Beyond IQ


Upcoming events

    • 27 Aug 2019
    • 31 Jan 2020
    • 33 sessions
    • 1

    Exploring Intermediate Algebra

    Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 pm Eastern for 16 weeks

    Instructor: Lisa Fontaine-Rainen

    In Exploring Intermediate Algebra we will dive into the end of a traditional Algebra course and the beginning of a traditional Algebra II course, with a focus more on deep understanding, seeing connections, posing problems, exploration of student ideas, and applications in problem solving.  Our spine for the course will be material from Art of Problem Solving Introduction to Algebra, using material that starts at chapter 10, though not in book’s order. This material will be supplemented heavily with other problem solving and project work.

    This class will be held over 16 weeks, with two meetings per week.  Students will be expected to engage in the material outside of class through homework assignments that will provide options for different levels of challenge.  Quizzes and tests will be given, but the purpose of these is two-fold – to help students prepare for such testing in the future and to guide our learning.  They will only be formally graded on request – otherwise, they will receive comments only.

    To be prepared for this class, students should feel comfortable with working with variables in linear equations and systems of linear equations. 

    Syllabus is subject to change – the class will emphasize student exploration and support their approaches to thinking through ideas.  Questioning and exploration will take center stage more often, so specific topics may take more or less time depending on these explorations.  Should we find we are not going to get through everything listed in the syllabus, we will make decisions together with families about what to keep and what to either drop or move to another class.

    Week 1:          Functions, graphing functions

    Week 2:          Functions, composition and inverse

    Week 3:          Absolute value -  equations, inequalities, and functions

    Week 4:          Piece-wise functions exploration – taxicab distance

    Week 5:          Polynomials, radicals, and complex numbers

    Week 6:          Introduction to Quadratic Equations and Factoring

    Week 7:          Advanced factoring techniques and graphing quadratics

    Week 8:          Completing the Square and the Quadratic Formula, Vertex Formula

    Week 9:          Quadratic Inequalities, geometric definition of parabola

    Week 10:        Quadratic problem solving, explorations

    Week 11:        Exponential Functions, logarithms

    Week 12:        Logarithmic functions, radical functions, rational functions

    Week 13:        Sequences and Series: Arithmetic and finite geometric

    Week 14:        Sequences and Series: Infinite geometric and telescoping

    Week 15:        From pattern to equation

    Week 16:        Student led explorations and problem solving

    Flexibility is key, and student learning needs are the guiding force.

    Please note that class will not meet on Thursday, November 28th, due to US Thanksgiving.

    • 21 Jan 2020
    • 07 May 2020
    • 31 sessions
    • 4

    Proving the Point: A Perigon of Geometry

    Tuesdays at 3:00 pm and Thursdays at 4:30 pm Eastern for 16 weeks

    Instructor: Lisa Fontaine-Rainen

    What happens when you make that point?  What if you draw this line in the sand?  Geometry may sound a lot like arguing, but the deductive logic behind it makes those arguments, well, pointless.

    Proving the Point: A Perigon of Geometry is an advanced, fast-paced high-school level geometry course that encourages deep understanding of geometric concepts, with an emphasis on Euclidean geometry, and deductive reasoning to construct proofs.  We will be working on completing a full Geometry curriculum in 16 weeks.

    The course is designed to meet the needs of gifted and twice exceptional students ready to tackle high school geometry.  In response to the needs of these students, the course is designed to be flexible and responsive – thinking, learning, and engagement take precedence over all else.  With this in mind, the syllabus may change based on the needs of the students.

    This course will weave Geometry: Seeing, Doing, Understanding by Harold Jacobs with Art of Problem Solving’s Introduction to Geometry.  Students are encouraged to have access to both texts – please contact the instructor directly if this is a financial hardship.

    Students will need to do homework outside of class to ensure we can keep up the pace.  This will include in-depth problems, simple exercises, proofs, quizzes and tests, and projects.  Work will be modified based on the learning needs of each student, and opportunities for further exploration will usually be provided.  Grades are optional – learning is constant.


    Week 1: Introduction to Geometry

    Week 2: Introduction to Deductive Reasoning

    Week 3: Lines and Angles – an introduction to construction

    Week 4: Congruence – Triangles and Constructions

    Week 5: Inequalities in Geometry

    Week 6: Parallel Lines and Proofs

    Week 7: Quadrilaterals

    Week 8: Transformations

    Week 9: Area

    Week 10: Similarity

    Week 11: The Right Triangle – an introduction to Trigonometry

    Week 12: Circles

    Week 13: Concurrence Theorems

    Week 14: Regular Polygons

    Week 15: Geometric Solids

    Week 16: Non-Euclidean Geometries

    • 21 Jan 2020
    • 07 Apr 2020
    • 12 sessions
    • On Line
    • 11

    Lisa Fontaine-Rainen, instructor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    All times are U.S. East Coast. 

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


    Day 1: Why do I believe what I believe? 

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

    Ch. 1, in class

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

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

    Ch. 2, 3

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

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

    Ch 4, 5

    Day 4: Offering an alternative explanation or Trouble Trusting Adults

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

    Ch 6

    Day 5:  Manipulating Reality or  the Trust, but Verify

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

    Ch. 7, 8

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

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

    Ch 9, 10, 11, Omake File 2

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

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

    Ch. 12,13

    Day 8: An Unusually Pessimistic Imagination or Most Dangerous Student

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

    Ch. 14,15

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

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

    Ch. 16,17

    Day 10:Vitally Important Technique or Impulse to Kindness

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

    Ch. 18, 19, 20

    Day 11: A Priceless Opportunity

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

    Day 12:  Oogely boogely! or Observation

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

    • 22 Jan 2020
    • 11 Mar 2020
    • 8 sessions
    • online
    • 10

    Instructor: Maria Johnson

    This is intended as a fun course to teach children the basics of reading a text closely through studying animals in Alice in Wonderland.

