MST Class Options

Below are the class descriptions for MST@MSU (grades 7-8). New in 2021 - MST will be offered in two one-week options. Students will now select one course track for the week consisting of two academic classes and will rank their choice of enrichment workshop. Students may choose to attend both weeks of MST. You will be notified about your class placement after the final application deadline of May 24th, but before the program begins. 

June 21-25, 2021

MSU@MSU Track Options for June 21-25, 2021
Track Class 1 Class 2

Track 1

Nuclear Astrophysics: Learn about the wonders of
nuclei in deep space

Optics & Photonics: Applying Technology to Solve Real-World Problems

Nuclear Astrophysics: Learn about the wonders of nuclei in deep space

What do the history of the universe, the life and death of stars, and the elements that make up your body have in common? Nuclear astrophysics! Nuclear reactions such as fusion, fragmentation, and radioactive decay have guided the chemical evolution of the universe and the energy cycle in stars.

This course, sponsored by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics and MSU’s world-class Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), will introduce you to the wonders of nuclei in deep space! Activities include:

  • An introduction to nuclear concepts with a hands-on model
  • A (virtual) tour of FRIB's rare isotope research areas
  • A deep dive into how our universe made the elements – Big Bang nucleosynthesis, stellar fusion, explosive capture processes
  • Updates on the latest research in nuclear astrophysics
  • Exploration of careers in research science (or, “people will pay you to learn things”)

Optics & Photonics: Applying Technology to Solve Real-World Problems

Students will learn to think critically and use structured problem solving techniques to apply mathematical concepts. Students will explore new advances in technology using mathematics and will understand how to generate, control, and detect light waves and photons; particles of light, as well as explore optical systems used to detect interactions between light and matter.

The first class will define optics and photonics and each class thereafter will focus on a specific industry and how the study of optics and photonics is playing important roles in further developing these growing fields. Articles will be sampled based on industry concentration, some industries that will be discussed include healthcare, communications, robotics, aerospace, and defense.

Students will also learn about electronic devices used in embedded systems; optical sensors, which are commercially available to them that they can use to solve real or hypothetical problems.  The class will continue to explore applications of this field in many areas of study, including biology, mechanics, and measurement.

MSU@MSU Track Options for June 21-25, 2021
Track Class 1 Class 2

Track 2

Statistics in Real Life: How we process, interpret, and analyze data

Java Development:
Creating in a Windows Environment

Statistics in Real Life: How we process, interpret, and analyze data

Introduce key statistical ideas and help students deepen their understanding of mathematics in the real world. Let students grasp statistical ideas and to start understanding the math underlying statistical models. Topics covered: population surveys, data matching, hypothesis testing, binomial distribution, sample sizes, etc.

Java Development: Creating in a Windows Environment

Computer programming requires setting up your machine to create and execute your commands. This introduction to the Java computer language will give students the building blocks they need to begin programming in a Windows environment by starting from zero to effectively create a programming environment with JDK (Java Development Kit) and IDE (Integrated Development Environment) before moving on to the basics of what a Java web application entails: a web server and a WAR (Web Application Archive) file. From there, students will learn how to deploy a simple web app on their web server and how to write their own simple web application. This class is the perfect first step for anyone interested in programming basics in a Windows environment.


July 12-16, 2021

MSU@MSU Track Options for July 12-16, 2021
Track Class 1 Class 2

Track 3

Mechatronics: A blend of mechanical and electrical engineering, computer control, and information technology

3D Animation: Digitalized art and storytelling

Mechatronics: A blend of mechanical and electrical engineering, computer control, and information technology

Unlike Engineering 101, which explores several different aspects of engineering, our mechatronics class will focus on a blend of mechanical engineering (the design, construction, and use of machines), electrical engineering (the technology of electricity), computer control, and information technology. Mechatronics is a design process to create more functional and adaptable products such as combustion engines for spacecrafts, power systems, and artificial limbs.

In this course, students will understand the basics of electro-mechanical systems and learn Ohm’s Law, Kirchoff’s Voltage and Current Laws, while doing hands-on activities. The class will use the classic Parallax’s Basic Stamp II microcontroller, Parallax’s Board of Education, and the PBASIC programming language (computer programming alert!).

Students will learn the basics of becoming a MAKER while building:

  • LED circuits & LED driving circuits with transistors.
  • Photodiodes
  • Standard Servos
  • Continuous Servos
  • Pullup and Pulldown circuits with pushbuttons and more!

3D Animation: Digitalized art and storytelling

Have you ever dreamed of creating your own animated worlds, characters, creatures and stories like the ones in blockbuster animated films such as Monsters Inc., Kung Fu Panda and Frozen? Since its conception, Animation has always been a place where anything you imagine can happen.

Animation was born when people such as Eadweard Muybridge and J. Stuart Blackton used cutting-edge technology to imitate motion with photographs and drawings. Now, over 100 years later, there is little resemblance between those experiments and modern films. However, technology remains indispensable. Some of the most advanced computer systems in the world are dedicated to bringing fantastical worlds, creatures and characters to life.

