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Live Interactive Virtual Explorations (L.I.V.E.) Catalog

L.I.V.E. courses offer bright students advanced learning options in dynamic, web-based classrooms with peers who share their interests. The program’s three-week instructor-developed courses are limited to 10 students per section and offer a blend of live online instruction and independent learning that includes discussions, class projects, and interactive activities designed to foster community in an online environment.

At this time, all CTY L.I.V.E. courses have filled, and CTY is no longer accepting applications for general enrollment. Students with existing applications will receive information about the status of their course enrollment. We appreciate your patience as we process a high volume of applications.

Session Dates

Course meetings will take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during a session. Specific meeting times for each course are listed below.

green arrow Session 1: June 29 – July 17
   Students must register by June 8

green arrow Session 2: July 20 – August 7
   Students must register by June 29

Time Commitment

L.I.V.E. courses meet three times each week for an hour, and require an additional nine hours of course work weekly (for a total of 12 hours time commitment per week).

Eligibility

All CTY L.I.V.E. courses require CTY-level eligibility. Some courses require qualifying math scores, some require qualifying verbal scores, and some allow either math or verbal scores. Eligibility requirements for each course are indicated in the course descriptions below.

If you have not yet tested with CTY but would like to apply for a L.I.V.E. course, we are offering an online version of the School College and Ability Test (SCAT) that you can take from home. You must be enrolled in the current Talent Search year to test, which you can do by filling out an online application. The test is being offered at a discounted rate of $30 until June 30, so please log into your MyCTY account to register today.

Tuition

The tuition for each CTY L.I.V.E. course is $1,000 per session. See our Tuition and Fees page for additional details.

Course Placement

CTY L.I.V.E. courses enroll on a first-come-first-served basis. Placement in a course is contingent on available seats. Because of high application volume, some applicants may not receive a seat in their chosen course, even if that course was available when the application was submitted. Applicants can expect to receive confirmation of their course status within two-three business days.

Courses by Grade

Grades 2-6

The following courses are for students who are either currently enrolled in or have just completed the grades listed.

Backyard Habitats

green arrow Grades 3–4
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 
– 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
World Adventurers
STEM Fanatics

What creatures live around you, and how can you tell? How does gardening or mowing the lawn affect local animals and plants? What happens to bathtub water after it goes down the drain? Explore your neighborhood’s ecosystem through the lens of an environmental scientist. Using dichotomous keys and other classification processes, identify various flora- and fauna-like grasses, insects, and birds. Create environmental drawings while applying the mathematics of scale to your surroundings. With attention to watersheds, runoff, and waste treatment, trace rain’s gradual journey to the ocean. Through these activities, acquire an understanding of people’s roles in their local ecosystems, investigating related topics like native plants, invasive species, and pollinators. You and your peers gain a hands-on introduction to basic ecology and environmental science through local yards, parks, sidewalks, parking lots, and green spaces.

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Catching the Criminal

green arrow Grades 5–6
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., or 9 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Bookworms

Print evidence can place suspects at a crime scene, identify missing persons, and exonerate the innocent. Begin with an overview of the history of print evidence, focusing on fingerprints, footprints, and tire tracks. Upon learning the difference between class and individual evidence, determine whether a print links a suspect to a crime scene or just helps investigators narrow down their search. Study patent, latent, and plastic fingerprints, and learn how forensic scientists identify and use them. Dive in to each type of print evidence as you classify fingerprints, dust and lift prints, scrutinize print details used in court, cast shoe prints, examine shoe and tire marks in your neighborhood, read real case studies involving print evidence, and apply this knowledge in online mock cases.

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Coasters and Corkscrews: Amusement Park Physics

green arrow Grades 5–6
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 3 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics

Have you ever wondered why you slide into your friend when you're on the Tilt-A-Whirl, or why you don't fly out of a rollercoaster even when you're traveling upside down? Examine the physics of our everyday lives and how these forces work in popular amusement parks. Explore key concepts such as acceleration, gravity, and potential and kinetic energy as you investigate how rides are engineered to utilize these concepts for thrilling results. Using virtual lab spaces and simple building products, design your own amusement park rides, employing Newtonian mechanics to maximize your results.

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Fantasy Worldbuilding

green arrow Grades 5–6
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
 – 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
World Adventurers
Bookworms

What deeply draws audiences into the settings of their favorite fantasy worlds? What makes these otherwise mythical places feel like real locations in the minds of readers? Create and develop your own fantasy world through the application of geography, cartography, and anthropology. Learn the literary elements of storytelling, analyzing specific examples from the genre as you engage in writing exercises that give you the tools to compose stories in your newly minted fictional setting. Special attention is paid to characterization, description, conflict, setting, exposition, and aspects of the hero's journey through excerpts from Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Activities include creating a detailed map of your world, constructing profiles of civilizations, and writing short stories featuring heroic characters who live in your setting.

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Geometric and Spatial Reasoning

green arrow Grades 3–4
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 12 p.m., 3 p.m., or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Aspiring Coders

Geometric and spatial reasoning skills are essential for living in and making sense of the world around us. Everything from solving a jigsaw puzzle to arranging furniture to efficiently packing a bag requires these abilities. Learn and practice these skills as you delve into the mathematical relationships between objects—ones that include congruence and symmetry, reflection and rotation, or expansion and contraction. Explore the geometric properties of regular polygons and the so-called platonic solids, investigating relationships between area, circumference, and volume in a rigorous fashion. Exercise hands-on investigation, collaboration, and discussion as you and your classmates physically construct polyhedra while exploring the geometric properties of regular polygons, tessellations, and other tools for studying objects in space.

