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The Science of Secrets
Everybody has secrets. Cryptography studies the various ways in which these secrets are protected, as well as how they are discovered. In this class, we will examine the use of encryption throughout history, from ancient codes and ciphers, through World War II and the Enigma machine, to modern data-encryption algorithms. Students will have the opportunity to create and crack ciphers of their own, as well as learning practical knowledge for protecting themselves in today's digital world.

Explorations in Poetry
Often in school we have the chance to examine and interpret the work of famous poets, but rarely do we look behind their words and examine the creative process itself. In this lesson, we will start by attempting to identify what makes a poem a poem in the first place. Once we are in agreement (or friendly disagreement), we will explore the many frustrating and wonderful ways of finding inspiration, writing, and editing by creating our own poetry and examining the poetry of others in a very different way from the approach taken by many traditional English classes. The lesson will be taught in a workshop style, so students are encouraged to bring their own work to share, if they like, or to bring pieces that they simply enjoy.

When Games Get Real
When should you bluff in a game like Poker? Why don't rational choices always produce the best results? Under what circumstances should purely selfish people cooperate? In this lesson, we will examine questions like these by breaking them down into simple strategic interactions called "games". We will discuss how game theory can help to answer questions in many fields: in economics to analyze auctions and bargaining; in biology to explain animal behavior and communication; in psychology and sociology to study human altruism and decision-making; and in political science to model negotiation, voting, and democratic systems.

The Sounds of Language
"If Barry buried the berry in the wood, Hugh would hew the resulting tree." Any first grade student can tell you that English spelling is a terrible way to represent the actual sounds of our language. By learning about basic phonetics, the study of sounds and how they are produced, you can discover that a lot of what you say doesn't involve the sounds you think it does. We'll also discuss the International Phonetic Alphabet, a system used by linguists and others to represent the actual sounds in the languages of the world.

Waves and Particles
What does it mean for a particle to be a wave - and if it is, how does that change our everyday understanding of the world around us? This lesson provides a basic look at quantum mechanics, one of the most fundamental theories of physics. We'll begin with a classic thought experiment of quantum theory, the single-slit/double-slit experiment, and use that to introduce some of the more essential ideas of wave phenomena. From there, we'll delve into probability states and quantum oscillators, and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and the meaning and expression of position and momentum in a particle wave.

Building a Fictional World
Although the main appeal of fiction is often how widely it diverges from the real world, fictional worlds feature their own internally consistent civilizations and natural laws, necessary for suspension of disbelief. This lesson will introduce students to the complex and fascinating process of worldbuilding, beginning with general areas such as the geography, history, and politics of a fictional world, and touching upon more specific inclusions such as religion, race, culture and languages. Students will identify the basic tenets of worldbuilding and will be encouraged to apply their own observations of the workings of the physical and social world around them to fictional settings.

What Are the Odds?
Probability theory is the study of reasoning under uncertainty. This lesson will cover basic concepts such as probability distributions, conditional probability and expectation. Students will learn to use probability to model real-world situations, including examples from court cases and medicine. After taking this class, students will have a better understanding of what constitutes evidence for a claim and be able to identify common errors of reasoning. We will also explore some fun and surprising results; for instance, the fact that it takes only 23 people to have a greater than 50% chance that some pair share a birthday.

The Shape of the Universe
People talk a lot about the universe, black holes, and the fourth dimension. What are they really? Dark matter, dark energy; how can we possibly know anything about these things? We'll talk about theories of the shape of the universe, the "force" that pushes galaxies away from each other, and some reasons we might not have heard from extra-terrestrial races. After this class, students will be able to describe the 4-dimensional shape of the universe, why supernovas are an important tool in learning about dark energy, and what happens if you fall into a black hole.