Splash! Spring 2008
Course Catalog

Filter by Grade:
Filter by Class Length:
Filter by Difficulty:
Filter by Open/Closed Status:

Jump to Categories
Computer Science Engineering
Hobbies Liberal Arts
Mathematics Performing Arts
Science Social Science

Computer Science

[ Return to Category List ]


Java is useful, however it is not the right tool to use for graphics. Processing is a toolset that combines the usefulness of Java with stunning graphics.

What Is This "Linux" Thing?

Maybe you heard from a friend that Linux doesn't ever get viruses. Maybe you've logged into a free Linux-based webserver to upload files. Or maybe you're just curious: 'What, exactly, is this "Linux" thing?'

In this class, we'll talk about what the Linux operating system is, why it's so capable, and why it has been so influential. I'll even show you how to set up and use a Linux system of your own.

Web design with Notepad

Learn how to make a website using just Notepad and other free software!

Algorithmic Strategies in Puzzle Solving

What would you do if you were stuck in a maze? Losing your marbles? This class deals with the solutions to the literal version of these problems. See how search algorithms and recursion and other assorted methods relate to various puzzles and games.

Introduction to Computer Networking

Have some programming skills but at a loss when it comes to TCP/IP? Come learn about how the nuts and bolts of the Internet work.

How does data get from one place to another? Who keeps track of it? Does it get lost? How do webservers work? How does DNS work? How do I get a website from Japan? How does AIM work? E-mail? What are "sockets"?

Answers to all these questions and more! (And of course, bring your own questions too!)

PHP & MySQL Programming with PHPvm

Learn how to build a web app! In this class we'll go over the basics of how the web works and show you how to make a webapp using the ubiquitous PHP and MySQL.

We'll be using a new online editor so no software download is required. Bring your laptop!

Some familiarity with HTML is helpful, but not required.

Programming in Python

Have you ever wanted to learn how to write a simple computer program? This class will teach an introduction to computer programming, using the Python programming language.

Python is a fun and easy language to learn, and a very powerful language to work with. First developed to replace Lisp for modern AI development, it has now become popular for many things, from Web design to Linux package managers.


[ Return to Category List ]


Have you ever been in a perfectly capable group that performed its task miserably?
Do you want to test your mettle in doubly random engineering projects?
Sometimes poor teamwork becomes the biggest obstacle to solving a problem. Explore this idea, and be challenged by our fun projects and your difficult peers.

Building an Astable Multivibrator

An astable multi-what? Come to this class to find out!

This class gives you the background to the basic components of electrical circuits; resistors, capacitors, transistors and diodes. With that, we will also cover some basic techniques for fixing your own simple electronics. All that, and you get to take your creation home. What more do you want?

Designing Our Future

Solar panels, electric cars, and organics, oh my! Come learn about the designs that will both save the Earth and make our lives so much more enjoyable. Very little in the world today is working as well as it could, but our generation has the ability to completely redesign it. This class will inspire you with the most innovative ideas in environmental design today.

Paper Structure Design

Paper is a remarkably versatile substance. You can write on it, you can make paper airplanes with it, you can use it to wrap gifts... And, it turns out, you can build with it!

Come learn the basics of structural design: I'll discuss how real-world structures are built and why they work. After that, we'll do some paper design of our own.


[ Return to Category List ]

Solving the Cube - An Introduction to Speedcubing

Ever wondered how those people on TV seem to be able to solve Rubik's Cube in less than a minute? Do you want to impress your friends with a fun skill that few have mastered? Think it would fun to freak out your parents who grew up in the 80's? Come to this workshop and learn how to do all that.

Although the instructor owns many cubes of his own, this is a BYOC class. As in, you have to Bring Your Own Cube. They are available in stores around the nation, as well as online at www.rubiks.com Free cube lubrication is provided.

Geometric Origami

Did you ever want to make a 10 sided polyhedron out of paper? Or two squares attached at a side? We'll learn how to make awesome models like that and many others during this class. Feel free to bring your own origami paper if you want.

knitting to change the world

beginner knitting techniques and tricks along with how you can use your new knitting powers for good.

