MSTL Classes

Below are the classes for MSTL students (grades 9-10). 

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.