MSTL Class Options

Below are the class options for MSTL students (grades 9-10). Students will participate in 2 of the class options listed below during the MSTL program. During the application process, we ask students to rank all classes in the order of what they are most interested in taking to what they are least interested in taking. We do our best to place students into their top choices, although limited class space and high demand for certain classes may affect our ability to do that. You will be notified about your class placement after the final application deadline of May 24th, but before the program begins. 

Virtual Rhetoric 

Have you spent some quarantine time in front of a screen? Have you thought about the ways in which information is shared with you in this visually rich online environment?

Students will examine rhetorical frameworks to learn fundamentals of "how" rhetoric functions in the real world.  We will consequently investigate the “screens” with which we interact with a two-fold shared purpose: to learn how to analyze the world around them rhetorically and to create digital compositions of their own on a selected topic or theme.

In this journey, students will engage in activities to examine and to discuss the digitized world through various rhetorical lenses. 

Resulting projects will include websites and videos to practice (a)synchronous digital artifacts for select audience and purposes, and to examine the differences in which these two mediums engage audiences and share information to achieve a designed purpose. 

Fascinating Physics

What do accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, and light sensors have in common? They are all sensors that are important parts of smartphones, and they can all be better understood with physics! Our everyday experience includes a bewildering number of gadgets and natural phenomena. Physics provides us with a clear and fascinating understanding of many of these phenomena, while in some cases raising intriguing questions about still mysterious facets of nature. In this course, students will study four areas of physics: mechanics (linear and rotational motion), electricity and magnetism (circuits and motors), waves (sound and light), and radioactivity. Students will be challenged in these areas of physics that will go beyond the science standards for high school students.

While learning about these topics, students will have the opportunity to observe and participate in numerous interesting demonstrations from the extensive collection of lecture demonstrations used in MSU physics classes. In the lab portion of the class, students will use some of the same laboratory equipment that undergraduate students use to conduct a variety of experiments. 

Throughout the course students will develop team building and leadership skills as they work together in labs and lectures. Students will also learn how physicists apply math and how they use technology to help them explain and better understand the world around them. Along the way, students will realize that the more they learn, the more questions they can raise about technology and nature. Students will learn that many of their questions can be answered by concepts learned in the fascinating field of physics!

Molecular Biology: Bacterial Behavior and Communication

Do bacteria think? Bacteria certainly do not have a brain like you and I, but they are capable of remarkable behaviors. Bacteria respond to changes in their surroundings, talk to each other, and organize in complex communities. Some bacteria can swim and, using the equivalent of a nose, find their way to their favorite food. This behavior, called “chemotaxis,” is widespread in the bacterial world and plays an important role in collective migration, colonizing plant roots, or infecting our bodies. By studying how chemotaxis works, students will discover the simple molecular mechanisms that form the building blocks of sophisticated signaling networks. Using computer simulations, we will explore how signaling networks controls bacterial behaviors in complex environments.

Pathfinding and Video Game Artificial Intelligence

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