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Grossology

green arrow Grades 3–4
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Future Doctors

The human body is an amazing but sometimes gross thing. From the blood inside us to the gas that comes out, each slimy, gunky, or smelly part has a vital role to play in keeping us healthy. Why do we burp, and why does it smell? What are boogers made of? What’s in blood, and why is it so red? And why do scabs form once the bleeding has stopped? Explore these questions and bodily functions with your peers through online discussion, anatomy and physiology mini-lessons, research articles, and short at-home experiments. Gain a better understanding of the human body—especially those things you don’t want to discuss at the dinner table!

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Imagination Workshop

green arrow Grades 5–6
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 3 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Skilled Gamers
Bookworms

Imaginative writing is a powerful tool. As authors, our written pieces can make someone laugh, change someone’s mind, or even help them better understand the world. How can you do this in just a page, a paragraph, or even a single line? Examine the tools and strategies that popular authors use to deeply connect with their audiences in very few words. Specific attention is given to effective short pieces that demonstrate how authors judiciously use a limited amount of space. During the course, you read and evaluate several short stories, essays, and poems that evoke powerful reactions with the help of creative imaginations. Engage in peer-led writing workshops and learn brainstorming strategies for your own work as well as techniques to analyze imaginative texts.

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Mathematical Proofs

green arrow Grades 5–6
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Aspiring Coders

Reasoning, logic, and critical thinking are the building blocks of intellectual inquiry. Focus on developing these skills through problem-solving and exposure to a wide range of topics in mathematics as you are introduced to the idea of mathematical proof and deductive logic. Starting with foundational tools such as truth tables, logic trees, and Venn diagrams, explore ideas of validity, consistency, and sound reasoning. By doing so, you’ll learn the differences between axioms and hypotheses and how to use both to obtain results.

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Mathematics of Pixar

green arrow Grades 4–5
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 
– 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Aspiring Coders

Required Materials: You will need a subscription to Disney Plus.

Learn how digital artists animate the mouth of a Toy Story character by manipulating a single point on a polygon, or how combinations are applied to turn three unique robot designs into 3,000 individual robots for background characters in Wall-E. How many helium-filled balloons does it take to fly? What do combinatorics, geometric modeling, and trigonometry have in common? All are mathematical questions answered every day by animators at Pixar Studios. Use real examples from Pixar films to explore various principles of mathematics—specific topics include advanced counting, combinations and permutations, coordinate geometry, distance and midpoints, area, volume, and averages. Through individual lessons, group activities, problem sets, and watching popular films, develop a strong understanding of why Pixar relies so heavily on the work of mathematicians.

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Mean Genes!

green arrow Grades 5–6
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Future Doctors

Has anyone ever told you that you have your mother’s eyes? Or your father’s nose? Or even your great aunt’s hair? Whether they know it or not, they are talking about your genes. Your genetic makeup, the thousands of building blocks that make you—well, you—has been passed down for generations. Begin with an exploration of Mendelian genetics to determine how traits are passed from parents to offspring before moving on to human genetics, practicing both classic and complex crosses as you learn which traits dominate, which are more rare, and why. You also look at genetics on a larger scale, determining how the genetic composition of a population can affect its survival, and finally completing a research project about a genetic disease of your choosing.

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Microbiology

green arrow Grades 4–5
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Future Doctors

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is about 100nm in size but has caused a global pandemic. How can something so small cause so much damage? Explore different types of viruses and bacteria, learning how pathogens have cohabitated with human beings throughout history. Discover why some microorganisms are helpful, how others infect their hosts to cause trouble, and why many are so difficult to understand. As part of your coursework to master this content, you participate in short at-home activities such as making a coronavirus model out of household items or using glitter to better understand germ transmission. You will also select a microorganism to research and present to your peers, gaining a foundational knowledge of microbiology and a better understanding of the tiny organisms all around us.

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Mission to Mars: Robotics in Space

green arrow Grades 5–6
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Skilled Gamers

Required Materials: You will need access to Lego Mindstorm EV3, black tape, and a computer with a camera.

Sojourner, Spirit, and Opportunity—robots sent by NASA to explore Mars—each outlasted their missions but were ultimately bested by the planet’s harsh conditions. Sojourner lost its base station, Spirit became stuck in its soil, and Opportunity fell prey to a dust storm. With Curiosity still sending selfies from Mars—and Perseverance set to land there in 2021—human space knowledge is benefiting immensely from the scientific work of robots. But how does one design a robot to survive the red planet and gather helpful information? Focus on answering this very question as you explore programming concepts such as the use of conditionals, variables, functional decomposition, abstraction, and flow control. Applying this knowledge, construct and program a robot to complete Mars-specific challenges like autonomous maneuvering for retrieving objects, thereby gaining firsthand insight into robotics in space.

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Model UN: Institutions and Global Health

green arrow Grades 5–6
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Policy Wonks
World Adventurers
Social Justice Champions

How we behave under stress often gives a rare, unfiltered glimpse into how we think and act, but what about our institutions? Examine the UN—specifically, the World Health Organization (WHO)—by studying past epidemics such as Ebola and AIDS in order to effectively address a future global health crisis. Explore the political, economic, and cultural influences on foreign policy within both the UN and its constitutive countries. Central to this exploration is a streamlined simulation of a Model UN WHO subcommittee. Assigned the roles of ambassadors and health ministers, you and your classmates investigate how an epidemic could affect your countries, drafting position papers and policy resolutions. Through reading and discussing primary documents, contributing to wikis, and creating videos, learn about the complexities of your assigned country as well as the capabilities of multilateral institutions.

