Our Program

Each January, Harvard students use their Winter Term break to run an after-school enrichment program in several secondary schools throughout the New York metropolitan area. Each day of the program, students from participating schools are introduced to a different academic topic that is age-appropriate but not covered in the grade school curriculum. The lessons are generally taught by a team of two students from Harvard, who prepare lessons inspired by their own coursework under the supervision of grade-school educators. During the course of the program, the Harvard instructors rotate through the secondary schools, presenting their lessons to each in turn. The exact schedules for the after-school program may vary from school to school.

Lectures are interspersed with related activities and games, with breaks and snacks scheduled in as appropriate. There is no homework or advance preparation for the classes (though our classes will include further reading suggestions to help students learn more about any topic if they'd like to).

We understand that the students at our partner schools will come to the program from a range of grades and with widely differing backgrounds. Therefore, we work closely with each partner school to ensure that we are presenting our material at a level and in a style appropriate for that school's students. Our overall goal is to introduce students to a variety of new ideas and new ways of thinking about the world.

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Mind Games
The human brain is the most complex and powerful cubic foot of space in the universe. Everything we do, think, feel, and believe ultimately comes down to little units in the brain sending messages to each other. We will explore how the brain works and what it’s made of, and then we’ll dive right into the frontiers of neuroscience. For example, we’ll talk about what happens when things go wrong in the brain, how we can hack our brain, how the brain has inspired new technologies, and what future lies ahead for the brain and humanity in general.

"Don't Give Up the Ship!": America's Navy, From Then to Now
How did the U.S. become the great maritime and world power that it is today? Throughout the history of our country, the Navy has been pivotal in ensuring our status as a global force to be reckoned with during both war and peace. Learn about one of the fundamental branches of our armed forces, including the Navy's beginnings, major American naval battles, and the missions and platforms of the modern fleet.

Data Visualization
Did you know that more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of mankind? Data is generated every second you're on the internet, using a cell phone, listening to music, and even walking down the street. To make this information useful, we need to be able to understand it and effectively communicate what's important. We'll take a look at how principles from art, design, psychology, and math can be used to (literally) paint a better picture of the world around us. It'll be a lot better than your average pie chart.

The Theory of Argumentation and Refutation
How do you craft an persuasive argument? What is the best way to approach evidence that initially seems irrefutable? This lesson teaches the steps and methods to impromptu and prepared debate, and will include opportunities for students to practice their newly learned skills.

Making Gains
SWOLE IS THE GOAL, SIZE IS THE PRIZE! Whether you're looking to speed up your mile time, lift that extra 5 pounds, or are just curious about healthy living without wrecking your self-esteem, this lesson is for you. We'll cover optimal training techniques, some diet myths they don't talk about in health class, and how you can live the way you want without going overboard. After 2 hours of study you'll be ready for dominance on and off the field.

Making Math
In math classes across the country, students complain 'This is pointless!', and it's easy to see why. Too often, math is reduced to memorizing abstract rules without knowing why. Math doesn't have to be about following textbook instructions. Math is unique because you get to make whatever rules you want. In this class, we'll think like mathematicians creating our own rules. By the end, we'll see math as a pure, beautiful, creative art form.

How to Build a Blockbuster
Have you ever wondered why everyone loves superhero movies, or why Hollywood seems to only make sequels? It's time to pull back the curtain on why popular products only get more popular. In this lesson we'll learn why a movie studio picks a project, whom they want to play their lead, and how they market it to make a blockbuster.

The Life of a Fish
Have you ever wondered how the fish in your grocery stores and restaurants gets there? What impact does this process have on the environment? Come and learn about the journey your seafood takes before reaching your plate! In the process, dip into several different fields of ocean science.