Beyond IQ

Events

Upcoming events

    • 01 Dec 2020
    • (EST)
    • 30 Mar 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • 7
    Register

    A semi-structured relaxed time to get together, talk, play games, connect, and just be with each other, when we can't do it in person.

    Registration is by donation only; please give only if you can. Suggested donations are $5, $10. or $15 for one hour/week groups and $5, $20, and $30 for two hour per week groups. The highest amounts cover facilitator costs. Any money we get beyond paying teachers and their expenses will be donated to charities supporting vulnerable populations at this time. If you have any questions about this policy or others, please contact us at courses@giftedconferenceplanners.org.

    Meets weekly on Tuesdays at 10:30 am Eastern for one hour.

    Logic puzzles - We'll keep exploring the Lady and the Tiger, Virtual Escape Rooms, and online games and puzzles, and work through Puzzle and Answer magazine.


    You can use this page to register each week or register for more than one wee at a time.  This is a drop in class, so you may come on any week.

    Lisa Fontaine-Rainen





    • 14 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 11 Mar 2021
    • (EST)
    • 5 sessions
    • online
    • 15
    Registration is closed

    Instructor: Sabrina Weiss

    Days and Times Thursdays, Noon, 4 sessions, 8weeks, starting Jan. 14th.

    Plus March 11th for students signed up for presentations

    Ages 13 through Adult

    Course Description

    This is a reading course on Michael Pollan’s book, The Botany of Desire.  Written in 2001, 5 years before the bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma, this book explores the relationships between humans and plants from a social, historical, and scientific perspective.  Through the four plants discussed - the Apple, the Tulip, Marijuana, and the Potato - Pollan explores topics like sugar in our diets, economics, prohibition, and oppression. 

    This is a college-preparatory book that covers some mature topics.  We will have one live meeting every 2 weeks for each of the four sections.  With an optional add-on for a project/essay, there will be one more live session for project presentations, reflection, and discussion. 


    Texts

    The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41021145-the-botany-of-desire

    Outline

    Note: Readings should be done BEFORE the class listed so we can discuss it. 

    1/14: Sweetness: The Apple

    1/28: Beauty:The Tulip

    2/11: Intoxication: Marijuana

    2/25: Control: The Potato


    3/11: Presentations (only for optional add-on)



    Note: No classes on 1/21, 2/4, 2/18, or 3/4. 3/11 is only for students taking the project option.

    • 15 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 07 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 13 sessions
    • online
    • 15
    Register

    Instructor: Sabrina Weiss

    Days and Times Fridays, 1:30 pm, 12 weeks, starting Jan. 15th.

    Plus a one day add on for projects

    Course Description

    This is a rigorous reading course for Dr. Robert Sapolsky's book on stress, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: the Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping.  This book connects to many college-preparatory topics, such as the biochemistry and neuroscience of stress, how we cope and manage stress, and reflects on how evolutionary adaptive biological systems can be pushed into unhealthy statuses in today's world.

    All students should obtain a copy of this book and read the sections listed BEFORE the live meeting.  So by 1/15, you should read the Introduction and Ch. 1 and come ready to discuss. 

    Optional add-on includes a final project like an essay or video. There will be an extra live meeting for optional add-on students to present and discuss projects.


    Texts

    Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping (Third Edition) - Robert M. Sapolsky

    Outline

    NOTE: Listed chapters should be read BEFORE the indicated class.  We will DISCUSS the chapter so you should have read or at least skimmed the chapter ahead of time. Please have read Chapter 1 and some of Chapter 2 before the first class!