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Polymers to the Rescue!

green arrow Grades 5–6
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 9 a.m., 12 p.m., or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics

Required Materials: Parental supervision and assistance are required for the lab activities, which include tie-dying T-shirts and making or extracting polymers using household objects.

What do your T-shirt, water bottle, and DNA have in common? They’re all made of chemical units called monomers, which combine to form polymers. To make the world a better place, scientists regularly modify and improve polymers—that’s how we have things like non-stick pans, raincoats, and toothbrushes. In this introductory chemistry course, examine the structural features of polymers to understand their properties and behaviors. Analyze natural polymers, human-engineered polymers, and biopolymers, culminating in an independent research activity about the potential of polymers in our society.

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Problem-Solving Strategies

green arrow Grades 4–5
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Skilled Gamers
Aspiring Coders

Develop strategies for solving a wide variety of word problems using resources from Ken Johnson and Ted Herr’s Problem Solving Strategies: Crossing the River with Dogs and Other Mathematical Adventures. Explore diagrams, systematic lists, elimination, working backwards, matrix logic, and unit analysis as you strengthen your ability to use these strategies to solve a wide variety of complex problems. Problems in this course are designed so that there are multiple strategies and combinations that will lead to a correct answer, which allows you and your peers to share your ideas and compare/contrast the different ways of problem-solving.

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Project Mars

green arrow Grades 4–5
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
 – 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
World Adventurers

You and your classmates take on the role of intrepid interplanetary explorers, designing a space probe, learning about the complexity of landing an exploration vehicle, and planning a Martian colony. For decades, scientists have looked to Mars as an untapped resource, possibly holding clues to the origin of the solar system as well as the potential for future colonization. Numerous autonomous satellites and rovers have been sent to the red planet, and with each successful mission we learn more about our most accessible celestial neighbor. Explore topics such as Newton’s Laws of Motion, Kepler’s laws, and terraforming as you learn about the atmospheric and geological conditions that exist on Mars. Utilizing this knowledge, design plans for a mission and develop a sustainable blueprint for a prosperous civilization.

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Science in a Bucket

green arrow Grades 2–3
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
 – 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics

Required Materials: Parental supervision is required for some of the at-home investigations.

What can a bucket of water or lounging beneath a shade tree teach you about science? Archimedes discovered the principle of buoyancy in a bathtub, and Newton allegedly discovered gravity while sitting under an apple tree. While these tales of discovery may be more myth than fact, many significant scientific discoveries were made in non-laboratory settings. Investigate scientific principles utilizing only common household containers, covering the basics of chemistry, physical science, biology, and ecology through these vessels. Examine buoyancy, wave formation, and soil suspensions and learn the principles behind lifting water with a screw and making a water clock. Simultaneously, learn about the scientific method, writing and following procedures, and how to effectively communicate your findings to others.

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Science with a Chance of Meatballs

green arrow Grades 2–3
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
 – 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Bookworms

Books often ask you to dream up imaginary worlds, but important science concepts lie behind the words and pictures. Analyze the science woven through Judi and Ronald Barrett’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs as you develop the process skills that constitute the scientific method. Explore the digestive system and nutrition, engage in city planning, engineer stronger structures, and investigate weather patterns through activities such as measuring the digestive system with yarn, making clouds in a bottle, crafting boats out of sandwich items, and creating a healthy family menu. At the end of the course, design an experiment of your own to study a scientific concept presented in the book, finishing with a solid foundation in science as well as the ability to recognize scientific content in the literature you already love.

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Taking a Chance: Mathematics of Game Shows

green arrow Grades 5–6
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
 – 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Skilled Gamers

Step right up and try your hand at solving some of the world’s classic math conundrums! We have options galore: Plinko, Golden Balls, Deal or No Deal, and many more. Pull the curtain back on the mathematical theories behind some of the most enduring probability puzzles and popular TV game shows, and gain insight into game design and contestants’ thought processes. Critically apply your new knowledge and skills to explore decision-making and strategy in game shows through both independent and group work such as problem-solving challenges, discussions, and simulations. The final project draws from previous coursework: research a game show of your choosing and dive deep into its mathematical structure and outcomes.

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Through the Lens

green arrow Grades 4–5
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. ET

Ideal for:
World Adventurers
Bookworms

When you look at a photograph, what do you see? You find photographs everywhere—in journalism, art, family albums, and social media. What stories do they tell? Explore the ways that photographs can amuse, educate, and persuade us—and sometimes even change the world. In the early 1900s, for example, sociologist Lewis Hine published photographs of children working in mills, factories, fields, mines, and city streets. His photographs helped lead to the reform of U.S. child labor laws, but why did these photos make such a difference? Through group discussions and assignments, consider what makes photos so meaningful as you sharpen your observation and analysis skills. Embark on photo essay projects of your own, including a day-in-the-life narrative using only selfies and a how-to guide using photos and captions.