    Since the book is not very long, we will read the entire thing. Each week we will tackle another three chapters. Our approaches for analyzing the text will vary. Sometimes, we will read together and make observations; other times, we will form a comparison using the Disney animated movie and original book. Our goal is not to make one definitive thesis about animals, but rather to make a first foray into literary analysis using a fun topic.

    Recommended ages: 7-12

    Course Outline:

           Chapters 1-3

           How is Carroll preparing us to read the story?

           What kind of child are we following throughout the story?

           How does the White Rabbit compare with Alice?

           How does the book White Rabbit compare with the Disney one?

           Chapters 4-6

           Which animals are human-like? Which animals are not even animal-like?

           Why is there such a variety of animals, who are outside of our earthly zoo, in the book?

           What is unique about the caterpillar?

           How is the caterpillar similar or dissimilar to a human?

           How does the caterpillar compare between the book and the Disney movie?

           Chapters 7-9

           Are the card-people men or animals?

           Few animals are inside the Queen of Heart’s court. Does that mean animals are considered wild?

           Are the animals inside the court only ever dumb?

           Alice makes friends throughout the story. Why do they always talk?

           Does ability to think mean ability to talk?

           Chapters 10-12

           What role do Gryphon and the Mock Turtle play?

           Does Alice belong in wonderland?

           What kind of animals populate the jury box?

           How do the animals change as Alice begins to wake up at the end of the story?

    Final Assignment:

    We will have one assignment due at the end of term. Students may choose from the following


           Write your own story which includes animals.

           Use some of the quirky characteristics of Carroll’s animals.

           Minimum -  500 words


           Create your own comic strip using the animals from Alice in Wonderland.

           Write about what makes Tenniel’s illustrations unusual.

           Explanation minimum - 250 words.


           Explain the significance of one of the animals in shaping the story..

           Minimum - 500 words.

    Required Texts:

    Alice in Wonderland - Link


    Our class is structured as a discussion. Questions fuel our class. Therefore, participation on the part of the student is very important. I want to hear the student’s thoughts and opinions. That said, I do not need the “perfect” answer. You cannot edit a blank page, nor can you strengthen a silent response. I hope the student will feel comfortable to share without worrying about their grade or my opinion of them. If the student does not feel comfortable speaking in class, there will be a document open where they can write. This document will be open in between classes if the student wants to reflect and contribute later. I count participation because I want the student’s voices to make up our discussions.


    For the lecture itself, we will use Zoom. Class communication, discussion, and homework will be done through Google Drive.


    Students should always do their own work. Cheating and copying are not allowed.


    Students’ age, experience, and limitations will be taken into consideration and potentially accommodated for. Let me know if assistance is needed.

    The instructor reserves the right to change this syllabus at any time. Students and parents will be informed of these changes by email and/or in class.

    • 23 Jan 2020
    • 12 Mar 2020
    • 8 sessions
    • Online


    Do you love escape rooms?  Have you heard of the MIT Mystery Hunt?  Are you intrigued by a bunch of puzzles that work together towards a single meta-solution?  Do you love working with others as a team to tackle tricky teasers? 

    This class is all about teamwork - we’ll come together to work on solving a small puzzle hunt in the style of MIT Mystery Hunt.  Each student will also create at least one puzzle with an extractable solution, which I will then work into a meta-puzzle for our own mini puzzle-hunt.

    This is a light, fun course that will also prepare students to hit the ground running in GCP’s Puzzlecraft course.  Each term this is offered, we will tackle a different issue of P&A Magazine , so students may choose to take this course multiple times and will have a different experience each time.  If you’d like to try out the magazine, there is a free sampler at  I highly encourage families to try the sampler out together.

    Students must be prepared to work on puzzles outside of the live class time, collaboratively through Google docs and forum discussions.

    Come sharpen your puzzle solving skills in ways far beyond the typical!  Come puzzle with us!

    Puzzle in our course image was created at, and is in the style of puzzles called Paint by Numbers or Descartes Engima.  For those who register on that site, the puzzle is #32408 and available to solve.  A blank copy of it is below.


    Day 1: Introduction to puzzles with extractable solutions, tips for solving puzzle hunts, introduction to our issue of P&A Magazine

    Day 2: Collaborative solving - puzzles determined by participants.  Introduction to meta-puzzles.

    Day 3: Collaborative solving - puzzles determined by participants.  Crafting a puzzle - the basics.

    Day 4: Collaborative solving - puzzles determined by participants.  Crafting a puzzle - working backwards from the solution.

    Day 5: Collaborative solving - puzzles determined by participants.  Crafting a puzzle - choosing a theme.

    Day 6: Collaborative solving - puzzles determined by participants.  Crafting a puzzle - creating flavor text.

    Day 7: Collaborative solving - puzzles determined by participants.  Crafting a puzzle - the importance of puzzle testing.

    Day 8: Collaborative solving, finishing the puzzle hunt.  Sharing out of puzzles crafted.

    Registering for this class allows you to register for Puzzlecraft at a discounted price!

    • 23 Jan 2020
    • 12 Mar 2020
    • 8 sessions
    • online
    • 10

    Instructor: Maria Johnson
    3-12 students
    Suggested Age Range: 13-18
    Meets: Thursdays, 2:30pm, Eastern Time

    Course Description:

    Limited government that valued representation, moral aptitude through following specific virtues, persuasive writing style, electricity, and so much more! These are what Benjamin Franklin gave America in its infancy. Through studying solely his writings we can see into his own mind and his world at large. We can see how he formulates and defends his beliefs with his pen. Students  will be able to learn how he wrote while at the same time learning some history. Take a seat with Benjamin Franklin. Learn from the master. Afterwards, you are sure to not only be a better writer but also a better person.

