High School Courses Developed by MIT

The courses here come from a variety of programs and initiatives that are affiliated with MIT, but aren't necessarily classes a typical MIT student would take. Highlights of Calculus was designed especially for MIT OpenCourseWare by Gilbert Strang to show just how relevant and accessible calculus can be.

The Chandra Astrophysics Institute was an outreach program taught on campus for students in the Boston area and would be useful for anyone interested in learning about astronomy and astrophysics.

The remaining courses were taught by student instructors through the Educational Studies Program and include a wide variety of topics from the humanities to science.

Mathematics

Highlights of Calculus with Gilbert Strang
Probability: Random Isn't So Random
Combinatorics: The Fine Art of Counting

Science

Chandra Astrophysics Institute
The Big Questions
Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
Excitatory Topics in Physics
Guitar Building
Audio and Speaker Electronics

Humanities

Gödel, Escher, Bach
Europe in Crisis: The World Wars in Europe
Leadership Training Institute


Mathematics

Professor Gilbert Strang in his office.Highlights of Calculus is a series of videos that introduce the fundamental concepts of calculus to both high school and college students. Renowned mathematics professor, Gilbert Strang, will guide students through a number of calculus topics to help them understand why calculus is relevant and important to understand.

Professor: Gilbert Strang
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Five multicolored die on a white background.Description:A lot of events in our life seem random or impossible to predict. However, with probability theory we can learn more about these things to solve interesting problems that range from the lottery to diagnosing medical diseases. By teaching you basic principles and more advanced topics about theorems and models, this class will give you the tools to see the world in a different way that may not be intuitive but is proved by the math behind it.

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

Student Instructor: Andrew Sutherland
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Science

This is an image of the Crab Nebula. It is bright blue and shaped like a bell against a black background.Description: The Chandra Astrophysics Institute (CAI) is an opportunity for students in grades 9-11 from a wide range of academic backgrounds to train for and undertake astronomy projects. The students are mentored by MIT scientists and use observations from the Chandra X-Ray space telescope.

Principal Instructor: Mark Hartman
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A blue spiral of stars form the Andromeda Galaxy set against a black background filled with multi-colored stars.Description: Was there a beginning of time? Will there be an end? Is time travel possible? With recent advances in physics (and philosophy), we are finally able to make some headway into some of the most pressing questions of the Universe.

Student Instructor: Nicholas DiBella
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Side-by-side images of two brains. The one on the left is the brain of someone who has Alzheimer's and this brain is darker and has shriveled in comparison to the brain on the right which is normal.Description: Thought, learning, perception, reasoning, and language are all cognitive abilities powered by the soft squishy gray stuff inside our skulls. After a quick-and-dirty introduction to neurons and the brain, we'll examine several aspects of human cognition and look at the neurophysiology that underlies them. We'll also discuss methods used to study these areas, read some current research, and navigate the wilds of the science library.

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

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

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

Student Instructor: Michael Price
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Humanities

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

Student Instructors: Justin Curry; Curran Kelleher
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A European soldier lies on his stomach aiming a rifle. There is rubble around him and a sign pointing towards Caen Centre.Description:World War I and World War II are often seen as one large war by historians. We will look at both wars from a political, military and social perspective. This class will focus on the effect that these wars had on Europe. We might discuss non-European aspects on the war, though in less depth. This class is designed for students who have not studied European History in depth before.

Student Instructor: Michelle Bentivegna
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A red figure stands alone in front of a group of multicolored figures.Description:The purpose of this program is to educate students on the significance of leadership and relay the concepts of leadership through an interactive curriculum. We hope to instill in our students the four cornerstones of our program: charisma, knowledge, teamwork, and self-reflection.

Student Instructors: Lauren Rodda; Amanda Mok
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