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To the Stars and Beyond

green arrow Grades 5–6
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
World Adventurers
Bookworms

Through selected texts and media, explore interstellar stories and the heroes who populate them. Space has remained a prominent fictional setting across mediums, from the popular Star Wars and Doctor Who franchises to such pivotal novels as Ender’s Game and A Wrinkle in Time. In outer space, literary characters often develop in unusual and unexpected ways. From Luke Skywalker’s journey to Jedi Knight and Meg Murry’s excursion through time to save her father, space provides a limitless background against which diverse and enthralling stories can unfold. Activities in this course include close readings, roleplay exercises, short presentations, and one-on-one writing workshops, culminating with you and your peers drafting and presenting your own short stories.

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We Can Be Heroes

green arrow Grades 2–3
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 only – 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Skilled Gamers
Bookworms

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, yet their journeys often seem familiar to us—for example, we know that Wonder Woman will always defeat her villains and save the day. Create a working definition of a superhero and analyze their motivations as you read a graphic novel and, using the hero’s journey, discuss how protagonists grow and change through their adventures. In addition to producing writing that demonstrates strong descriptions and careful word choice, participate in workshops to learn how to clearly state an opinion, provide constructive feedback, and incorporate your peers’ suggestions into your work. By the end of this particular journey, you will have developed your own superhero and adventures using an online storyboarding program.

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What's in a Number?

green arrow Grades 2–3
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 only – 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Aspiring Coders

Look at a phone, and you’ll find that we can’t use it without numbers—or, rather, the 10 symbols that we were taught represent numbers before we even started school. With just these 10 symbols (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 0), we can write any real number and apply math in our daily lives. Different civilizations developed distinct ways of representing numbers over time, so why these symbols? Why 10? And why do we arrange them as we do? Review different number systems, identify their limitations, and compare them to the positional system that reuses the same symbols and assigns them different values based on sequence. Through individual and collaborative activities, discover and practice working in different systems before applying your new knowledge to create your own and to better appreciate the one we use daily.

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Whodunit?: The Art of Crafting Mystery Stories

green arrow Grades 3–4
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Skilled Gamers
Bookworms

Explore great mysteries as you analyze and interpret examples of the genre, gaining expertise with literary elements such as foreshadowing, tone, and narrative arc. What does it take to be a great detective? How do mystery writers keep us guessing? For generations, they’ve captivated readers with compelling characters and suspenseful storytelling punctuated by intriguing, unconventional sleuths like Eve Titus’ Basil of Baker Street and Wendelin Van Draanen’s Sammy Keyes. Using model texts as the basis for sharpening your own skills, practice effective techniques as you brainstorm, draft, and revise. Activities may include writing a locked-room mystery and having your classmates solve it, engaging in collaborative annotations, and analyzing the dynamics of online mystery games. As a final project, you’ll present your polished stories to each other while providing and receiving feedback.

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Grades 7-10

The following courses are for students who are either currently enrolled in or have just completed the grades listed.

Aeronautical Engineering

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: Algebra I. Students in this class should have a strong background in physics or have completed CTY Summer Programs’ The Physics of Engineering course.
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 9 a.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics

How do aircraft fly? Why might a fighter jet use delta wings while a commercial jet has swept wings? Examine elements of aeronautical engineering—including how aircraft produce lift, propulsion, and thrust—as you learn how to calculate lift and drag coefficients, aspect ratio, and center of gravity. By designing, building, and testing a model and carefully documenting results, you’ll relate variations in the shape and structure of your aircraft to its performance. Along with guided readings, participate in discussions of key principles and derivations of formulas, working together to solve aircraft issues and develop performance solutions.

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Arduino® Prototyping

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m., 3 p.m., or 9 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Aspiring Coders
Young Entrepreneurs

No coding or programming experience is required for this course.

What do punch-activated flamethrowers, automatic pet feeders, and mind-controlled drones have in common? They’re all real devices built and programmed using Arduino® microprocessors. This open-sourced electronics platform integrates hardware and software to create an unlimited array of automated electronic systems. Discover what a digital prototyping platform can accomplish as you work on creating devices that undertake tasks such as reading data from a sensor or activating lights based on motion and proximity. Using an Arduino® microprocessor, a breadboard, and a sensor and actuator kit, explore existing prototypes, learn to modify code, and adapt designs to fit their needs. Your final project will be designing, coding, and building a device that addresses a specific need within your community.

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Art, Architecture, and Geometry

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Skilled Gamers

Required Materials: Students will use dynamic geometry apps such as GeoGebra in this course.

What does Ice Age art have in common with mega-tall skyscrapers? Geometry! Geometric figures, properties, design, and construction undergird humanity’s most famous buildings and paintings from prehistory to modernity. Beginning with the foundations of Euclidean geometry—including lines, angles, triangles, and other polygons—examine tessellations and 2D symmetry to trace their presence in, and impact on, art and architecture. Using what you learn about points, lines, and planes, investigate the development of perspective in both 2- and 3D works of art. Next, analyze the geometry of polyhedra, considering their place in both ancient and modern architecture like the pyramids, Raphael’s School of Athens, and Disney’s Epcot. Finally, explore non–Euclidean geometry and its links to modern works, such as M.C. Escher’s drawings and Frank Gehry’s architecture.