    This class is recommended for learners aged 11-15. After each class meeting, learners will have the opportunity to practice their skills through assigned reading and a writing challenge. Between class meetings, learners will need access to a word processor. All reading materials will be provided by the teacher.

    This class has 8 meetings (either 8 weeks of single sessions or 4 weeks of two sessions). This course is interdisciplinary at its core. While analyzing texts, we will dabble in history, politics, and science. We will take a chronological approach to the writings of Benjamin Franklin. We will even be analyzing the Declaration of Independence, since Franklin played a key role in writing it. Student activities will include writing an experiment, following Franklin’s daily schedule, and writing under a pseudonym.

    Course Schedule:

    1. Silence Dogood Letters, 1-3, 1722 (4 pages, single spaced)

    •        Benjamin Franklin writes under a pseudonym. He pretends to be an elderly woman. Through this letter we are introduced not only to Benjamin Franklin but also the 18th Century.
    •        Questions for discussion:

           How do we know he is a trustworthy writer? How does he prove his credibility?

           What does he hope the reader will take from the work? What is the purpose of reading from his point of view?

           What can we learn about his world from this?

           How does his writing style differ from our own today?

    2. Letter to Peter Collinson, 1753 (8 pages, single spaced)

           In this letter he discusses his electricity experiments in depth. This shows what a renaissance man he was. We will discuss Benjamin Franklin the inventor, specifically how he explains and defends himself on paper. Students who especially like science will enjoy this section.

           Questions for discussion:

           What is his methodology in his experiments?

           What can we learn about the man from this letter?

           How would you go about writing about an experiment?

           How does his writing differ from the Silence Dogood letters?

    3. Declaration of Independence, 1776 (3 pages, single spaced)

           Benjamin Franklin was on the committee to write it, and he had a heavy hand in forming it. Reading this allows us to talk about Benjamin Franklin the politician. He contributed greatly to America’s success through staying true to his own character and ideals.

           Questions for discussion:

           What additions did Benjamin Franklin make?

           Where are his other  ideas evident within?

           Why is this document so important?

           How have Benjamin Franklin’s ideas and values stayed alive in modern society?

           How does the style of this document differ from others we have read?

    4. Excerpt from his autobiography, 1784 (4 pages, single spaced)

           Written at the end of his life, this closes down the course nicely. This excerpt is on self improvement through careful attention to specific virtues. Benjamin Franklin the human and craftsman of self.

           Questions for consideration:

           Why did Benjamin Franklin want to improve himself?

           What did he focus on? How does he explain it?

           What did he exclude?

           What tone does he write this in?

           What can we learn from his regime?


    Final Assignment:

    We will have one assignment due at the end of term. Students may choose from the following


           Write a story using Ben and a moment in his life.

           Use historical details, which we discussed in our class.

           Minimum -  1,000 words


           Write a letter pretending to be someone else.

           Use that letter to instruct the reader. 

           Mimic Silence Dogood’s style. Convince someone you are an authority on a topic.

           Minimum - 500 words.


           Write out a plan for an experiment OR how an experiment went afterwards.

           What failures do you predict or did you experience? How will you make sure that the experiment is trustworthy?

           Minimum - 500 words.


    Required Texts:

    Silence Dogood Letters, 1-3, 1722 - link 1link 2link 3

    Letter to Peter Collinson, 1753 - link

    Declaration of Independence, 1776 - link

    Excerpt from his autobiography, 1784 - link 1link 2



    Our class is structured as a discussion. Questions fuel our class. Therefore, participation on the part of the student is very important. I want to hear the student’s thoughts and opinions. That said, I do not need the “perfect” answer. You cannot edit a blank page, nor can you strengthen a silent response. I hope the student will feel comfortable to share without worrying about their grade or my opinion of them. If the student does not feel comfortable speaking in class, there will be a document open where they can write. This document will be open in between classes if the student wants to reflect and contribute later. I count participation because I want the student’s voices to make up our discussions.


    For the lecture itself, we will use Zoom. Class communication, discussion, and homework will be done through Google Drive.


    Students should always do their own work. Cheating and copying are not allowed.


    Students’ age, experience, and limitations will be taken into consideration and potentially accommodated for. Let me know if assistance is needed.

    The instructor reserves the right to change this syllabus at any time. Students and parents will be informed of these changes by email and/or in class.

    • 23 Jan 2020
    • 07 May 2020
    • 15 sessions
    • On Line
    • 10

    Lisa Fontaine-Rainen, instructor

    Is a world without death an ideal to be dreamed of?  What if we can also ensure that everyone has enough to live?  Will it lead to a rise of art and human expression?  Will it mean we learn to be kind and build relationships to last?

    And what if there’s a limit to how many humans it can support?

    In Scythe we follow the story of two young apprentices, being taught the methods and intense ethics of being one of those who decides who will die, to ensure the world can continue to support humanity. 

    While the premise may sound grim, the thinking they must engage in is profoundly moving.  The book affords us an opportunity to examine examples of power throughout history, the history of science, how scientific development has changed the human experience, and the role of technology and artificial intelligence in humanity’s future.  We’ll explore the relationship between the human experience and human expression, philosophy and ethics, and numerous literary and historical references. 

    Participants will engage in discussions about specific chapters each class, and we will develop answers to overall questions throughout the course.  In addition to the reading, there will be small homework assignments intended to provoke thought and response – written responses are not required.  There will be a few larger assignments that may involve some research and analysis, and some creative expression.  These can be tailored to individual needs.