    1/15 Introduction, Discuss Ch 1, Overview


    1/22 Ch 2 + Ch3: Glands, Gooseflesh, and Hormones


    1/29 No class


    2/5 Ch 4 + Ch 5: Metabolism and Ulcers


    2/12 Ch 6 + Ch 7: Dwarfism and Reproduction


    2/19 Ch 8: Immunity 


    2/26 No class


    3/5  Ch 9 + 10: Pain, Memory


    3/12 Ch 11 + 12: Sleep, Aging


    3/19 Ch 13 + 14: Psychological Stress, Depression


    3/26 No Class


    4/2 Ch 15 + 16: Personality, Junkies


    4/9 Ch 17: View from the Bottom


    4/16 Ch 18:  Managing Stress


    4/23 Review and Wrap-up


    4/30 No Class


    5/7 Project Discussion


    Note: No classes on 1/29, 2/26, 3/26, or 4/30.

    • 25 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 10 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    • 11
    Register

    Mathematical Explorations: Advanced Math Problem Posing

    Instructor: Lisa Fontaine-Rainen

    When: Mondays, 11:00 - Noon; 15 weeks, starts Jan. 25th.

    CLASS DESCRIPTION:

    Mathematics is too often only about finding the right answer.  Is that really what mathematicians do all day?  Of course not.  One cannot discover new mathematics by simply finding the “right” answer. 

    In this class we’ll deep dive down all our rabbit holes.  Each week we will choose one problem (probably a problem of the week from somewhere, so that if you so choose you can submit your work to them).   Yes, we’ll solve it, but that’s only the beginning.  Then we’ll explore it, interrogate it, consider where it can lead us, how we can deepen it, what else we might do with it.  The whole point will be to problem pose, to think like mathematicians, to learn math from our own explorations and ideas, and to discover how to challenge ourselves. 

    Students in this class should have facility with variables, ideally having completed an algebra curriculum. 

    Come ready to have opinions (in math!), to wish to explore, and ready to discover!

     

    A week by week syllabus can be provided by request after the class, as student input on the problems each week will determine the topics.


    • 25 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 10 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • online
    • 8
    Register

    Instructor: Sherene Raisbeck

    Suggested ages: 8-11 (not for junior high)

    Mondays, 11:30am to 1:00pm Eastern time, starting January 25th

    NOTE: In the past, this course has been offered over two terms. We are offering it as a single term course with each meeting running 75-90 minutes. We believe this pace better serves our gifted students.

    Aristotle Leads the Way is the first of three works by Joy Hakim that present the major scientific innovations within the context of work performed by Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, and work which continues in theoretical physics.

    Learning how to observe the world, investigate ideas and sources, and find out what’s really true, are important skills for new scholars! Students develop a rich understanding of the science presented by tracing the historical context and experiments of the greatest thinkers in Western as well as Eastern scientific thought.

    As the first part of The Story of Science series, this class is an excellent foundation for further advanced work in science, mathematics, and computer science. It lays a foundation for Newton at the Center and Einstein Adds a New Dimension. In addition, the story-based instruction utilized will enhance retention for students who are not scientifically oriented. Over the course of the term, we will measure the circumference of the earth, the distance to the moon, and lay the foundations for atomic theory!

    Tests, homework, and grades are provided optionally and may be graded at home or by the instructor. We fully support 2e students and will tailor testing, homework, and class participation so that it is low stress and meaningful for each student. Students do need to be able to do simple multiplication with ratios.

    While some experiments are repeated from the Einstein and Newton courses, students will encounter them on a different level. These courses do NOT need to be taken in a particular order.

    Find the Aristotle Leads the Way book here.

    Please note that this is a one semester course


    • 25 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 17 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 17 sessions
    • Online
    • 5
    Register

    Bread and Circuses: Hunger Games, Oppression, and Resistance

    Mondays, 12:15 pm Eastern; starts January 25th.

    Children vs. children sounds absolutely horrific – and it is, it must be, because that kind of horror is a tool to create the oppressive atmosphere of a controlling authoritarian government.  At the same time it provides the kind of dramatic mind-consuming entertainment the privileged in such a nation must experience to keep them placated.

    Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series explores oppression and the inevitable resistance that rises out of such oppression..  The parallels to historical examples, particularly the Roman Empire, and much of the modern world, abound. In this course we’ll explore those parallels, working towards understanding effective resistance, and examining some of the problems that arise in revolution.  We’ll discuss Roman gladiators and reality television as different aspects of the same circus.

     

    We’ll also delve into the developments that might lead from our current world to the world of Hunger Games, scientifically, environmentally, economically, and otherwise.  We’ll explore psychology, sociology, technology, biology, and architecture all through the lens of the books.

     

    In this first course of the series, we will focus most on the tools of oppression used by authoritarian regimes as displayed in Hunger Games.  

     

    Each week, we will compare some aspect of our reading to a particular historical or current event. 

    Syllabus:

     

    Day 1:

    Chapter 1

    Main comparison: Setting compared to current US, looking forward, what kind of apocalypse might have happened?

    Topics:  Setting analysis, hunting ethics, cat symbolism historically, character analysis – Gale and Katniss, introduction to resistance, class divisions.

     

    Day 2:

     Chapters 2 and 3

    Main comparison: -NAI kids taking for education

    Topics: The use of children  in oppression.  Role of the games in control.  Symbolism and the importance of symbols.  Sister relationships.  Technology analysis.  Role of tributes – comparison to sacrifices, Celctic rites.

     

    Day 3:

    Chapters 4-5

    Main comparison:  Alcoholism – both as a means of oppression and as a means of self-medication

    Topics:  Addiction and alcoholism as forms of control, also in modern society .  Analysis of what we know of the district 13 rebellion.  Comparison – capitol vs. US culture.  Name analyses.  Circuses throughout history.  The role of appearance and fashion in culture and media.

     

    Day 4: 

    Chapters 6 and 7

    Main comparison: White saviorism. 

    Topics:  The role of story.  Coal and diamonds.  Avoxes – naming and maiming and oppression.  Rebelliousness as entertainment.  Talent and experience.

     

    Day 5: 

    Chapters 8 and 9

    Main comparison: Gladiators – 1st half of Spartacus        

    Topics:  Ratings analysis.  Relationships in YA books vs. reality.  Performance, interviews as entertainment.

     

    Day 6:

    Chapters 10 and 11

    Main comparison: Poverty theater as a current issue.

    Topics:  Symbolism revisited.  Poverty theater and putting names and faces on issues to gain support, psychological impact of witnessing murder, technology and architecture of the arena,  using alliances as leverage – turning an ally.

     

    Day 7:

    Chapters 12, 13, and 14

    Main comparison: Chemical warfare

    Topics: Analysis of technology/architecture of arena continued.  Psychological impact of being forced to kill someone.  History – drugs/mind-altering substances as weapons.  The use or shortages as a means of control.

     

    Day 8:

    Chapters 15, 16

    Main comparison:  Slavery and colonialism (globally)

    Topics:  District oppression techniques.  Music, culture, and oppression of culture.  Hunger as a warfare tactic.

     

    Day 9:

    Chapters 17, 18

    Main comparison:  Reality television

    Topics:  Survival skills analysis.  Reality television analysis.  How is love resistance?    Immigration issues around hunger and oppression.  Poverty and generosity.

     

    Day 10:

    Chapters 19, 20

    Main comparison: Political theater and elections

    Paparazzi, politics (political theater), blood poisoning, symbolism and berries 

     

    Day 11:

    Chapters 21, 22

    Main Comparison:   Spartacus part 2.

    Topics: Illusion of fairness, rules, why do romances capture our imagination.

     

    Day 12:

    Chapters 23, 24

    Main comparison:  Scarcity tactics

    Topics: Implications of winning and oppression of the victors.  Comparison of the Western preoccupation with romance to how women are treated in some muslim countries – is it oppression or cultural differences?

     

    Day 13:

    Chapters 25, 26

    Main comparison:  Psychological warfare

    Topics:  Bioengineering, muttations, psychological warfare, changing the rules as oppression.

