without alienating special interest groups. And as you better understand all the elements that go into good governance, you’ll design the framework for a developing a nation from the ground up.
Failure is a trap door, and it’s right below your feet. Before you, a crowd of industry giants, venture capitalists, and angel investors. Behind you, your co-founders, the opening slide of your killer pitch, and a herd of others all vying for the same start-up capital. What you say and do over the next few minutes could make or break you. But — you’ve identified emerging markets, found openings for new products (like a printer that prints makeup or an app for finding last-minute babysitters), and come up with unique and promising product applications. You’ve prototyped and field-tested your product, consulted with experts, crafted a business plan (and budget), and honed your investor pitch to a T. All that’s missing is the start-up capital. But don’t worry; you’ve got this. This dream is yours for the taking; we’re here to help make it happen.
What is the nature of the fiction writer’s craft? In this course, we’ll look at works ranging from novels and narrative writing to science fiction and journals. By exploring different types of writing and using your senses as prompts, you will learn to express in writing what it means to be human, to be alive, and to be yourself. In individual writing assignments, we will work on style, character development, and effective use of language in order to help you create your own writing voice. Through small group feedback and peer-editing sessions, you’ll learn to grow through critique and bring your writing to a new level.
Note: Students enrolled in Creative Writing will participate in an afternoon masterclass led by Hollywood screenwriter, J.V. Hart, in lieu of other on-campus engagements such as workshops or activities. There is a $25 materials fee for the masterclass toolkit that will be deducted from the Student Miscellaneous Account.
When you’re right, you’re right — right? Wrong! When debating a case, the verdict depends not simply on “the facts,” but also on a debater’s ability to organize and argue those facts. In this course, you’ll learn how to arrange a constructive argument, as well as how to cross-examine, critique, rebut, and refute the arguments of your opponents. We’ll practice making our points through inductive and deductive reasoning, and discuss which of the two is more time-efficient and appropriate for specific cases. To conclude, we’ll face off against each other in a debate tournament that may use the team-policy format or the Lincoln-Douglas style. May the best contender win!
Want to improve your English? Pick up your pen and your EXPLO-issue iPad Mini — which you’ll get to use for the duration of this course — and let’s get started! Together, we’ll work on honing your written and spoken English skills through class projects and writing assignments. You’ll experiment with writing informally for peers and academically for professors, challenging your knowledge of sophisticated English grammar, and creating personal language goals that you monitor weekly. To sharpen your speaking skills, you’ll practice delivering speeches, creating conversations for different audiences, and spending time getting to know American students on campus. Through in-class critiques and special one-on-one instructional and conversational sessions (that occur outside of class), you’ll receive the critical feedback you need to take your written and spoken English to the next level, and if desired, contribute to your success as an undergraduate student in America. Ready to make your mark? We’ll give you everything you need to improve your English fluency.
Note: There is a $500 fee for this course.
U.S. Congress fails to pass a major legislative bill. The U.K. votes to exit the EU. A small child refugee from Syria washes ashore in Greece, a failed attempt at sanctuary. Between social media and the 24-hour news cycle, we are saturated with headlines touting everything from celebrity couple updates to seismic world economic shifts. But before renowned journalists like Murrow-winning international correspondent Christiane Amanpour and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Jo Becker were breaking the big stories, they were digging for newsworthy leads at outlets like Brown University’s WBRU-FM and the Concord Monitor. But whether you’re reporting for the BBC, the New York Times or your local daily news, the essential elements of good journalism are the same: a good story, verified facts, and something to say. In this course, you will try your hand at investigative reporting, beat reporting, profiling, cultural reviewing, and editorials. You will research a story, interview sources, learn how to write a strong lead, and apply appropriate AP style — all while debating journalism’s role (and a journalist’s responsibility) in a democratic society. With your pen and notepad in hand, this summer you’ll tell the important stories that are still waiting to be told.
The first thing you learned about writing an essay was likely that you needed to start with a “thesis.” The second thing? Probably that you should have three paragraphs to “prove your thesis.” Well, a personal essay is much more than a simple point-by-point, fact-by-fact argument. It can be a personal memoir, a meditation on an idea, a journalistic investigation, or a humorous anecdote. In this course, you will craft an array of personal essays that will be both purposeful and powerful, concise and carefully considered. Whether it’s for The Huffington Post or a college admissions application, your pieces will develop a distinctive tone and voice that will grab your audience’s attention. Aspire higher than simply proving a thesis… aim for your writing to leave a mark.