    The following syllabus breaks down the chapters read for each week.  It will be revised to include topics and questions we’ll explore each week, and titles for each day.

    No class April 9th.


    Day 1: Introduction to the course and main themes. 

    Reading: Chapters 1 and 2 (to be completed before the first class)

    Day 2:

    Reading: Chapters 3, 4, 5

    Day 3:

    Chapters 6, 7, 8

    Day 4:

    Chapters 9, 10, 11

    Day 5:

    Chapters 12, 13, 14

    Day 6:

    Chapters 15, 16, 17

    Day 7:

    Chapters 18, 19, 20, 21

    Day 8:

    Chapters 22, 23

    Day 9:

    Chapters 24, 25, 26

    Day 10:

    Chapters 27, 28, 29*  (29 may be moved to day 11)

    Day 11: 

    Chapters 30, 31, 32, 33

    Day 12:

    Chapters 34, 35, 36

    Day 13:

    Chapters 37, 38

    Day 14:

    Chapters 39, 40

    Day 15: 

    Examining story as a whole, discussing screen adaptations, final assignment work, looking forward.

    Current assignments planned (these may be modified, some may be optional):

    Research assignment: Power and corruption

    Names and Scythes – a historical comparison

    Self as a Scythe – a self-reflection

    Study of an Artist’s Life

    Creative writing assignment – imagining possible futures

    • 23 Jan 2020
    • 14 May 2020
    • 17 sessions
    • Online
    • 7

    Instructor: Trina Overgaard Toups
    5-10 students
    Suggested Age Ranges: 12-17
    Meets: Thursdays, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Eastern Time


    High School Chemistry for Gifted Homeschoolers

    Is your student ready for a systematic study of science? Going beyond the wow factor of videos and games, we will embark on a tour of general chemistry appropriate for honors chemistry high school students. The complete course will be two full semesters. 

    StudentsIt is expected that the students for this will approximately fit the following profile:

    1. Gifted Students in the age range 12-17.

    2. Eager and excited to learn about science, and discuss it with peers.

    3. Comfortable with math, and probably have completed Algebra I.

    4. Able to commit to out of class work in the neighborhood of up to 3-4 hours per week.

    5. Willing to be guided to learn rather than led through all details.

    6. Able to respect the pace of the classroom setting, which will move quickly, and limit participation to on-topic matters.

    7. Realize that chemistry builds upon prior knowledge, and try to stay current with the material.

    MaterialsFamilies will be requested to provide a calculator, pencil, and paper every session. Textbook will be an online text for $75 which also includes interactive modules for learning. Cost covers 720 days of usage. Source: supplemental materials will be workbooks which can be purchased for moderate costs.

    CurriculumThe curriculum will consist of a full year course such as would be offered as honors chemistry, or perhaps AP chemistry in high schools. Students will be expected and encouraged to continue learning each section through further course materials and assignments provided by the instructor. Assignments will not have undue repetition or drudgery, but should be taken seriously by the student and family for effective learning.  Documentation of material covered and certification of participation will be provided for students who wish to use such to attain credit from institutions. Students and parents who wish this option should be diligent in keeping records of student work. 

    • 24 Jan 2020
    • 17 Apr 2020
    • 13 sessions
    • online
    • 11

    Instructor: Josh Shaine

    Fridays at 4:30 pm Eastern, 12 weeks, starting January 24

    This study is an introduction to why we do what we do ­ or at least, a lot of different people's views of it! We'll look at some of the popular theorists, a few of the unpopular ones, one or two of the obscure ones, and at least one of the totally impossible (for me, at least) to understand ones!

    Emphasis will be on how it applies to life today, for you and other people. Theorists will include Freud, Jung, Skinner, Dabrowski, Wilbur, Gilligan, and many more.

    Homework will include lots of reading, some video­watching, and two or three papers.

    Outline to follow.

    1. Introductions and Definitions
    2. Correlation and Causation
    3. Social Cognition, Schemas and Heuristics
    4. Self-fulfilling Prophecies
    5. Bases of Self-worth
    6. End of Term Project 
    7. Self-awareness, Self-perception, and Other Selfish Concepts
    8. Advertising, Persuasion, and Attitude Change
    9. Persuasion and Conformity
    10. Unitary vs. Divisive Tasks
    11. Helping Behavior in Emergencies
    12. Final Project Presentations
    • 27 Jan 2020
    • 16 Mar 2020
    • 8 sessions
    • online
    • 9

    Instructor: Maria Johnson
    3-12 students
    Suggested Age Ranges: 13-18
    Meets: Mondays, 10:00am; 8 sessions; starting January 27th.

    Course Description:

    J. R. R. Tolkien plays the role of a loquacious narrator throughout The Hobbit. He is in continual dialog with us, the reader, telling of Biblo’s epic adventure. Together, we will read chapters of The Hobbit, focusing on the topic of Bilbo’s bravery through the eyes of Tolkein, the narrator.

    This class is recommended for learners aged 11-15. We meet either twice a week for 4 weeks or once a week for 8 weeks, depending on the term, reading select chapters closely. After each class, learners will have the opportunity to complete their assigned reading and a writing challenge. Between class meetings, learners will need access to a word processor and The Hobbit so they can read more of the story

    Overarching Questions:

           How and when was Bilbo brave and courageous in The Hobbit?

           What role does Tolkien play in shaping Bilbo’s transformation for the reader?

           What makes Bilbo change and become more courageous?

           Why does Tolkien value and spend so much time on going out of your comfort zone?

           What can we learn from Bilbo’s transformation as portrayed by Tolkien?