     

    Day 14:

    Chapter 27

    Main comparison:  China under Mao Tse Tung

    Book vs. movie – watch party.  Conclusions about Bread and Circuses.

     

    Day 15:

    Review, student work, final thoughts.


    • 25 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 10 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • online
    • 2
    Register

    InstructorSherene Raisbeck
    4 students MAXIMUM
    Suggested Ages: enrollment based on ability, not age
    Meets: 1:15 pm - 2:15 pm,  Eastern Time

    DESCRIPTION

    This is an opportunity for students working on secondary mathematical concepts (pre-algebra, algebra, geometry & pre-calculus) to access tutoring in a small group.  Your student may attend any or all of the 15 hours over the term for fixed rate. Maximum enrollment of 4 students per session.

    I own a wide variety of curricula, but feel free to check to see if I own the one your student is using.

    $325; GHF, SENG, MAGE, and NHAGE Members pay $310! Single sessions $25,  subject to availability.

    We accept charter school funds


    • 25 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 03 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 15 sessions
    • On Line
    • 13
    Register

    Josh Shaine, instructor

    Mondays, 3-4pm, ET, starting on January 25th.

    It was the best of courses, it was the worst of courses. In this class, we will read original works of fiction and poetry and the pieces that make fun of them or turn them on their heads. We will read pieces that are mocking entire genres. We will watch films that spoof more famous films and listen to music that skewers everything from specific pieces to entire periods. And we will look at cartoons and how they describe the petty foibles of humans through caricature. Along the way, we will attempt to write our own pieces of parody and satire and maybe even make a cartoon or film, depending on how ambitious we are feeling! Among works we may use are The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, The Brand X Anthologies of Poetry and Prose, The Daily Show, In Like Flint, Blazing Saddles, and many others, depending on the tastes, times, and talents of the students in the class.

    This course is intended for students age 13 and up.

    Syllabus


     Our own Parodies and Satires!

    Date

     Plan for the day

    Session 1

     Definitions and Differences, Exploration of Syllabus, Some early satire

    Session 2

     Fiction: Bored of the Rings, The Wind Done Gone, and more

    Session 3

     Music: Lehrer, PDQ Bach, Anna Russell, Filk, and more

    Session 4

     Movies: Airplane, Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind, and more

    Session 5

     Comedians: Steven Wright, Jon Steward, Keegan-Michael Key, and more

    Session 6

     Cartoonists from Ancient Egypt to the Present

    Session 7

     Poems, Plays, and Other Printed Matter

    Session 8

     How to Craft Your Own Parody and/or Satire, Part 1

    Session 9 

     More Fiction

    Session 10

     More Music

    Session 11

     More Poems and Other Printed Matter
    Session 12  More Comedians
    Session 13  How to Craft Your Own, Part 2
    Session 14  Students' Choice of Topic
    Session 15  Our own Satires!

     Potential make-up day

    All times are U.S. East Coast.


    • 25 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 03 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 15 sessions
    • online
    • 10
    Register

    Instructor: Sherene Raisbeck

    Mondays, 7:00pm - 8:30pm, starting January 25th

    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.

    No textbooks for this course, but there will be assigned online or shared readings and suggested books for students' free time.

    $475; GHF, SENG, MAGE, and NHAGE Members pay $460!


    • 26 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 11 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    Talking Back To Statistics - please note, this time is MIDNIGHT Eastern, until DST starts, then it will be 1:00 am.

    This is a Hong Kong and Australia friendly time!


    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 Eastern 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.


    • 26 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 11 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    • 12
    Register

    Instructor: Erick A. Medina, PsyD
    5-10 students
    Suggested Ages: 15+ years old
    Meets:
    Tuesdays, 11 am to 12:30 pm; 15 weeks, starting January 26th

    CLASS DESCRIPTION:

    Abnormal Psychology is the study of behavior and experience that most people would consider unusual, unhealthy, or even dangerous. In this course, we’ll delve into the mysteries of the mind, exploring a number of issues such as how we diagnose, classify, treat, and talk about mental disorders.

