High School Courses Developed by MIT Students

MIT students develop and teach many courses for high school students. Here is a small sample from MIT's Educational Studies Program (ESP), an MIT student group offering high school courses for over 50 years.


Gödel, Escher, Bach (ESP.104, Summer 2007)

Gödel, Escher, Bach: A Mental Space Odyssey.Description:What do one mathematician, one artist, and one musician all have in common? Are you interested in zen Buddhism, math, fractals, logic, paradoxes, infinities, art, language, computer science, physics, music, intelligence, consciousness and unified theories? Get ready to chase me down a rabbit hole into Douglas Hofstadter's Pulitzer Prize winning book Gödel, Escher, Bach. Lectures will be a place for crazy ideas to bounce around as we try to pace our way through this enlightening tome. You will be responsible for most of the reading as lectures will consist primarily of motivating the material and encouraging discussion. I advise everyone seriously interested to buy the book, grab on and get ready for a mind-expanding voyage into higher dimensions of recursive thinking.

Student Instructor: Justin Curry; Curran Kelleher
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Excitatory Topics in Physics (ESP.103, Summer 2007)

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921.Description:What sorts of things get physicists (or wannabe physicists, like the teacher of this class) excited? Is it the dream of building grand intellectual edifices capable of describing the Universe with amazing accuracy and elegance? Or, perhaps, discovering something so unexpected that it totally blows your mind? Maybe it's simply the act of doing physics! Whatever the case, there are certainly many things in physics to get excited about, and we'll explore some of them in this class.

Student Instructor: Nicholas DiBella
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Audio and Speaker Electronics (ESP.102, Spring 2007)

Speaker set up.Description:Join me for a hands-on ride through the fundamentals of electronics and acoustics, and the process of loudspeaker design and construction. We will learn about the engineering and art involved throughout music/movie recording and playback, the design and application of everything from microphones to DACs, amplifiers, and speakers. With the aid of computer assisted audio measuring equipment at the MIT Edgerton Center, we will analyze the frequency response and distortion of speaker drivers, and understand their effect on what we hear. Then we design our own speakers - driver selection, crossover networks, and enclosure design - and build them in class!

Student Instructor: Michael Price
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Four color United States map, representing the Four Color Theorem.Description:Love math but bored in math class? This is the course for you! Combinatorics is a fascinating branch of mathematics that applies to problems ranging from card games to quantum physics to the internet. The only pre-requisite is basic algebra; however we will be covering a lot of material. A mathematically agile mind will be helpful.

Student Instructor: Andrew Sutherland
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Guitar Building (ESP.106, Summer 2006)

Electric guitar shaped like pac-man.Description:In this class, students learn about physics principles by examining the physics responsible for producing music with electronic stringed instruments, while building, testing, and playing their own electric guitar. Students will design their own Guitar bodies, construct their own pick-ups, assemble their own guitars, tune them using a chromatic tuner, and use them to play a simple song. While the instructions here give enough detail that an independent learner could construct their own guitar, please note that this activity should only be attempted with proper adult supervision, whether at home or at school.

Student Instructor: Adam Seering
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