    Course Schedule:

           1. Chapter 1 (23 pages)

           Tolkein sets up the whole story in this chapter. We learn about Bilbo’s character and ancestry, Gandalf, and the situation with the dwarves. The sharpest contrasts between Bilbo’s existing comfortable life and his soon to be adventurous one are clearly visible in this chapter.

           Questions for discussion:

           How did adventure land on Bilbo’s doorstep?

           Why did Gandalf choose Bilbo?

           What is the significance of the Tookish blood within Bilbo?

           How do we see the two sides of Bilbo struggling as matters of the forthcoming adventure are being discussed?

           What outside influences, such as music and provocation, play a part in changing Bilbo’s mind about the adventure?

           What role does “comfort” play in the Hobbit life?

           What is Tolkien, the narrator, adding to this account? What is he communicating to the reader? How does this compare to a children’s story, such as Alice in Wonderland?

           What changes in Bilbo’s character do you see even in this first chapter?

           2. Chapter 5 (20 pages)

           This chapter falls closely to the middle of the book. Clearly, Bilbo already is a new person. This chapter narrates the exchange between Bilbo and Gollum.

           Questions for discussion:

           Having lost his home comforts, what new ways does Bilbo find to comfort and strengthen himself?

           In what ways can we compare Bilbo and Gollum? Is Gollum similar to Bilbo? How does Bilbo compare himself to Gollum?

           What role do the riddles play in this scene?

           How do stress and fear influence Bilbo’s actions and words?

           Tolkien introduces the magical ring in this chapter, how does he do so? Does it feel natural or orchestrated? What role does “luck” play in this scene?

           Bilbo shows many moments of bravery. What would have happened had he not? How did he do so? When did he do so?

           3. Chapter 12 (18 pages)

           At last, Bilbo confronts the dragon himself. His greatest act of bravery! Bilbo’s transformation of character shines brightest here in the moments before and after the confrontation.

           Questions for discussion:

           In chapters 1, 5, and now 12 we see darkness holds significance. Why is this?

           Bilbo continues to struggle with his Tookish and comfortable Hobbit natures. Where is this seen within the chapter? Why is he still struggling?

           Tolkien wrote, “He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone.” Why does he consider it so? What happened or didn’t happen in that tunnel? What did Bilbo overcome? How did he show bravery?

           How did Bilbo earn the respect of the dwarves and even become “the real leader in their adventure?”

           What makes Bilbo a good burglar?

           How does Tolkien show (not tell) that Bilbo is scared? What makes Bilbo overcome these fears?

           How might you overcome homesickness?

           4. Chapter 19 (7 pages)

           Now the story concludes. Bilbo gets to come home, albeit as a very different little Hobbit.

           Questions for consideration:

           Looking closely at the songs sung in the last chapter, what are they singing about? How does this reflect the attitudes held by the adventurers? What does it mean to come home?

           Bilbo’s desire for comfort has been a constant friend of ours. Now finally at home again, where does comfort come in? Is Bilbo glad? What does he immediately reinstate into his routine?

           Handkerchiefs, or the lack of them, play a supporting role throughout the entire book. What could be said for this? What is Tolkien communicating to us?

           Gandalf said, “Something is the matter with you! You are not the hobbit that you were.” Tolkien relates that Bilbo’s neighbors now think him queer. How has Bilbo changed? Is it for the better?

           Would you go on an adventure?


    Final Assignment:

    We will have one assignment due at the end of term. Students may choose from the following

    • Story

           Write an adventure story with a heavily involved narrator.

           Mimic Tolkien’s style of writing, where we know everything that is going on, everything everyone is thinking, and the significance of everything. Use an omniscient view of the story.

           Minimum -  1,000 words

    • Object

           Draw or 3D sculpt a scene where a hero is overcoming his fear and exhibiting bravery.

           Explain your art and how your hero was brave.

           Explanation minimum - 500 words.

    • Report

           Write a report about how people can overcome their fears.

           Reference scenes from the book where Bilbo was brave and how he overcame his fears.

           Minimum - 1,000 words.


    Required Texts:

    The Hobbit - Link


    Our class is structured as a discussion. Questions fuel our class. Therefore, participation on the part of the student is very important. I want to hear the student’s thoughts and opinions. That said, I do not need the “perfect” answer. You cannot edit a blank page, nor can you strengthen a silent response. I hope the student will feel comfortable to share without worrying about their grade or my opinion of them. If the student does not feel comfortable speaking in class, there will be a document open where they can write. This document will be open in between classes if the student wants to reflect and contribute later. I count participation because I want the student’s voices to make up our discussions.


    For the lecture itself, we will use Zoom. Class communication, discussion, and homework will be done through Google Drive.


    Students should always do their own work. Cheating and copying are not allowed.


    Students’ age, experience, and limitations will be taken into consideration and potentially accommodated for. Let me know if assistance is needed.

    The instructor reserves the right to change this syllabus at any time. Students and parents will be informed of these changes by email and/or in class. 

    • 27 Jan 2020
    • 18 May 2020
    • 17 sessions
    • online
    • 8

    Instructor: Sherene Raisbeck

    Dates and Times to be set soon

    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

    • 27 Jan 2020
    • 11 May 2020
    • 16 sessions
    • Online
    • 3


    Mathematical Explorations: Probability, the Improbable and the Counterintuitive

    Mathematics courses often teach students how to solve problems, use algorithms, and number crunch.  Even probability classes tend to focus on algoriths for solving problems in probability, rather than exploring how far one can go, and how counterintuitive some of the answers may be.

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

    In Probability, the Improbable and the Counterintuitive, we’ll delve deeply into some astonishing ideas in probability.  We’ll look at some counterintuitive problems, discussing what makes them counterintuitive and how to make them clear.  We’ll pose all sorts of problems that will make us think much deeper than any basic probability problem.  We’ll delve deeply into Bayesian probability, game theory, the math behind card counting and the MIT teams that took Vegas for millions, and so much more.