    We’ll start with some definitions, then discuss the history of the subject. Next we’ll look at how we diagnose and do research into mental disorders. Then we’ll look into a number of different kinds of conditions that cause people and those around them to suffer.

    In particular, we’ll take a close look at two areas in which I’ve done research and in whose treatment I specialize: narcissistic and borderline conditions.

    The course will end with a class discussion centered around any topic the class wishes covered or gone into in more detail. While there is no textbook, there will be assigned readings that are easily available online. There will also be papers and time for discussion.

    SYLLABUS:

    Session 1: Introduction: What is Psychology? What is Abnormal?

    Session 2: Historical Overview

    Session 3: Ways of Thinking About Abnormality Session

    4: Diagnosis and Assessment Session

    5: Research in Abnormal Psychology Session

    6: Anxiety Disorders Session

    7: Mood Disorders Session

    8: Trauma Session

    9: Dissociative & Somatic Disorders Session

    10: Substance Use Disorders Session

    11: Eating Disorders Session

    12: Schizophrenia Session

    13: Personality Disorders; Narcissistic Conditions Session

    14: Borderline Conditions Session

    15: Concluding Discussion


    • 26 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 11 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • online
    • 12
    Register

    Instructor: Greta Wu

    Tuesdays at 3:00 pm Eastern, 15 weeks, starting January 26th.

    This course explores some of the ideas and criticism of transhumanism, a cross-disciplinary field exploring the possible futures of sentient life.
    • 1. Introductions, course overview
    • 2. Enhancing what? Erasing what?
    • 3. Enhancing who?
    • 4. What is evolution anyways?
    • 5. What counts as “you” / extended mind
    • 6. Artificial intelligence and robots
    • 7. Current cyborgs
    • 8. Genetic engineering
    • 9. Transhumanism in art
    • 10.  Current transhuman movements
    • 11.  Death and how to avoid it; longevity and cryostasis
    • 12.  Transhuman societies
    • 13.  Topic of students’ choice
    • 14.  Topic of students’ choice
    • 15. Summary


    • 27 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 12 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • online
    • 11
    Register

    Instructor: Chris Buck

    Wednesdays at 1:00 pm Eastern, 15 weeks, starting January 27th.

    Explore the nature of programming and code by exploring and creating digital artifacts.

    1. Designing self-symmetric objects and using objects in a frieze or wallpaper pattern. Models include: 2D position, 2D rotation, rotational and reflectional symmetry.

    2. Recreate the Game of Life, Pong, and Asteroids. Models include: clock time, ticks, 1D and 2D automata, and user interaction.

    3. Create an animation. Models include: lighting, 3D meshes, color, and transparency.
    • 28 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 20 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 17 sessions
    • Online
    • 9
    Register

    InstructorEmma Sobey
    5-10 students
    Suggested Ages: 13+ years old
    Meets:
     Thursdays, 10:00 to 11:00 am, 17 weeks. Starts Jan. 28th.

    CLASS DESCRIPTION:

    “A good short story crosses the borders of our nations and our prejudices and our beliefs. A good short story asks a question that can’t be answered in simple terms.”

    --Walter Mosley

    Literature empowers readers to step outside their own lives and experience the joys, sorrows, and challenges of other people.  Each genre plays its own part in creating the artwork of the universal human condition we can all understand.  In particular, short stories often use structure and powerful language to encapsulate a particular moment or time in a person’s life in order to highlight a message or theme with which the reader can relate to and grow with. 

    In this course, we will explore the universal themes of love and friendship, overcoming challenges, finding our own identities, growing up, and finding freedom by reading works from all over the world that demonstrate different understandings of these themes.  We will use these themes as a jumping off point of forming our own ideas and discussing these ideas fit in to the global landscape of the human experience.