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Bioethics in the Age of Pandemics

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Policy Wonks
Future Doctors

With the emergence of COVID-19, ethical issues in medicine have never been more pronounced in our social consciousness. Explore salient issues such as rationing scarce resources, making shutdown decisions for public health, and evaluating risk amid substantial uncertainty. Develop your own critical reasoning skills, learning how to construct and analyze arguments while participating in debates and discussions around well-known philosophical dilemmas, and gain additional exposure to clinical ethics by deliberating real-world cases. Bioethics in the Age of Pandemics equips you with a valuable set of philosophical tools to better grasp the moral dimensions of this pandemic as it continues to unfold before our eyes.

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The Constitution in Crisis

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Policy Wonks
Social Justice Champions
Bookworms

What rights would you give up in order to feel safe? What safety would you give up to protect your rights? How does a democratic republic, with rights reserved for both the federal and state governments, create a coherent response to a crisis? Drawing upon a variety of documents, explore U.S. policy decisions during crises such as the Civil War and 9/11 and their long-term effects. In a pandemic, for instance, is a church or a gun store an essential service? Who decides? Likewise, is government use of an app that tracks your temperature and movement to benefit public health an unconstitutional act of search and seizure? By engaging in discussions of legal and political theory, research, debates, and analytical writing, deepen and sharpen your understanding of law and politics—particularly how the tension between freedom and security often changes the power balance between governments and citizens.

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Diagnosis: Be the Doctor

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., or 9 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Future Doctors

Doctors often have to make quick decisions based on their knowledge, experience, and a short list of symptoms—it’s not so easy to always get it right, and lives are often on the line. Drawing upon basic biological and chemical concepts, explore the intricate anatomical and physiological mechanisms underlying human function. Outside of class meetings, use your new knowledge and additional research to write case studies about situations gone wrong. You must ask and answer questions, diagnose root causes, run tests, and order treatments that will help your patients recover. You might, for example, apply your understanding of the respiratory and circulatory systems to an injured hockey player who took a hit during a game, or to the nervous system of a child who has had a series of seizures.

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Disease Modeling

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: Algebra 1
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Future Doctors

When the threat of pandemic looms, all eyes turn to the experts. Each outbreak is unique and raises different concerns; in providing answers, infectious diseases specialists rely on data and accurate modeling to predict the growth, spread, and control of disease. Draw from science, math, and statistics to examine disease modeling techniques. Through individual and group work, explore how models go through iterations to achieve degrees of confidence, how those models are practically applied in crises, and what happens when the models are wrong. Step into the shoes of decision-makers to analyze sets of data through different modeling approaches and recommend courses of action. By tracing the possible impacts of different choices, you’ll experience both the benefits and drawbacks of various models and appreciate what can and cannot be soundly concluded.

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Engineering Design

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: Algebra 1
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Young Entrepreneurs

Engineering design is a rich, sometimes chaotic blend of concerns: aesthetic, financial, material, theoretical, environmental, and practical. Explore elements of design theory while responding to a batch of requests for proposals (RFPs) based on real-world situations. Elements of design theory include the history of invention; the role of teamwork and communication; logistical and financial constraints; safety and environmental concerns; and consumer demand. In order for proposals to be competitive, your engineering team must understand the client’s needs, prepare its solution carefully, provide a satisfactory vision at a satisfactory cost, work together effectively, meet the deadline, and make a convincing presentation. RFPs will involve topics like drug-dosage determination, ground-fault detection, a recyclables sorter, a kinetic-sculpture trigger, a robotic seeing-eye dog, and a low-cost water purifier.

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Game Design

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
 – 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Skilled Gamers
Young Entrepreneurs
Bookworms

No coding or programming experience is required for this course.

What counts as a game? What are games made of? How are successful games designed and built? Read theory that orients you to how games work, why people play them, and what makes a good game. Play different kinds of games—card games, board games, pen-and-paper games, and video games—and analyze how developers use theoretical knowledge to create unique, compelling experiences. You also learn the process of design—not just how to put together a successful game, but how to develop plans that efficiently use time and resources to result in the best possible game. Finally, explore the basics of how to use digital tools and engines to develop games for various platforms. Activities and projects include prototyping, writing branching game narratives, and rebalancing Monopoly.

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Game of Life: The Theory of Strategic Behavior

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 
– 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Skilled Gamers

How do individuals interact? How do they cooperate, compete, and respond to incentives? All involve strategic behavior, the purview of the economic theory of games. Study game theory through experiments, competitions, mathematical analysis, and debate, and apply game theory to model, evaluate, and predict outcomes of strategic behavior in the real world. Conduct a final research project in which you model and analyze a real-world strategic interaction. By engaging in simulations, problem sets, collaboration, and independent research, you will gain the ability to describe prototype games like the Prisoner’s Dilemma and Stag Hunt; explain formal concepts such as players, strategies, payoffs, dominance, backward induction, and equilibrium; identify and evaluate Nash equilibria of simultaneous and sequential games; and model and analyze real-world strategic interactions as formal games.

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Graph Theory

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: Algebra 1
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics

Graph theory is a deceptively simple area of mathematics: it provides interesting problems that can be easily understood, yet it allows for incredible application to things as diverse as the efficient storage of chemicals, optimal assignments, distribution networks, and better data storage methods. Explore several key areas of graph theory—including the Handshake Lemma, trees and related data structures, colorings, matchings, independent sets, and flows—and discuss important algorithms such as Dijkstra, Prim, Kruskal, Ford-Fulkerson, and the Edmond's Blossom Procedure. Use theoretical techniques to solve problems in discrete math and computer science as you grapple with the material through individual and collaborative work. Course activities provide opportunities to explore key objects, work through algorithms in clear detail, and apply the concepts and algorithms to new settings.