    Week 1: Introduction to Problem Posing in Probability - coin flipping part 1

    Week 2: Coin flipping part 2 - counterintuitive results

    Week 3: Guessing numbers - strategies and extensions

    Week 4: Using the complement - the Birthday Problem

    Week 5: Monty Hall problem with extensions

    Week 6: Ellsberg Paradox and other classical counterintuitive probability problems

    Week 7: Introduction to expected value with some game analysis

    Week 8: Card counting, MIT blackjack teams, strategy and expected value

    Week 9: Game Theory Introduction, classical problems

    Week 10: Bayesian Probability

    Week 11: Plane problem, hat problem

    Week 12: Probability and combinatorics – extended problem solving

    Week 13: Game analysis

    Week 14: A flexible day to catch up on anything we’ve missed or would like to extend:

    Week 15: Student posed problems

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

    • 27 Jan 2020
    • 16 Mar 2020
    • 8 sessions
    • Online
    • 10

    Instructor: Hosanna Patience

    5-10 students, ages 13 +

    Meets: Mondays at 2pm (ET)

    Start Date: January 27th

    Pre-requisites: None


    Should I be writing daily? What about inspiration?  If I am listening, will my characters “speak” to me?  Why is writing so much work?  These are just some of the many questions students will answer in the Creative Writing Labs as they define the techniques used when writing short stories, poetry, and autobiographical works. Student will then start writing a short story, a poem, and an autobiographical work that will be workshopped in class. Writing from Flannery O’Connor, Terri Bisson, Sandra Cisneros, and more will be read. 

    Class Outline:

    Week 1: Short Story: Setting, POV, perspective, character, and plotting.

    Week 2: Short Story: Inspiration, writer’s block, refining your work.

    Week 3: Short Story: Read and comment on student stories.

    Week 4: Poetry: Verse, meter, meaning, and more.

    Week 5: Poetry: Read and comment on student poems.

    Week 6: Memoir: Using autobiographical detail with story-writing.

    Week 7: Memoir: Read and comment on autobiographical works.

    Week 8: Where to submit and publish.


    For each of the three labs, students will write and revise short stories, poetry, and memoir outside of class.

    • 27 Jan 2020
    • 17 Mar 2020
    • 8 sessions
    • Online
    • 9

    Instructor: Hosanna Patience

    5-10 students, ages 13 +

    Meets: Mondays at 3 p.m. (ET) 

    Start Date: January 27th

    Pre-requisites: None


    How did John Steinbeck affect change? What about Malala Yousafzai after she was shot? Can literature be used to speak to those issues that matter most to us? Students will answer these questions and more as they read short stories, poetry, essays and blogs.  Students will then write works of literature that voice their issues. The focus of these classes is not on following any political ideology, but on fostering change as we work to speak against that which we fear.

    Class Outline:

    Week 1: What Matters and Why?

    Students will begin thinking about what is important to them and discuss their justification for why, then they will explore the young voices of today, including Greta Thunberg, Emma Gonzalez, Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martine, Payla Jangid, and “Mari” Copeny.

    Week 2: Poetry

    Maya Angelou, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”

    Blas De Luna, “Bent to the Earth”

    Martin Niemöller, “First They Came for the Jews”

    Joseph Bruchac, “Steel”

    Week 3: Poetry Writing

    Students will explore poetry techniques, then work on writing a poem about an issue to which they want to put attention.

    Week 4: Autobiographical Works

    Malala Yousafzai, from I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban 

    David Foster Wallace, “Consider The Lobster

    Week 5: Autobiographical Writing

    Students will explore essay writing and memoir techniques using autobiographical detail and write about an issue to which they want to put attention.

    Week 6:  Fiction

    Excerpt from John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath

    Shauna Singh Baldwin “Montreal 1962”

    Week 7: Fiction Writing

    Students will explore writing techniques, including setting, POV, plotting, and tension, characters, and more, and then work on writing a short story.

    Week 8: Work on Final Publication: Writing to Promote Change.

    A book of final student writing will be printed.

    • 27 Jan 2020
    • 18 May 2020
    • 17 sessions
    • Online

    Instructor: Josh Shaine
    3-12 students
    Suggested Age Ranges: 13+
    Meets: Mondays at 3:00pm ET, 15 weeks, starting January. 27th.

    Course Description

    What Science Fiction novels have you read that you think everybody else should read, too, if only so you have somebody to talk to about them?! What SF novels have you wanted to read, but just not gotten around to? The class will choose which books we will read during the term, then we'll explore them, with a different novel every two weeks

    There have been some outstanding films that help illustrate the principles of Science Fiction - exploring what makes them exemplars can be a blast!.

    “That movie was soooooooo bad! Gotta talk about it.” “Oh, but I thought it was great!”

    Everybody has an opinion, but they don’t all agree. We will look at some movies, old and new, good and bad, to discuss them in terms of Science Fiction, as well as in terms of how movies work or don’t. I hope to cover a movie per week. 

    Possible movies include 2001, Dark Star, Solaris, Back to the Future, Buckaroo Banzai, Jurassic Park, and many more. Some movies may be PG 13.

    Description of final project options for students:

    Students will craft a response to one or more of the works we have read, though it might be fiction rather than essay! (It might be music or artwork, for that matter.)


    1. These are a few of my favorite books!
    2. Book One
    3. Movie One
    4. Book Two
    5. Movie Two
    6. Book Three
    7. Movie Three and Discussion of Final Project
    8. Book Four
    9. Movie Four
    10. Book Five
    11. Movie Five
    12. Book Six
    13. Movie Six
    14. Book Seven
    15. Final Projects

    The students and I will share our creations, whether story, essay, art, or something else, during the last session.