Starcraft: Inventing Build Orders for Real-Time Strategy Games

We discuss the guiding principles behind the development of strategies for the game Starcraft. How do you invent your own strategies instead of just reading what strategy guides say? Example videos from Korean professional tournaments will be shown.

Anatomy of the Volkswagen Beetle

Come and learn about how a simple car engine works! There will be a brief intro talk about car engines and then the rest of the time you will be free to play with parts from a VW Beetle Engine. There will be lots of hands-on exhibits and parts to play with!

Make Amber At Home

Learn how to make amber out of epoxy resin, with real arthropods. Bonus: learn entomology and natural history.

Serve's Up! Achieving killer volleyball form & impressing cuties

This class will be nothing but fun! I encourage all types of students, established athletes as well as complete n00bs, to join me for a few tips and tricks in not only playing more effectively, but looking good at the same time.

Volleyball is a beloved all-American sport that is easy to learn, difficult to master, but universally fun and action-packed! We will cover rules of the game and basic form for passing, setting, serving, and spiking. Emphasis will be placed on SAFETY and SPORTSMANSHIP and the use of volleyball as a social activity that builds community and camaraderie. Tiime permitting, we will have a friendly match.

*Students must wear appropriate attire, including comfortable clothing and non-marking athletic shoes. Kneepads are not required, but recommended for the squeamish. Please remember to wear contacts if available and to pull back your long hair.

Ask anything you want!

Do you have unanswered questions about anything? (especially related to mathematics, physics, computers, the singularity, computer security, cryptography, electronics, philosophy, economics, politics, history, chemistry, biology, and/or star trek?)

Ask away !

If I know the answer, I'll give it to you straight. (And if I don't, I promise I'll at least make up something plausible!)

Do-It-Yourself Computer Building

The day begins with packaged components and ends with a fully operational computer. We will discuss the planning process, tips for ensuring compatibility, assemble the beast, and compare/contrast with store bought computers. No knowledge of computers is required, and some knowledge won't hurt. Students will have limited hands on interaction and are able to ask questions at any time.

The Art of Origami

Ever see someone making a paper crane and wish you could do it too? This class will teach you how to make the ever-popular origami animal in both dynamic and static forms. We'll even take it one step further--students will be allowed to pick from a multitude of other challenging designs to impress their friends with!

How to Make Your Own Ice Cream

Make your own ice cream with milk, sugar, ice, and salt. Feel free to bring your own toppings (strawberries, oreos, etc.) and design your own flavor.

Make sure you bring winter gloves (if you have them), otherwise your hands will get really cold!

Liberal Arts

[ Return to Category List ]

The Absolute Basics of American Sign Language

Have you ever been interested in American Sign Language? Want to look cool by communicating to your friends without speaking? This course will teach you a few fundamentals (the manual alphabet, the number system, simple greetings and vocabulary) in order to get you started in learning this great language!

Old Testament Stories

A recounting and analysis of fabulous stories. Offers a new perspective on women in the Old Testament. Answers Questions such as:
Who wrote the stories?
What was her name?
What was her motivation?

Poetry Discussion: Reading Between the Lines

A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course
With rocks, and stones, and trees.

William Wordsworth

Though often of few words, poetry is rich with symbolism and historical context. We will analyze this poem and others in a small discussion setting. Feel free to bring your favorite poems and perhaps we'll discuss those too.

Six Word Novels, Limericks, Haikus, Concise Poetry

Great Meaning, Few Words, Party Tricks


[ Return to Category List ]

Triangles, Angles, and Ratios

Given a polygon, or few, a couple of side lengths, an angle here or there, can you find x? We'll look at how to take advantage of similar triangles and isosceles triangles, and when and how to find the “missing line”.


A permutation is a rearrangement of a collection of objects of any size. You may have learned about permutations in order to do combinatorics (counting). However, there is much much more to say about them.

Permutations are one of the most useful mathematical objects, and have a rich and interesting structure on their own.

Topics we cover:

1) Doing algebra with permutations

2) Factorization of a permutation into distinct cycles.

3) Permutation order

4) Permutation parity

5) Conjugate permutations and the class equation.

6) Some applications of permutations in other areas of mathematics.

7) A quick note about derangements, a special type of permutation.