    Course Overview:

    Week 1—Exploring World Themes and Literary Concepts

    Week 2—The Danger of a Single Story Ted Talk with Discussion

    Week 3—Romantic Love

    Week 4—Friendship

    Week 5—When Love Is Over

    Week 6—Finding a New Home

    Week 7—Overcoming Hardships

    Week 8—Who am I?

    Week 9—Who are you?

    Week 10—Finding my place in my family

    Week 11—Finding my place in the world

    Week 12—Bildungsroman

    Week 13—Struggles for Freedom

    Week 14—Struggles for Happiness

    Week 15—Embracing Change

    Week 16—Embracing Opportunities

    Week 17—Putting it All Together


    • 28 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 20 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 17 sessions
    • Online
    • 10
    Register

    InstructorEmma Sobey
    5-10 students
    Suggested Ages: 13+ years old
    Meets:
     Thursdays at 11:15 am, 17 weeks. Starts Jan. 28th.

    CLASS DESCRIPTION:

    Successful creative writing starts with learning how to be an effective writer.  Great writing  takes revision, practice, and valuable feedback to help a writer develop their communication skills.  Whether you are interested in improving your ability to write fiction, poetry, or even academic writing, this course can help you hone your skills and develop your writing by engaging in interesting, fun, and effective activities geared towards developing you as a writer! 

    In this course, you can expect to read, write, and discuss the elements of great creative writing in a safe, open, and supportive environment.  You will learn how to improve your writing by crafting your words in new and interesting ways!

    Course Overview:

    Week:1 Hopes and Dreams—What do I want to learn about Creative Writing?

    Week 2: What makes a good story?

    Week 3: It’s all about Me:  Writing Literary Fiction Introduction (What makes good Literary Fiction?)

    Week 4:  I am the STAR!  Writing a story about yourself

    Week 5:  Peer Editing and Revision

    Week 6:  Finishing Touches

    Week 7:  Tales and Adventures:  Examining Short Story Structures

    Week 8:  Creating realistic characters

    Week 9:  Adding Descriptive Language

    Week 10:  Using Effective Writing

    Week 11:  Conflicts

     Week 12:  Peer Editing and Revision

    Week 13:  Writing Poetry Using Structured Poem

    Week 14:  Writing Poetry Using Free Verse

    Week 15:  Refining your Poetry

    Week 16: Exhibiting your work with a Pecha Kucha

    Week 17:  Presentations!!!!


    • 28 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 13 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    • 11
    Register

    Thursdays, 11:00 am Eastern.

    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. There will be one week off.

    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 2021
    • (EST)
    • 13 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 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 2021
    • (EST)
    • 20 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 17 sessions
    • Online
    • 13
    Register

    Bread and Circuses: Hunger Games, Oppression, and Resistance

    Thursdays, 2:15 pm Eastern; starts January 28th.

    Children vs. children sounds absolutely horrific – and it is, it must be, because that kind of horror is a tool to create the oppressive atmosphere of a controlling authoritarian government.  At the same time it provides the kind of dramatic mind-consuming entertainment the privileged in such a nation must experience to keep them placated.

    Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series explores oppression and the inevitable resistance that rises out of such oppression..  The parallels to historical examples, particularly the Roman Empire, and much of the modern world, abound. In this course we’ll explore those parallels, working towards understanding effective resistance, and examining some of the problems that arise in revolution.  We’ll discuss Roman gladiators and reality television as different aspects of the same circus.

     

    We’ll also delve into the developments that might lead from our current world to the world of Hunger Games, scientifically, environmentally, economically, and otherwise.  We’ll explore psychology, sociology, technology, biology, and architecture all through the lens of the books.

     

    In this first course of the series, we will focus most on the tools of oppression used by authoritarian regimes as displayed in Hunger Games.  

     

    Each week, we will compare some aspect of our reading to a particular historical or current event. 

    Syllabus:

     

    Day 1:

    Chapter 1

    Main comparison: Setting compared to current US, looking forward, what kind of apocalypse might have happened?