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Making the Case: Effective Legal Arguments

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Social Justice Champions
Policy Wonks
Bookworms

Objection, your Honor! Overruled! Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt! These are the phrases that lawyers and judges battle with in our favorite courtroom dramas. They speak to the argumentation at the heart of the adversarial American justice system in which two sides advocate their positions before an impartial judge and jury. How does one win in court? What goes into a strong legal argument? What are the rules and procedural context in which one attempts to secure a favorable verdict? Is it always logic that wins the day? Review aspects of an effective legal argument, learning about the American legal system in the process and enriching your critical thinking, reading, and expression skills. Through individual and group work, analyze historical and fictional court cases and apply what you learn to constructing, presenting, and defending arguments.

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The Mathematics of Volatile Markets

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times: 
      Session 1 – 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Young Entrepreneurs

What does it mean when bubbles burst, stock markets crash, and hyperinflation takes off? How do these major economic events affect businesses and individuals around the world? Focus on the boom-bust cycles of financial markets and how they can be explained mathematically. Analyze stock- and bond-market patterns and discuss the various solutions suggested or enacted by governments around the world—such as corporate bailouts, social safety nets, and increasing the monetary supply—to determine their effectiveness in mitigating market volatility. Develop an understanding of various savings and investment mechanisms that individuals can utilize to diversify their finances and minimize personal risk.

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MythBusters: Our Brains and Learning

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Skilled Gamers

Making art unlocks your right brain. Lo-fi music helps you study. Doing crossword puzzles makes you smarter. Are these statements fact or fiction? Take a hard look at popular media depictions of cognition, neuroscience, and learning. Together with your peers, build introductory knowledge of the cognition and neuroscience of learning, work through myth-busting exercises, learn to critically evaluate sources of information, and develop an appreciation for how your own learning behaviors may be influenced by folk knowledge. Activities include reading and discussing scientific sources, drawing and writing, analyzing video clips and movies, internet scavenger hunts, and interviewing household members. Gain not only a fuller understanding of the science of learning, but also sharper skills for discerning what’s fact and what’s fiction.

This course is taught by Amy Shelton, CTY’s Interim Executive Director and Senior Director of Research.

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The Physics of Champions

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: Algebra 1
Meeting times:
      Session 1 only
 – 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
World Adventurers

Elite athletes can be defined by their strength, focus, and firm understanding of physics. While a good grasp of physics is not often the first attribute that comes to mind when we consider a champion’s drive, many Olympic medals, world records, and athletic feats have been achieved because athletes, trainers, and equipment designers have sought the aid of Sir Isaac Newton. Explore the physics of motion—including kinematics, forces, energy, and rotational dynamics—and how these play out in athletic competitions. Study Olympic achievements in the long jump, high jump, and cycling, and the physics-based innovations that have had an overwhelming impact on these events. By examining actual footage of sporting events and testing methodologies at home, you will better understand the physical forces that act on us and how the most successful athletes have used them to their advantage.

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Proving What Can’t Be Proven

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: Algebra 1
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Aspiring Coders

What makes a question unanswerable? Explore this notion in a variety of contexts, starting with classic problems such as Zeno’s paradox, Achilles and the Hare, The Monty Hall problem, and other problems with perplexing, counterintuitive, or unclear solutions. After resolving these with the proper mathematical method, dive into the world of formal logic, gaining an introduction to model theory and some context to the work of Ernst Zermelo, Bertrand Russell, and similar logicians. With this framework, you will be able to come to grips with Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorems before tackling the continuum hypothesis, perhaps the most famous unsolvable problem.

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The Psychology of Memory

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Future Doctors
Bookworms

Why are some things easier to remember than others? Why do people have vastly different memories of the same event? Why do most people remember Darth Vader saying, “Luke, I am your father,” when what he really says is, “No, I am your father”? Delve into these questions and more through an investigation into the fascinating world of memory. Learn about the neurobiology of remembering, the phases of memory, the different types of memory, and the assessment instruments that cognitive psychologists use to measure memory while considering one of the most interesting topics in the field: failures in memory. You also explore the phenomenon of forgetting, false memories, and memory disorders such as anterograde and retrograde amnesia.

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Satire, Comedy, and Politics

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times: 
      Session 1 – 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Social Justice Champions
Bookworms

As forms of cultural and political expression, satire and comedy are important tools for exposing uncomfortable truths about powerful individuals and institutions that might otherwise seem untouchable. Explore the ethics of humor in order to examine the role satire and comedy have played in American cultural and political debates via newspaper cartoons, TV shows, and stand-up routines. Consider the ethical implications of producing and consuming satire as well as the role context plays in how it’s received by others. Activities may include producing a video essay explaining how a specific instance of satire or comedy works, or creating a stand-up routine, song, or nonfiction essay accompanied by an expository artist’s statement using concepts from the course.

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Scare Tactics: Elements of Fear in Literature and Film

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Skilled Gamers
Bookworms

When Lon Chaney's mask first came off in the silent-film version of The Phantom of the Opera, some viewers were reportedly so frightened by the actor's ghoulish makeup that they fainted in the theater. In addition to exploring literature such has William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” examine works in other media like video games and podcasts to pinpoint how moments of fright operate within creative works. Alongside writing reviews or short critiques, create projects—your own short fiction, a review blog or podcast, and storyboards or scripted scenes for a film—that incorporate the narrative techniques you’re learning.