This mathematics isn't hard, but it's probably unlike anything you've seen before, so bring your thinking cap!

Mathematical Modeling and Simulation

How do you solve problems when there are no known formulas or standard approaches? We will introduce open-ended applied math problems on unfamiliar topics and then talk about how to build a model and which simplifications lead to interesting and uninteresting problems. This course is inspired by the COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling, but no prior experience is needed to participate in the class.

Pascal's Triangle

Pascal's Triangle is an amazing pattern which you can get from this simple rule:

Starting with a 1 surrounded by zeros on both sides (written as blank spaces), let each successive number be the sum of the two numbers above it.

1 1
1 2 1
1 3 3 1
1 4 6 4 1
1 5 10 10 5 1
.... on forever ...

Pascal's triangle is important in many areas of mathematics, and for understanding many mathematical situations. We will explore the ways in which Pascal's triangle provides us with useful information about counting and algebra.

As a bonus, Pascal's Triangle itself is also very rich and interesting. There are an amazing number of relationships within the numbers of the triangle. We will uncover many of the relationships inside of Pascal's triangle and try to understand how it all fits together.

The Art and Craftiness of Mathematics

Come see how you can cleverly and creatively manipulate equations to solve complex problems, and learn about elegant mathematical ideas rarely taught in school like the method of finite differences, sequences and series, and optimization. Sample problems will be taken from the AMC and MATHCOUNTS, the USA's most prestigious and honored math contests for high school and middle school students.

Probability and Combinatorics

We'll talk about combinations, permutations, factorials, solving probability problems geometrically, counting the part you don't want, incorporating restrictions, conditional probability, as well as urns and playing cards.

Introduction to Field Theory

A field is a collection of objects upon which the standard arithmetic operations can be done: addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division. If you perform any operation on two members of a field, the result is another member of the field.

You are probably already aware of two particularly nice fields: the rational numbers (fractions a/b), and the real numbers (from the number line). But there are many, many more.

In this class, we'll take a look at the other types of fields which occur naturally throughout mathematics and which are very useful to mathematicians, physicists, and cryptographers.

We will explore the finite fields, the algebraic number fields, and function fields.

We will also talk about the tools we can use to understand fields, including: field extensions (taking a small field and building a more complicated one), subfields (breaking a field into simpler pieces), automorphism groups (finding the symmetries of a field), and algebraic closures (filling in the holes in a field).

Pi is Everywhere: Solutions Containing Pi and Their Applications

What are the most common answers on exams? 0, 1, and pi. Here, we'll look at assorted problems that unexpectedly result in some form of pi. For students of some calculus background, this class will solve deceptively easy problems that have profound significance.

Performing Arts

[ Return to Category List ]

Introduction to Improv

Learn how to improvise with the Stanford Improvisors, Stanford's only improv troupe!

No improv or theater experience necessary, but love of fun is required.

Hip Hop Choreography/Salsa/Boogaloo Poppin

Hip Hop Choreography to the latest urban beats. Instructor may consider mixing salsa. If there is interest, a specialize class on Boogaloo Poppin i.e. waving, poppin (think Michael Jackson) will be given. The dance routines are technical but no experience are required. Instructor have danced extensively with Tre Hopson (Choreography), Boogaloo Poppin with Jsmooth (winner of Juste Debout 2007 and UK Championship 2006)

Chinese Calligraphy

Chinese Calligraphy is a very unique art for many Asian cultures. Would you like to learn the basis of Chinese Calligraphy and its history? Would you like to learn how to use and hold your own brush? This is the course for you! Brush, Ink and papers will be provided.


[ Return to Category List ]

Einstein's Special Relativity

Using only the pythagorean theorem and very simple algebra, we will derive and explore some exciting consequences of Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, including length contraction, time dilation, and absolute simultaneity!

Investigating the Neurobiology and Genetics of Autism

Autism is a behaviorally diagnosed developmental neurological disorder that affects millions of individuals. Increased prevalence of the disorder in recent decades has led researchers to strive to comprehend the underlying neuropathology and genetics in an attempt to develop more effective treatment for patients. This course will focus on neurophysiological, pathological, and genetic data acquired from current primary literature. Questions and discussion are highly encouraged as the ultimate goal of this class is to spark interest in and raise awareness of autistic disorder.