    Topics:  Setting analysis, hunting ethics, cat symbolism historically, character analysis – Gale and Katniss, introduction to resistance, class divisions.

     

    Day 2:

     Chapters 2 and 3

    Main comparison: -NAI kids taking for education

    Topics: The use of children  in oppression.  Role of the games in control.  Symbolism and the importance of symbols.  Sister relationships.  Technology analysis.  Role of tributes – comparison to sacrifices, Celctic rites.

     

    Day 3:

    Chapters 4-5

    Main comparison:  Alcoholism – both as a means of oppression and as a means of self-medication

    Topics:  Addiction and alcoholism as forms of control, also in modern society .  Analysis of what we know of the district 13 rebellion.  Comparison – capitol vs. US culture.  Name analyses.  Circuses throughout history.  The role of appearance and fashion in culture and media.

     

    Day 4: 

    Chapters 6 and 7

    Main comparison: White saviorism. 

    Topics:  The role of story.  Coal and diamonds.  Avoxes – naming and maiming and oppression.  Rebelliousness as entertainment.  Talent and experience.

     

    Day 5: 

    Chapters 8 and 9

    Main comparison: Gladiators – 1st half of Spartacus        

    Topics:  Ratings analysis.  Relationships in YA books vs. reality.  Performance, interviews as entertainment.

     

    Day 6:

    Chapters 10 and 11

    Main comparison: Poverty theater as a current issue.

    Topics:  Symbolism revisited.  Poverty theater and putting names and faces on issues to gain support, psychological impact of witnessing murder, technology and architecture of the arena,  using alliances as leverage – turning an ally.

     

    Day 7:

    Chapters 12, 13, and 14

    Main comparison: Chemical warfare

    Topics: Analysis of technology/architecture of arena continued.  Psychological impact of being forced to kill someone.  History – drugs/mind-altering substances as weapons.  The use or shortages as a means of control.

     

    Day 8:

    Chapters 15, 16

    Main comparison:  Slavery and colonialism (globally)

    Topics:  District oppression techniques.  Music, culture, and oppression of culture.  Hunger as a warfare tactic.

     

    Day 9:

    Chapters 17, 18

    Main comparison:  Reality television

    Topics:  Survival skills analysis.  Reality television analysis.  How is love resistance?    Immigration issues around hunger and oppression.  Poverty and generosity.

     

    Day 10:

    Chapters 19, 20

    Main comparison: Political theater and elections

    Paparazzi, politics (political theater), blood poisoning, symbolism and berries 

     

    Day 11:

    Chapters 21, 22

    Main Comparison:   Spartacus part 2.

    Topics: Illusion of fairness, rules, why do romances capture our imagination.

     

    Day 12:

    Chapters 23, 24

    Main comparison:  Scarcity tactics

    Topics: Implications of winning and oppression of the victors.  Comparison of the Western preoccupation with romance to how women are treated in some muslim countries – is it oppression or cultural differences?

     

    Day 13:

    Chapters 25, 26

    Main comparison:  Psychological warfare

    Topics:  Bioengineering, muttations, psychological warfare, changing the rules as oppression.

     

    Day 14:

    Chapter 27

    Main comparison:  China under Mao Tse Tung

    Book vs. movie – watch party.  Conclusions about Bread and Circuses.

     

    Day 15:

    Review, student work, final thoughts.


    • 28 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 18 Mar 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 8 sessions
    • Online
    • 10
    Register

    Instructor: Trina Overgaard Toups
    5-10 students
    Suggested Age Ranges: 12-14
    Meets: Thursdays, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm Eastern Time

    Intro to Environmental Chemistry

    DESCRIPTION

    Intro to Environmental Chemistry, a course in introductory chemistry for 8th-10th grade students which will introduce the science and math of chemistry as a prequel to high school chemistry.

    Students for this class should be confident in first year algebra. This course will contain both descriptive material, student reading, and also the use of math in science classes. Student participation will be encouraged, and also outside reading and a moderate amount of homework problems.