This course is taught by Norman Prentiss, a longtime CTY instructor and two-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in dark fantasy and horror writing.

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Science, Sexism, and Saving the World

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Social Justice Champions
Bookworms

How would you feel if a piece of yourself were used without your knowledge to save generations of humans after you? Would you be willing to save the world with no recognition for your efforts? Would you make sacrifices even though you, your children, and your children’s children would continue to live in poverty? Through a variety of nonfiction texts and media such as Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, explore the history of human rights issues in the STEM field. Focusing especially on women and women of color, delve into the often untold stories of the people who revolutionized medicine and biomedical research, fought legal battles, won wars, and launched us into space. Through discussions, writing exercises, and analysis, learn how to confront and critique decisions about human rights and ethics in medical and scientific research.

This course includes some controversial material; it is recommended for students who have completed grade 9 or above.

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Spillover: Zoonotics from A to Z

green arrow Grades 7–10
​​Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: Successful completion of CTY Summer Programs’ Introduction to the Biomedical Sciences or Fast-Paced High School Biology; CTY Online Programs’ Honors Biology; or high school biology.
Meeting times: 
      Session 1 only – 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Social Justice Champions
Future Doctors

Most viruses are limited to a particular host—adenoviruses, for instance, affect only humans. Zoonotic viruses surpass these limitations, spilling over from animals to humans, and include infamous pathogens like Zika, Ebola, and COVID-19. With humans increasingly encroaching on formerly wild areas, spillover between animals and humans will continue to have global consequences, requiring human preparedness to meet the challenge. Begin by exploring virology and diseases caused by viruses—both those that are limited to humans and those capable of jumping species—before acquiring a foundation in viral zoonoses and researching the epidemiology of a zoonotic virus. Finally, use your research to inform proposals for public health strategies specific to a region. While based firmly in science, this course also considers cultural norms, political ideologies, and the psychology of humans confronted with pandemics.

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Statistical Reasoning in Sports

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: Algebra I. Previous exposure to statistics is not assumed.
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Young Entrepreneurs

In football, does the home team really have an advantage? Does dribbling the basketball before shooting a free throw increase the odds of scoring? Where should a goalie stand to block the most penalty kicks? Explore the science of statistical reasoning with an emphasis on practical application in sports. Learn classic statistical techniques, including how to determine averages and standard deviations to compare quantitative and qualitative variables across data sets. Examine how to craft good questions; accurately collect, review, summarize, and analyze data; and effectively communicate your conclusions. Each week, work independently or in small groups to answer a question of your choosing by designing, completing, and presenting an investigative research project. Possible projects include writing a script for a sports news segment or creating a digital presentation that answers a question about an athlete’s or team’s performance.

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Stellar Evolution

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: Algebra I
Meeting times:
      Session 1 only – 3 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics

From violent beginnings to devastating ends, each star in the night sky is phasing through an evolutionary point, a journey that produces nearly every element on the periodic table. Explore the lifecycle of these stars, from their origins in nebulae to their journeys along the main sequence and into their explosive demise. Begin the course with an inventory of the universe and an overview of its scale and structure, then focus on stellar classification systems, the structure of stars, and the energy that fuels the creation of complex chemical and biological systems. Finally, examine the impact of supernovae and black holes on the universe as well as on our planet’s history.

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Survey of Cryptography

green arrow Grades 7–10
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Aspiring Coders

Surveil the world of cryptography, the science of secret-keeping. From passing notes in class to keeping online banking transactions secure, the need for confidential communication has been present for as long as people have wanted to keep things private. Learn about important methods of encrypting information, from historical ciphers to modern-day public key encryption, as you make and break codes using online tools to conduct frequency analyses and crack messages that would otherwise be undecipherable. You will gain an enhanced knowledge of the mathematics and processes behind some of the most important secret-keeping methods throughout history.

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Worldbuilding

green arrow Grades 7–10
Meeting times:
Eligibility: CTY-level verbal score
Prerequisites: None
      Session 1 – 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
World Adventurers
Bookworms

Fictional worlds often stick with us even longer than the stories set in them. They can be havens or nightmares, futuristic glimpses of what our world could be or looking-glass critiques of what it actually is. But how are these worlds created? Learn about the process of worldbuilding, discussing its techniques and best practices through the lenses of literature, creative writing, game design, anthropology, and history. In addition to building your own world, practice critical thinking and analysis as you look to famous worlds from literature, film, and games to discover what makes worldbuilding successful, meaningful, and ethical. Final projects include designing a travel brochure marketing a world to tourists, a vlog of a visit to another world, or a museum exhibit created by one civilization about a society that preceded it.

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Grades 10-12

The following courses are for students who are either currently enrolled in or have just completed the grades listed.

Behavioral Economics

green arrow Grades 10–12
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: Algebra II. Previous exposure to economics is not assumed; students can build upon any prior experience.
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 9 a.m. ET
      Session 2 – 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Skilled Gamers
Young Entrepreneurs
Policy Wonks

Why is it so hard to hail a cab in the rain in New York City? Why do some people pay for annual gym memberships when they would save on a pay-as-you go basis? Integrate ideas from the social sciences with economics to understand how we act, make decisions, and play. Explore and test a range of theories, maybe by using Tversky and Kahneman’s idea of Supposedly Irrelevant Factors to determine their applicability to your life and to qualitatively explain several classic behavioral economics scenarios. Later in the course, after studying E. Cartwright’s analysis of breakfast cereal choice, conduct your own parallel analysis to choose, for instance, a college or a dessert. Individual and group activities provide a thorough introduction to behavioral economics and its implications for public policy.