    • 27 Jan 2020
    • 18 May 2020
    • 17 sessions
    • Online

    Speculative Literature: Powers Beyond the Ordinary - "Super" Women and Men in Science Fiction & Fantasy

    InstructorJosh Shaine
    3-10 students
    Suggested Ages: 13+ years old
    Meets: Mondays, 4:30 pm ET, 15 sessions starting January 27th


    Science Fiction and Fantasy stories have many characters who stick out compared to others because they have more magic, different powers, unique abilities.  Are they hidden or revealed? Are they accepted, worshipped or reviled? How much difference does there have to be for a person to get noticed? We will look at how these characters are treated by the worlds in which they are set and reflect on what, if anything, this says about the society in which we live. We'll look at settings such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the X-Men, as well as many other works - well known and uncommon, both. During the final two sessions, students will have a chance to present their own stories about one of the characters and worlds we discussed or their own creation.



    Speculative Literature:
    Powers Beyond the Ordinary – “Super” Women & Men in Science Fiction & Fantasy

    • 1.       Introduction: Mutants, Wizards, & Geniuses
    • 2.       The Uncanny X-Men
    • 3.       Harry, Hermione, and the Potterverse
    • 4.       Diane Duane’s Young Wizards
    • 5.       Luke, Yoda, Anakin, and Rey
    • 6.       Stephanie Tolan’s Welcome to the Ark
    • 7.       Designing Meta-humans: How much power is too much?
    • 8.       Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic
    • 9.       Superman vs. Batman: What makes a superhero?
    • 10.   Sherlock Holmes
    • 11.   Ideas from Class Discussion
    • 12.   John Hersey’s The Child Buyer
    • 13.   Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game
    • 14.   Comparison and Contrast
    • 15.   Class Presentations
    • 16.   Make-up Day

    • 27 Jan 2020
    • 18 May 2020
    • 17 sessions
    • online
    • 9

    Instructor: Sherene Raisbeck

    Mondays, 5:00pm - 6:00pm, starting January 27th

    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.

    • 28 Jan 2020
    • 14 Apr 2020
    • 12 sessions
    • online
    • 8

    Instructor: Sabrina Weiss

    Tuesdays, 12:00 pm Eastern, January 28th - April 14th 

    Animals are a part of us.  We are animals. We live with animals, we tell stories about animals, we sometimes kill and eat animals. They are a part of our history, our myths, our present, and our future.  We would not be able to exist without other animals, and some of them would not be able to exist without us. But some animals are also in danger because of us.

    How can we better understand and appreciate animals?  This course will explore the many types of relationships we have with our cousins and discuss what we can do to connect and respect them.  Students will be guided in creating, developing, and presenting a final project on a topic related to the course.

    Topic sections: 

    Part 1: Everyday Animals

    Part 2: Mythological and Fantastical Animals

    Part 3: Animals as People?

    • 28 Jan 2020
    • 14 Apr 2020
    • 12 sessions
    • online
    • 15

    Instructor: Sabrina Weiss

    Tuesdays at 4:00 pm Eastern

    Section 1: Starting January 28th

    Section 2: Starting February 25th

    Section 3: Starting March 24th

    Register individually for each section or for all at once.


    This is a workshop-style class for students who are writing or who have already written nonfiction papers like essays and research papers, to get help revising and editing them.  We will identify student needs and provide feedback, support, and suggestions on how to progress with their papers. We will encourage the use of goals and objectives to help organize and plan writing and editing.  Students will be expected to initiate any research that is needed and do the writing. Students will also be expected to offer constructive feedback and criticism to other students as part of the workshop format.  

    This workshop will be available for taking multiple times over the term.  

    • 29 Jan 2020
    • 22 Apr 2020
    • 12 sessions
    • online
    • 15

    Instructor: Sabrina Weiss

    Wednesdays at 12:00 pm Eastern, 12 weeks, starting January 29th

    No classes on April 8th.


    Bodies are strange.  They grow, they change, they do funny things.  We are judged on how our bodies look. Our bodies let us do things in the world.  

    Mature Material: Students taking this course must feel comfortable discussing basic bodily functions, looking at images of bodies, and respect sharing by other students about relevant personal experiences.  Sexuality, basic knowledge of sexual reproduction, and gender norms will be discussed in a mature, appropriate, and inclusive way. 

    Topic Sections: 

    Part 1:  Body Images - Starts January 29

    How do we learn what bodies look like? 

    What is “normal”?  What is “abnormal”?  Why does this matter? 

    How can ideas about “normal bodies” hurt people? 

    How can we change our assumptions about “normal bodies”? 

    Part 2: Un/Healthy Bodies - Starts February 26

    How do we measure whether a body is healthy or unhealthy? 

    What are factors that contribute to health or un-health? 

    Part 3: Different Bodies - Starts March 25

    Disability and difference

    What is a “dis-ability”? 

    • 29 Jan 2020
    • 22 Apr 2020
    • 12 sessions
    • online
    • 15

    Instructor: Sabrina Weiss

    Wednesdays at 2:00 pm Eastern, 12 weeks, starting January 29th

    Food is a universal human experience: everybody eats. Food is a way for us to connect across generations, locations, and societies. But every culture and community prepares, serves, and values food in different ways.  By studying and discussing food, we can understand much about people, their values, and their traditions.  

    This course will explore food as a human experience, as tradition, as healthy/unhealthy, as a way that societies promote or undermine justice.  We will connect food to personal values, historical events, ethics about animals and the environment, and laws and policies. This will be a “college-style,” discussion-focused course.  Students will be expected to read a book about food during the term and do a project related to the course topic by the end of the course. 

    No classes on April 8th.