    MaterialsFamilies will be requested to provide a calculator, pencil, and paper every session. 

    Curriculum

    What is science? How do we know what we know?

    How bad is that oil spill?

    Geochemical cycles

    Air quality

    Quantifying details

    Atmosphere

    Global Warming

    • 28 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 13 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    Register


    Instructor: Josh Shaine

    Ages: 13+

    Meets: Thursdays, 4pm EST/EDT; 15 weeks, starting Jan. 28th

    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 that 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

    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 Creator

    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 2021
    • (EST)
    • 14 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • online
    • 8
    Register

    InstructorSherene Raisbeck
    5-10 students
    Suggested Ages: 10-15
    Meets: Fridays 10:00am - 11:00pm,  Eastern Time

    $325; GHF, SENG, MAGE, and NHAGE Members pay $310!

    We accept charter school funds

    DESCRIPTION

    We will be using the book Thinking Physics, but I recommend that students NOT purchase the book before taking the course. This is an introduction to conceptual physics which does not require much math and absolutely does not require calculus. Because one of the main goals is to develop accurate physics intuition, our discussions of the problems will acknowledge and discuss common errors of thinking while we develop the conceptual tools necessary for later application of mathematical tools to solving physics problems. No homework though your student may beg to have the book after they have completed the course!

    Find Thinking Physics at your library, your favorite bookseller, or here.

    SYLLABUS

    Problem based discussion course, we will not discuss every problem in the book, but we will discuss a sampling from all topic areas.

    Topics:
    Kinematics
    Newton's Laws of Motion
    Momentum and Energy
    Rotation
    Gravity
    Fluids
    Heat
    Vibrations
    Light
    Electricity & Magnetism
    Relativity
    Quanta


    • 29 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 21 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 17 sessions
    • online
    • 9
    Register

    Instructor: Sherene Raisbeck

    Fridays, 11:30am-1:00pm; starting January 29th

    Einstein Adds a New Dimension is the third of three works in Joy Hakim's Story of Science that present the major scientific innovations within the context of major works produced by Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, and progress which continues in theoretical physics.

    Learning how to make accurate and useful observations, investigate ideas, evaluate sources, and find out what’s really true, are important skills for scholars in all fields of endeavor.

    Students in Einstein Adds a New Dimension continue to develop their understanding of the historical context and great experiments of the world’s innovators.

    As the third part of The Story of Science series, Einstein Adds a New Dimension builds on the foundation set forward in the courses Aristotle Leads the Way and Newton at the Center.  Einstein Adds a New Dimension guides students through discoveries in modern physics, explaining the state of the science, while describing some of the current questions and areas of research.  Building on the themes in courses Aristotle and NewtonEinstein Adds a New Dimension helps students strengthen their solid basis of understanding, understand the nature and pace of change, and develop the insight, imagination, and skill to anticipate, jump in, and move forward with the new work of the future.

    Over the course of the year, we will explore the lines of evidence for the current theory of the universe; we will discover the nature of quarks and strings; and we will discuss alternative hypotheses and theories.  We will continue building the scaffold for later studies in science and other endeavors, and developing skills which will be used in career planning and development.

    This course will be using additional material from Thinking Physics by Lewis Carroll Epstein, but students are not required to have this book.

    Tests, homework, and grades are provided optionally and may be graded at home or by the instructor.  We fully support 2e students and will tailor testing, homework, and class participation so that it is low stress and meaningful for each student.  Students need to be able to do multiplication with fractions and ratios, and to understand the use of algebraic symbols.

    While some experiments are repeated from the Newton and Aristotle courses, students will encounter them on a different level. These courses do NOT need to be taken in a particular order.

    Find the Einstein Adds a New Dimension book here.

    Times listed are Eastern! 


    • 29 Jan 2021
    • (EST)
    • 14 May 2021
    • (EDT)
    • 16 sessions
    • online
    • 7