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Climate Change and How to Save the World

green arrow Grades 10–12
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 3 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
World Adventurers
Social Justice Champions
Policy Wonks

The carbon cycle is the most influential environmental cycle of our era, and its current imbalance puts Earth in peril. Deepen your scientific understanding of the carbon cycle and work together to create models of local and global resiliency strategies. Because a crisis like climate change requires a full-scale interdisciplinary approach, you draw upon the sciences, engineering, health, international studies, business, and media studies for class discussions, working in groups to identify an environmental resilience project; evaluate its potential impact on social, economic, and cultural factors; conduct a cost-benefit analysis; and create a social media strategy. Deploying an equal measure of innovation and practicality, you learn to apply specific skills and knowledge for measurable gains against the biggest challenge of our time.

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Global Pandemonium

green arrow Grades 10–12
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 – 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Skilled Gamers
Bookworms

In Paradise Lost, John Milton coined the name Pandemonium for Satan’s high court in Hell, a place surrounded by swarms of demons. Horror films such as Train to Busan and A Quiet Place further associate pandemics with evil, depicting disorder and devastation. Study films dealing with global pandemics to unpack how directors visualize pandemonium by creating an aesthetic of chaos. Participate in screenings, discussions, and scene analyses to learn the fundamental elements of cinema studies such as ideology, history, and production while exploring larger issues of gender, race, and sexuality. To demonstrate your mastery of formal analysis and critical thinking, develop final projects with your peers, such as a podcast or video essay, that illustrate how a film’s formal features work within historical and cultural context to produce cinema of global pandemonium.

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How Do We Choose?

green arrow Grades 10–12
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 only 
– 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Young Entrepreneurs
Policy Wonks
Social Justice Champions

Explore social choice theory and how it informs our processes for making group decisions. From what to have for dinner to which public projects to fund or whether to go to war, we face collective decision-making every day. Should the majority rule? Would a lottery be fairer? Should we defer to experts, give everyone an equal say, or accept some compromise between the two? How do we best aggregate individual interests in order to cooperate? By investigating historical and modern voting systems, you analyze and compare social choice rules and voting methods such as plurality, instant runoff, and Borda count while applying formal theorems. Through readings, videos, podcasts, problem sets, independent research, and discussions, you’ll build up to your final project: to create and analyze new social choice rules for collective decision-making in the real world.

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Personal Identity and Memory

green arrow Grades 10–12
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 only 
– 12 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Bookworms

Dive into the nature of personal identity, the philosophical investigation of what the self is and what makes it continuous across time. Who are you? What are you? Where are you? What makes you the same person you were yesterday? Tomorrow? Five years ago? Ten years from now? Begin with a primer on the psychology of memory and proceed to examine key philosophies on identity, including physical, psychological, and causal continuity, as you develop an understanding of human memory structure and its relevance to personal identity. In addition to guided readings of philosophy, psychology, and literature, develop philosophical dialogues to explore identity and continuity issues; engage in argumentative discussion and debate about the ethics of memory-modifying technology; and participate in shared thought experiments.

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The Politics of True Crime

green arrow Grades 10–12
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1 only 
– 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
Social Justice Champions
Bookworms

American true crime podcasts like Serial and My Favorite Murder boast audiences in the millions. Why are these true crime stories so popular? What do they say about gender, class, race, and morality in relation to American crime? Which victims are valued? Whose stories are covered? How are community resources allocated to tracking down perpetrators? Explore how the genre has evolved from its journalistic origins to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood to more modern narratives like Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me. View documentaries, listen to podcasts, and complete essential readings before your final interactive media project: work in pairs to write, produce, and broadcast a show that reports on a crime and its social and political context in a creative way.

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Pure Math

green arrow Grades 10–12
Eligibility: CTY-level math score
Prerequisites: Geometry and Algebra II
Meeting times:
      Session 1 
– 3 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 3 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Aspiring Coders

Math has innumerable practical applications, but some of its most fascinating features only appear through a deep exploration of pure mathematics. By covering topics that most college undergraduates don’t encounter without years of prior study, develop your understanding of how pure mathematics differs from the computational mathematics you’re familiar with. Through advanced concepts such as abstract algebra, analysis, topology, and more, you’ll gain experience with more advanced theories in order to hone your interests for future mathematical studies.

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Unquiet Minds

green arrow Grades 10–12
Eligibility: CTY-level math or verbal score
Prerequisites: None
Meeting times:
      Session 1
– 12 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
      Session 2 – 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. ET

Ideal for:
STEM Fanatics
Future Doctors

Nearly one in six people globally has a neurological disorder. Despite how common they are and how effective treatment can be, neurological disorders are often misunderstood and marginalized. Explore the causes and treatments of neurological disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, visual agnosia, anxiety, and depression. Individually and collectively, analyze fictional and nonfictional case studies as you consider diagnostic tools, formulate diagnoses, and determine potential treatments. Additional activities include assessing scientific articles and participating in virtual labs to sharpen your ability to reason through evidence (and to support your conclusions). You’ll gain a sound understanding of normal and abnormal neurological functions as well as the root causes of changes in the brain.

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