What does it mean to be good or evil? How does a just society operate? Are our lives real, or just a dream state? We’ll attempt to answer enduring philosophical questions such as these by studying and comparing the arguments of some of the discipline’s foremost figures. In addition to analyzing the writings of philosophers such as Descartes, Nietzsche, Plato, and Locke, we will explore technology and what it adds to the concept of life and human progress. Join us as we attack age-old arguments and dilemmas with fresh ideas and try to shed new light on the mysteries of life.
If you would rather be in a room full of spiders than speak in front of a crowd, you are not alone. This course will help you harness that nervous energy and direct it towards dynamic presentation skills, and will introduce you to the art of articulating your opinions in ways that are persuasive, engaging, and informative. Public speaking is a skill that is not only necessary in the classroom, but in everyday communication as well. Through debates, discussions, and writing exercises, you will learn how to hone the speaking skills that you’ve had all along.
“In times like these, it is difficult not to write satire.” The Roman poet Juvenal said that 2,000 years ago, and yet — if John Oliver, The Onion, and Family Guy are any indication — it may be even more true today. As we examine and emulate these bastions of sardonic wit, we will create and craft our own articles, monologues, op-eds, and political cartoons that both ridicule and regale. We’ll also look at the function of parody, asking, for instance, what effect did The Borowitz Report have on the 2016 presidential election? Or how did Larry David’s SNL caricature of Bernie Sanders help (or hinder) his campaign? It’s easy to roll your eyes at the decadence and depravity of contemporary society. Satire, however, strives to look at the world head-on and speak the (hilarious) truth about it.
Whether it be Fences or Hamilton, Manchester by the Sea or Moonlight, a remarkable play or film starts with a remarkable script. Do you have the next Oscar-winning story bubbling inside you? Join us in our playwriting circle, where you’ll learn the nuances of writing for the big screen and for the stage. Together, we’ll review classic plays and screenplays and see how scenes in a script get translated into the final production of a film or stage production. As you begin developing your own script, you’ll learn how to move a narrative along with stage directions, timely cuts, and fadeouts, as well as tricks for creating realistic dialogue and developing dynamic characters. If you’ve ever had an inkling to pen the next great classic drama, this is the course for you.
Note: Students enrolled in Writing for Stage + Screen will participate in an afternoon masterclass led by Hollywood screenwriter, J.V. Hart, in lieu of other on-campus engagements such as workshops or activities. There is a $25 materials fee for the masterclass toolkit that will be deducted from the Student Miscellaneous Account.
Did you know that shivering and sweating are essential for our survival? What makes you blush? Cry? Sneeze? Why do we get fevers when we’re sick, and how does our skin play an essential role in maintaining our major metabolic reactions? These, and other, common phenomena will be demystified as we delve into human anatomical structure through in-class experiments and dissections. Build a model femur, tibia, and patella to see how a knee works from the inside out. Follow bloodflow from the superior vena cava as you dissect an animal heart. Test your nerve transmission response variance between hot and cold; study allergies and food sensitivity; and learn about the various systems in our bodies that keep the human machine functioning longer than most man-made machines. Once you begin to see how your body works, you’ll be better equipped to understand everything that goes into keeping it running at optimal condition.
Note: Students are required to bring long pants and close-toed shoes in order to participate in the laboratory components of the course.
Your mission: level a tiny rock tower by launching three volleyballs over a six-foot wall. Or, perhaps plan — in less than two minutes — how to cantilever a 2-ton rock sculpture off the edge of a bridge. Through a variety of hands-on and challenging projects, you’ll chart the directional force of gravity to predict the movement of an air rocket the moment after you launch it. Measure the distance you need to maximize torque to determine how a soccer player sets up a “cross” by planting their standing foot and swinging their hips to direct the ball across the field. Examine and modify how friction affects hovercrafts, trebuchets, and other devices. Learn how to predict, measure, and compute changes in trajectory, acceleration, and momentum, using sensors and analytical software. Harness your newfound knowledge of physics — and get ready to see the world in a whole new light.