Dividing Cells in All Their Glory

A fast-paced jaunt through the world of cell division!

Do you know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer? Are you interested in studying science in college? Do you just think pretty pictures of cells are plain cool? You won't want to miss this exciting class -- we'll give a brief historical overview of cell division, then talk about the applications to cancer and what researchers are doing now in the field!

Recommended for students who have taken or are currently enrolled in high-school level biology.

On Black Holes, Singularities, and the Event Horizon: A Journey

We're going to dive right in to the most massive objects in our universe--billions of times the mass of the sun. (Note: we won't actually dive into a black hole--its hard to get out).

When small stars die, they peter out. When massive stars die, they explode in supernovas, outshining an entire galaxy, and whats left is a black hole, a singularity of mass so dense that even light is trapped behind. We'll tour around a few black holes, study their effect on our daily lives, and of course, the seven ways a black hole can kill you. I'll venture into wormholes, white holes, and other extoics, and we'll even bring in a sporting interest and talk about how Stephen Hawking once lost a bet on black holes, and how it was related to the ultimate demise and even death of these most mysterious of objects. (Food for thought: how does a black hole die, anyway?)

Be ready to open your minds, to be bent by the curvature of spacetime, and generally to lose yourself in the fun and beauty of the most amazing objects out there in the sky.

This is your brain!

Ever wonder what makes you who you are? Or why there are wrinkles in the brain? Or if your fish has a brain? A hands-on introduction to the brain and its various functions. And a chance to ask your burning questions about the brain to a bunch of people studying it!

Stem cells from Skin cells?!?

Did you know that scientists can now "reprogram" your normal skin cells and turn them into stem cells (that can be any kind of cell in your whole body)? In this course, we will go through the basic idea and techniques used in creation of "induced pleuripotent stem cells" as well as future possible therapies.

Philosophy of Science

What is science? What makes something a fact or a theory? We will discuss some philosophical questions about science, shedding some light on subtleties, limitations, and misconceptions about science.

General Chemistry in 2 Hours

Chemistry is responsible for everything around us, from the clothes we wear to the cars we drive to how our bodies work. This course will provide the tools to understand how chemistry works at an introductory collegiate level. Some familiarity with high school chemistry might be helpful, but all that's necessary is an open mind.

Over the Rainbows

Do rainbows ever come to a full circle? How many rainbows are there in the sky at a given time? Ever wondered how rainbows are formed? We will learn the physics of rainbows and I'll guarantee you will never see rainbows the same way again after this class...

Humans in Space

This class will focus on whatever topics of space exploration the students want to take, but may include: spacecraft designs, getting to orbit and not falling back, the space race, manned space programs, challenges of long-duration flight, and the future of humans and space: mars and beyond.

What is Theoretical Biology?

I hope that through this course, you will be exposed to an exciting side of the biological sciences that you did not know existed. While theorists play a major role in modern physics, theoreticians are much less prominent in the biological sciences. This course will explore the role of theory in the biological sciences with particular emphasis on the feasibility of theoretical biology in the twenty-first century.

To set the stage for the rest of the course, I will begin with a general discussion of theoretical science. Particular emphasis will be placed on what has been achieved with theoretical physics. Following this introduction, I will explore several examples showing how theoreticians can make valuable contributions to biology. I will stress theories that do not have precursors in theoretical physics and can be viewed as truly biological theories.

Innovation: the Power of Creativity

Are there processes for coming up with great ideas? Can "bad" ideas be salvaged? Can anyone be taught to be creative?

This course will prove to you that the answer to each of these questions is a resounding yes. Effective brainstorming and idea-generating strategies will be taught for use by both individuals and groups, with a wide range of applicability. Major class project will be to use techniques learned to come up with creative solutions to modern-day problems in science and other fields.

Molecular Motors: Life's tiny machines

A brief introduction to Biological nano machines that perform critical functions, while converting chemical energy to mechanical work.

Social Science

[ Return to Category List ]

"Working for a Living" Career Planning & Job Tips

Practical advice for career development and helpful "job" tips your teachers won't tell you.