    Topic sections: 

    Part 1: Culture of Food

    Part 2: Un/Healthy Food?

    Part 3: Ethics and Justice of Food

    • 29 Jan 2020
    • 23 Apr 2020
    • 12 sessions
    • online
    • 15

    Instructor: Sabrina Weiss

    Wednesdays, 4pm, starting January 29th, 12 sessions.

    Students may register for individual parts or the entire class.

    No class April 8th.

    Course Description

    These three mini-courses offer a quick overview of some introductory philosophical concepts that are relevant to our lives in society today.

    Part 1: Ethical Philosophy Introduction - Starts January 29

    What is right, and what is wrong?  These are questions that every society wrestles with every day.  Each of us makes decisions about the right thing to do, but we often don’t know why we do it. 

    This course will explore Western ethical thought through a philosophical approach using case studies that are commonly taught at the college level.  We will discuss different ways that philosophers determine what is right and wrong, and connect those to current events, policy, and historical contexts. Discussion heavy course with recommended readings from online sources like the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    Sample Topics:

    What is Ethics? What is Philosophy? 

    Real world examples showing why ethics is needed 

    Utilitarian Ethics, Part 1: Trolley problem 

    Utilitarian Ethics, Part 2: Lifeboat 

    Deontological Ethics, Part 1: Transplant 

    Deontological Ethics, Part 2: Revisiting the Trolley and Lifeboat 

    Virtue Ethics 

    Care Ethics

    Part 2:   Social Contract Theory: How did we stop stabbing each other? - Starts February 26

    This course is an introduction to three Social Contract philosophical theories by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  We will use secondary sources to do an overview of each theory, compare-contrast them, and discuss how they influence how we think today.  Connections to historical, social, and political context will be included. This course could be considered an approachable introduction to philosophy.

    Students will be expected to prepare for class and participate actively in our discussions (whether through voice or text chat).  Students will also be asked to maintain a thought journal throughout the course to aid reflection and discussion. 

    Part 3: Public and Private: Understanding Government, Corporations, and Everything In-Between - Starts March 25th 

    This course will explore the concepts of “public” and “private” in society and politics, with a focus on the United States, but comparing/contrasting to international examples.  We will begin with a current events brainstorm about ways that “public” and “private” are used in current discourse, along with expectations and moral implications. Then we will explore the history of the concepts of “public”  and “private”, starting with the Ancient Greeks and moving through the European origins of the corporation. Then we will return to the present day to critically examine how assumptions based in old history influence us today. Finally, we will explore some case studies that show that we need to come up with new ways of discussing public and private. 


    • Issue Brainstorm: why do “public” and “private” matter?  (e.g. parenthood, property, privacy, land)

    • Polis and Oikos: Public and Private in Ancient Greece (e.g. citizenship, gender, discourse)

    • Corporations are People Too!: the rise of the corporation as a public and private entity

    • The present and future of public/private

    • 30 Jan 2020
    • 16 Apr 2020
    • 12 sessions
    • online
    • 15

    Instructor: Sabrina Weiss

    Thursdays, 12pm, 12 weeks, starting January 30

    Students may register for individual parts or the entire class.

    Course Description

    These mini-courses offer a quick overview of three current topics connected to science, technology, and values that are relevant to us today. 

    Part 1:  Should Cars Drive Themselves? - Starts January 30

    Should we give control of our cars to computers?  What are the pros and cons of this?

    With the status quo showing that humans are bad at driving cars because we easily get distracted and don’t make rational judgements under pressure, are we fooling ourselves into thinking that humans are safer than we actually are? 

    This course will be a short, intensive exploration of self-driving cars and the issues surrounding them today.  We will practice critical thinking, question framing, and analysis based on research. Students will be expected to do independent research to prepare for class discussions.   


    “All Hail the Driverless Car!” - IQ2 US Debate


    Introduction to topic

    Watch and discuss “All Hail the Driverless Car!” (2 weeks)

    Background research: status quo driving statistics

    Background research: history of self-driving cars and algorithms

    Analysis and Discussion: putting these together

    Part 2: Who Killed the Climate?: Investigation and Inquiry - Starts February 27

    This topic-specific course will do a deep dive on the topic of climate change.  We will frame this like a murder mystery “whodunnit”: starting with current projections about climate change and the disasters that we see, we will work backwards using living history methods to reconstruct the series of events and decisions that led us to where we are now. This will be an immersive and engaging method for learning the history and politics of climate science, climate policy, and environmental regulations. 

    Students will be expected to prepare for each class meeting by independently investigating a focus question using resources freely available, like internet archives and searches, as well as library resources.  This will be a discussion heavy course, and students will be expected to contribute through voice or text communications during class in an interactive way with the instructor and classmates.  

    Students will choose a subtopic related to the course topic to focus on to prepare a 3 minute briefing for the final class meeting. 

    Part 3: We are All Digital Citizens - Starts March 26

    This course is an introduction to the concept of digital citizenship, an awareness that when we interact with people in online and other digital spaces our conduct matters. While there are risks that we should be aware of, there are choices we can make to be safer and to make a positive climate for everyone. We will look at different types of digital spaces like games, social media, and discussion forums and will discuss risks and responsibilities for each. 


    What is Digital Citizenship, and how are we all citizens of the online space? 

    Citizenship in games: playing well with others

    Conflict in Social Media: how to discuss issues respectfully

    Managing privacy

    • 31 Jan 2020
    • 22 May 2020
    • 17 sessions
    • online
    • 10

    Instructor: Sherene Raisbeck

    Fridays, 10:00am - 11:30am; starting January 31st

    Einstein Adds a New Dimension is the third of three works in Joy Hakim's Story of Sciencethat 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 alternati