No one in the world has the same perceptive capabilities that you have. Join us as we learn the inner-workings of our senses of smell, sight, taste, touch, and hearing. You’ll discover how fast action potentials travel through neurons as we conduct experiments on papillary response and motor commands. To understand how we develop our sense of taste, examine papillae on the tongue to evaluate a subject’s sensitivity to a variety of foods. To better understand how neural pathways work, perform a brain dissection. We’ll conduct a variety of experiments and develop a better understanding of the scientific process as we analyze data and formulate conclusions about how our senses function. Jump into our crash course in neuroscience and get ready to better understand the way we perceive the world around us.
Processing, a visual language created by the MIT Media Lab, is like an interactive, electronic sketchbook — one that’s powered not by a paintbrush, but by code. Using the same logic and syntax as Java, you’ll draw complex shapes and figures and incorporate user keyboard and click functionality in applications you design… all in a snap. With Processing, you can visually express an idea or feeling in the same way an artist uses a palette or a photographer uses a camera. Create a user interface for an art installation, and with each click, users can alter the dimension, scope, and shape of the piece. Implement a program that creates a selfie avatar, so visitors can add their face to the installation. Tasks that are cumbersome in other languages become simple and straightforward in Processing, making the visual programming language a great way to get a strong foundation in computer programming.
Note: This course uses an open source programming language, Processing. Students are required to bring a “modern” laptop or notebook computer running Windows 7 or greater, OS X 10.7 or greater, or Linux that can connect to the internet wirelessly. No coding experience required!
In order to stop the hackers, you’re going to need to learn to think like one. From retirement accounts to private health information to data that can impact elections, the world’s information is on the internet and a whole new brand of criminal is trying to find ways to exploit that fact. In this course you’ll inherit a website with the mission of securing it from any potential threats. We’ll start with basic codes like ciphers, which have been used throughout history to encrypt information. Then, we’ll move quickly into the modern era. You’ll anticipate threats by mapping out known vulnerabilities, you’ll run various penetration tests to confirm your suspicions, and you’ll build asymmetric encryption that shores up any holes from even the most advanced hackers out there. So, get ready to don the white hat and protect the world’s privacy from those who look to expose information illegally.
Note: Students are required to bring a modern laptop or notebook computer running Windows 7 or greater, OSX X 10.7 or greater, Linux that can connect to the internet wirelessly.
Don’t touch anything (with your bare hands), don’t contaminate the scene, and don’t take the stand until you’ve examined every shred of evidence you find. Join us as we dig into the history of forensics (from Sherlock Holmes to modern day CSI) by reconstructing the science of actual forensic case studies. You’ll investigate ballistic fingerprinting, debate the ethical question of maintaining DNA databases of suspected criminals, and learn how to establish time of death based on different stages of insect development in a corpse. And you’d better pay attention, because in the final week, you’ll be assigned to a mock forensics case that will demand all of the laboratory and sleuthing skills you can muster.
Note: Students may not enroll in both the Forensic Science course and workshop.
When it comes to genetic engineering, there are two central questions: (1) What are the possibilities? and (2) What are the consequences? Gene alteration can increase crop production and shorten growing seasons — but that can also make your food more vulnerable to disease. Discover how allele pairing affects genetic traits and simulate the transgenic and knockout techniques used to modify genetic sequencing. In the laboratory, sample and extract live DNA, and run experiments such as PCR Amplification of DNA, the transformation of e. coli, and learn how to alter the proteins in a string of DNA cells to make them glow. We’ll discuss the newest technologies and techniques used in the ever-changing field of Genetic Engineering. From biological warfare to gene editing to human cloning, the risks involved in genetic engineering are huge — but as you’ll see, the possibilities are endless.
Note: Students are required to bring long pants and close-toed shoes in order to participate in the laboratory components of the course.
A string of dominoes knocks a golf ball off a table into a basket that is attached to a pulley, which lifts an exacto knife that pops a series of water balloons, filling a pitcher that sits on top of a plate that sits on top of a halved orange that sits on top of a juicer that reams the juice out of the orange and into a glass. Sure, you could’ve just poured a glass of OJ, but what fun is that? Come investigate the fundamental concepts of engineering and design by overflowing cups, launching objects, and dropping bowling balls. Through a variety of engineering challenges, you’ll explore energy flow and structural analysis, and we’ll switch on your creative juices, introduce you to the work of engineers, and have you turning mundane tasks into mechanized miracles.