Instructor will use story-telling and share work experiences to help students gain insightful and practical tips to build a professional career.

Super Size Me: The Childhood Obesity Epidemic in the U.S.

The childhood obesity epidemic has reached incredible levels in recent years. This affects not only a child's physical and emotional well-being, but also society as a whole. In this class, we will examine this health issue from a variety of perspectives, including societal and environmental factors that lead to obesity, the biology behind obesity, and the various consequences that the obesity epidemic can have. Taught by members of the American Red Cross Club at Stanford, this class may appeal to those interested in areas such as medicine and public health.

TV News: Breaking Down Broadcast Journalism

A Crash Course on all there is to getting into the world of Broadcast Journalism. Writing for TV News, Steps to Success, Resumes and Reels, and discussion on the media and its emerging forms.

Changing the World through Social Entrepreneurship

Have you ever wondered how an idea can change the world? This class will explore how some great ideas have made a difference in the world, and will seek to inspire students about social entrepreneurship. Topics will include: 1) What is social entrepreneurship? 2) Real world examples of amazing ideas (such as microfinance) 3) How YOU can make a difference.

Supply and Demand - The Tools of an Economist

Would you like to understand why oil is getting more expensive and laptops cheaper? What is the effect of a minimum wage on unemployment? Are monopolies good? This class introduces some microeconomic topics that answer these questions from an economist's point of view. We will explore thinking like an economist, supply and demand, equilibrium, taxes, price controls, competitive markets, and monopolies. We will go over these concepts using examples from history and everyday life. Examples are mostly qualitative, or involve some very simple algebra. Students will be able to ask questions about other economics topics of their interest.

Drowning in Debt

Something is wrong in Kansas...

Americans have been falling further and further into debt for the last 20 years.

Despite significant increases in the economic output of the American worker and the availability of wealth and money, wages today for the average American are lower (in real terms) than they were two generations ago. In contrast, wages for the richest Americans have been skyrocketing. Executive pay has increased nearly 500% since 1980.

As a side effect, Americans are not doing so well financially. Credit card debt has soared from $200 billion in 1990 to nearly $1 trillion ($1000 billion) today. $100 billion of new credit card debt has been added in just the last year alone.

While many Americans still own homes, they own less and less of their home. The average American today has paid off less than 50% of their home mortgage, compared with 70% in the 1980s. This percentage of ownership continues to decline precipitously.

The debt problems of America have become so severe that they are affecting financial markets around the world and causing unprecedented chaos in the economy this year.

So what is going on? How did we get into this mess? How are we going to get out?

In this class, we'll talk about current theories on the problem. Highlights will include a discussion of game theory, the prisoners dilemma, and the effect of financing on markets and psychology. We will also speculate on what will happen to the US and global economy as the age of easy money comes to an end.

Landmark Cases in Sociology

We've got two hours to discuss as many famous sociology experiments that we can. Ever heard of the Stanford prison experiment? Did you know 65% of people would kill another person if told to by an authority? Come join the discussion on sociologies window in to societal findings.

Microfinance in Peru: Prospects for Poverty Alleviation

Course will consist of:
a) brief survey of microfinance fundamentals, including basic finance terminology and the premise of microlending
b) specific introduction to the Peruvian microfinance market, including distinctions between regulated and unregulated organizations
c) presentation of conclusions from summer thesis work, including i) the viability of financially sustainable microfinance as an engine of poverty alleviation, ii) the role of non-commercial lending in the development of the microfinance market to date, and iii) macro- and micro-level policy conclusions

Your Legal Rights at School

This class will explore the extent to which students are entitled to their Bill of Rights freedoms while at school. Students will learn what rights they have and how the Supreme Court reasons about these civil liberties. Participants will also get to be involved in a debate on when censorship at school is acceptable.

Wading through the bias

Interested in world events? Want to be able to hold your own in intelligent topical debate? Just want to be an informed citizen? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to do so as it may seem. Just watching the news or reading the paper won’t necessarily give you an accurate idea of what’s actually going on. Most news media is fraught with intentional and unintentional biases that are all too easy to take on as your own. Come to this class to learn to spot these biases and how to determine what actually happened when every news source twists the story one way or another.