In the Animation class, students will learn about the concepts and techniques used in professional animation studios around the world. They will use the same tools as the pros to bring their ideas to life through drawing, digital sculpting, modeling, lighting, rigging, animation, and more.

Successful collaboration and communication is key to large animation productions. So, students will pitch ideas, designs, and stories, as well as learn how to give and receive creative critique. Additionally, students will have the option to collaborate with one another to create projects.

At the end of the class students will have a broad understanding of a modern 3D animation pipeline and will have produced an animation or digital composition.

Hands-on experiences will include:

  • Observing, drawing, and communicating using perspective, composition, light, shape, and texture.
  • Sketch and/or storyboard ideas
  • Use 3D sculpting for organic modeling
  • Use hard-surface modeling for geometric shapes
  • Light, shade, and texture 3D models
  • Learn basic rigging for 3D characters and creatures
  • Observe motion and weight, and translate those observations to animation.
  • Use key frames and curves for animation
  • Use motion capture for realistic movement
MSU@MSU Track Options for July 12-16, 2021
Track Class 1 Class 2

Track 4

Chemistry: Exploring our Atomic World

Cybersecurity: Exploring ways systems can be protected against malicious attacks

Chemistry: Exploring our Atomic World

“Chlorine is a deadly poison gas employed on European battlefields in World War I. Sodium is a corrosive metal, which burns upon contact with water. Together they make a placid and unpoisonous material, table salt. Why each of these substances has the properties it does is a subject called chemistry. “ – Carl Sagan

Chemistry is everywhere in the world around you! It's in the food you eat, clothes you wear, water you drink, medicines, air, cleaners... you name it. Chemistry sometimes is called the "central science" because it connects other sciences to each other, such as biology, physics, geology, and environmental science. Chemistry is the branch of science where we study the properties of matter and its changes. Chemistry helps us to understand why propane burns, how glow sticks work, and what materials can be used to make a battery. Doctors, engineers, forensic scientists, and researchers use Chemistry to help us live longer, develop new and better materials, solve crimes, and find cures for diseases. In this course students will learn both introductory and advanced Chemistry concepts. Students will participate in laboratory activities designed to show the many applications of Chemistry. The course includes unique, exciting, colorful, and explosive, demonstrations of the interactions between different substances.

Students will:

  • Participate in “hands-on” laboratory activities
  • Utilize chemical laboratory equipment
  • Observe unique and thought provoking chemical demonstrations
  • Participate in inquiry based “Challenge Lab” activities
  • Explore the connection between mathematics and science
  • Use electrolysis to chemically separate water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas
  • Use the colligative properties of solutions to make homemade ice cream
  • Determine the pH of an unknown acidic solution
  • Determine the amount of energy released in an acid-base reaction
  • Build a working wet cell battery

Cybersecurity: Exploring ways systems can be protected against malicious attacks

Cybersecurity is the protection of various computers, systems and their networking on the internet. Cybersecurity has become more significant in the past few years due to global reliance on the wireless networks and use of smart electronic devices. In this class, students will learn about cybersecurity, its importance, its challenges and how it protects our flow of information and data now and in the future. They will explore the various career opportunities as Cyber Security Engineers, IT security specialists or architects.  Students will learn, study, and practice ways that systems can be protected against malicious cyberattacks such as Malware, Phishing, Spear Phishing, Trojans, and Ransomware.

MSU@MSU Track Options for July 12-16, 2021
Track Class 1 Class 2

Track 5

Pathfinding 101: Creating algorithms to alter common game behavior

Engineering 101: Learn about the design process, CAD, 3D printing, lathes, drills, and mills

Pathfinding 101: Creating algorithms to alter common game behavior

Software developers use many tricks to give their game characters decision-making abilities. This class is for anyone wishing to know more about the algorithms behind common game behavior. The class will also go into the theoretical background behind these techniques. Students will have the opportunity to create an AI controlled game in the lab. Topics will include:

  1. The concept of utility
  2. Player node, NPC node, and Enemy AI style node Pathfinding.
  3. A* Algorithm and basic graph theory

Engineering 101: Learn about the design process, CAD, 3D printing, lathes, drills, and mills

Engineering is the art of using math, science, and imagination to solve problems, invent, and improve things. Engineers figure out new ways to design, create, or improve almost everything around us. They work in teams to design computer games, robots, cars, roads, medical implants, satellites, and much more. The cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices we use every day were originally engineered from raw plastic, metal, silicon, and lines of software code before being transformed into a usable device.

This course is a brief survey of common engineering fields with discussions on career opportunities, sciences of each discipline, and fun- design, test, build, and compete projects. Engineering disciplines discussed may include: Aerospace Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science.

Students will study the mathematics of a Trebuchet, build it, test it, and use it against a siege wall. In a multidisciplinary team, students will build a CanSat. (Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering) and:

  • Create a sensor array.
  • Design the parachute.
  • Launch and log data during deployment.
  • Even take a picture on the way down.
  • Will it survive a parachute deployment failure?