Simulate a clogged artery, engineer an aortic valve, and build a reconstructive device to heal a broken bone. In this course, you’ll not only identify and diagnose diseased and injured organs and bones, you’ll use the latest technology to design, construct, and surgically introduce solutions. Working with specimens that simulate human illnesses and injuries, you’ll perform animal dissections, use medical illustration techniques to prototype solutions, create scale models to make sure they’re viable, and implant your device into specimens you’ve dissected once your lab-created invention is ready. We’ll walk you through surgical techniques — from how to hold a scalpel to how to correctly pierce each layer of tendon or tissue — and you’ll work through digital simulations to prep for the dissections and surgery. Your ability to wield a scalpel can determine whether you become a surgeon. Your ability to collaborate and keep your head under pressure could determine whether you become a great one.
Note: Students may not enroll in both the Surgical Interventions course and workshop. Students will dissect a cat specimen in this course. Students are required to bring long pants and close-toed shoes in order to participate in the laboratory components of the course.
What makes someone commit a crime? Genetics? Psychological disturbance? Social and environmental influences? Criminologists have attempted to understand crime in the context of these potential factors, yet why crime happens is still as difficult to answer as ever. In this course, you’ll delve into various theories on criminal psychology and victimology to profile serial killers, adolescent thieves, and white collar criminals, discovering how different types of crimes correlate to various personality traits and socioeconomic backgrounds. You’ll put to the test the controversial “Broken Windows Theory” and examine the effects of zero-tolerance policies on crime. And, with a deeper understanding of the social and psychological profile of the criminal mind, you’ll create your own crime-prevention policy and program, with the goal of both slowing the crime rate and helping to rehabilitate the people who commit them.
Note: Students will not be allowed to enroll in both the Criminal Psychology course and workshop.
Confident. Controlling. Forceful. Shrill. In the media, which adjectives are more often used to describe men, and which are more often used to describe women? How do the answers to these questions shape how male and female politicians are judged? We’ll examine the social and psychological construct of gender and its relationship to politics: What are our definitions of masculinity and femininity? How do these roles play out in the political arena? From women’s suffrage to modern political developments — like Elizabeth Warren’s crusade to hold big banks accountable, or Cecily Strong’s portrayal of Fox’s Megyn Kelly — we’ll review everything from film clips and ad campaigns to news programming and election coverage. Together, we’ll begin to understand the role gender continues to play in the building and dissemination of political power and influence — and explore the ways in which culture and identity shape us as men and women.
Which is easier to change: your personality or your behavior? Through discussion and brainstorming exercises, we’ll learn how difficult it is to make objective descriptions of personality due to its complex relationship with behavior. Looking at our family structure, birth order, interfamily relationships, and the influence of culture and our peers, we’ll discover the factors that contribute to our own character development. While dissecting individual elements of personality, we’ll discover what influences generally cause personalities to change. By gaining a better understanding of personality, you’ll begin to realize why you (and those around you) behave the way you do.
What is the line that separates abnormal behavior from mental illness? We’ll attempt to answer this question and more as we explore schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. Studying the lives of supposedly insane historical figures — such as Sylvia Plath, Winston Churchill, Joan of Arc, and Michelangelo — will give us insight into the cultural and historical factors shaping society’s view of abnormal behavior. As we debate various psychological treatments, you’ll learn how to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to determine criteria for depression and personality disorders. Come gain a new understanding of what it means to be mentally ill, and a better awareness of the issues surrounding the treatment of abnormal behavior.
How much does the environment you live in determine who you are? Through various activities and exercises — and by studying historical group behavior experiments — we’ll determine the effects of socialization on identity and discover who determines our social norms and what influences our entire society. Examine why we’re attracted to certain people as friends and others as mates with Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love. Test for unconscious prejudices with the Jane Elliott exercise, the Clark Doll experiment, and the Implicit Association Task. Use aspects of the Myers-Briggs test to begin to understand the different personality types that exist in the world — and how it can help you better understand yourself and how you relate to others. Through it all, you’ll gain new insights into how you behave in the world and how society functions.