Indiana University
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Course Descriptions

Whether you are completely new to the subject or just in need of a refresher, these courses will help you understand the material presented in your high school courses. In addition, class sizes will be kept to no more than 15 students, in order to provide more individualized attention and create a better learning environment.

We offer courses in Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Astronomy, and Computer Science. Feel free to sign up for as many courses as you wish! During each session, classes will take place in the morning, afternoon or evening. Check the schedule to see when your class takes place.

The courses will meet three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for approximately 2 hours a day. Courses are taught by Indiana Unversity graduate students. The courses will meet in the Physics Department in Swain Hall West (727 E. Third St.), Swain Hall East (729 E. 3rd St.), Jordan Hall (1001 E. 3rd St.), and the Chemistry Building (800 E. Kirkwood Ave) --- all on the IU campus. IU parking permits are available for purchase upon request.

Receive a participation certificate for successfully participating in an FSM course! A course instructor will have the authority to certify students. Typically, a student would be required to attend at least 5 out of 6 classes in order to obtain the certificate. The text and design of the sample certificate is subject to revision.

The cost is $25 per course. Considering the fact that 12 hours of tutoring would normally cost around $300, FSM represents a very cost-effective means of receiving extra instruction in science and mathematics.



Course Descriptions

Introduction to the Universe Introduction to the Universe is an introductory course in astronomy with no prerequisites (except introductory algebra). The course is a survey of the subject covering the following fundamental topics in modern astronomy: scale of universe, seasons, our Sun, stellar evolution, life in the solar system, telescopes, spacecrafts, galaxies, black holes, quasars, big bang, expansion of Universe, and recent advancements. The origins of stars, planets, and exoplanets (newly discovered planetary systems outside our solar system) will be discussed as well. After taking this course, a student will have gained a good understanding of our place in Universe. If you are familiar with above concepts, and would like to get more hands-on experience with scientific concepts and mathematical applications, please refer to the "Astrophysics for Beginners" course.

Astrophysics for Beginners This course is designed for students interested in learning about fundamental of astrophysics. No prior knowledge of astronomy or physics is required. Only prerequisite is the basic algebra. This course will present the following classical and modern concepts in astrophysics: conversion of units, size scales, escape velocity, the Theory of Special Relativity, light and matter, blackbody radiation, hydrostatic equilibrium, degenerate remnants of stars (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes), early universe, inflation, and origin of structure.

Introductory Biology This is an introductory course designed for students taking their first high school biology class in the fall. The goal of the course is to give students a conceptual framework for topics that will be covered in their biology course, and primary emphasis will be on developing an understanding of concepts rather than on the memorization of specific terms. We will divide our time between 1) Molecules and Cells, 2) Heredity and Evolution, and 3) Organisms and Ecology. Class time will be a combination of discussion and outdoor and laboratory exercises.

Advanced Biology This is a course designed for students taking honors, advanced, or AP biology in the fall. We will use the AP biology curriculum as a guideline, and primary emphasis will be on developing an understanding of concepts rather than on the memorization of specific terms. We will divide our time between 1) Molecules and Cells, 2) Heredity and Evolution, and 3) Organisms and Ecology. Class time will be a combination of discussion and outdoor and laboratory exercises. This course will move at a faster pace, cover more material, and focus more on experimental design and data analysis than the Introductory Biology class.

Zoology (Animal Diversity) This course is designed for high school students with a strong interest in animal biology. Students will explore the key traits that unite and distinguish diverse animal groups, as well as the unique innovations that have allowed these groups to persist for millions of years. Animal groups covered will include sponges, jellyfish, flat- and roundworms, insects, molluscs, sea-stars and sea-urchins, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. Class time will be a combination of discussion as well as laboratory observation and experimentation with both preserved and live specimens. A background in biology (regular, honors, or AP) is recommended but not required.

Introduction to Chemistry Students will review relevant math and science concepts that they will need in their upcoming chemistry class. Students will be introduced to a variety of new chemistry concepts, focusing on subject areas that students will encounter during their first semester of chemistry, such as dimensional analysis and chemical structure. No background chemistry knowledge is needed to participate in this course. Students will have the opportunity to work in a lab learning how to use new techniques and equipment during the hands-on experiment portion of each class session. We hope to teach students a general approach to chemistry problem-solving that will help them throughout their entire chemistry education.

Chemistry in Food Cooking is applied chemistry and chemistry is a lot like cooking. In this experiment based course, students will explore several topics to discover components, detect additives, and evaluate quality of foods they may eat daily. Each day, students will perform an experiment, from which they will learn experimental skills, chemistry behind each processes, and strengthen chemistry problem-solving skills. Although a basic knowledge of introductory chemistry will be preferred, we still encourage students to enroll in this course if they are interested in this topic.

Introduction to Programming Students will be introduced to the essence and joys of programming and how to apply these skills in practice (e.g. how to plot data from real-world sources). No background in programming or computing is necessary, and participants will be taught how to set up the computing environment at home. Class time will be held in a computer lab and students will gain hands-on experience interacting with programs and files. Computational thinking is crucial for the future of STEM fields.

Standardized Mathematics Tests Review This course is designed to help students succeed in mathematics part of any standardized test required for college admissions. Students will practice problems made publicly available by the ACT and the College Board (these organizations administer ACT and SAT, respectively). Students will be introduced to problem solving skills and quantitative thinking. The course will also focus on the best practices before and during a test. In addition to practicing mathematics problems, our aim is also to equip students with test taking skills.

Algebra 1 Algebra is a foundational topic that is central to high school and beyond mathematics. In this course we will be exploring introductory material that explores expression, equations and functions. There will be significant work done in skill building with solving for unknown values in both equation and inequalities. Variables and coordinate graphing will be address in week two of the course. The final topic discussed will address problems solving from word linear word problems and solving linear systems. By the end of the course, participants will be prepared to take on the rigor of a high school Algebra 1 course or ready for our Algebra 2 course in the next session.

Algebra 2 Algebra 2 is a course that provides the extension of the content taught in Algebra 1. Specifically, further development of the concept of a function will be discussed. Topics include: 1) Complex numbers and expressions; 2) relations, functions, equations, and inequalities; 3) quadratic equations and functions; 4) exponential and logarithmic functions; 5) systems of equations including linear and non-linear equations; 6) polynomials; and 7) data analysis, statistics, and probabilities. All topics will be taught in a way that promotes students' conceptual understanding as well as computational skills. Practical applications of the topics will also be emphasized. By the end of this course, students will be prepared for other higher-level mathematics courses.

Trigonometry This course is for students with a solid foundation in Algebra and who are likely to take Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and/or Calculus in upcoming semesters. Mastering Trigonometry is an essential first step towards the study of Calculus; however, it contains concepts that are often very difficult for students to grasp. This 2-week course will cover basic Trigonometry topics, including triangle geometry, definitions of trigonometric functions (e.g., sine, cosine, tangent) and their graphs, the Pythagorean theorem, and basic trigonometric identities. We will spend a significant amount of time on the relationship between triangle geometry and trigonometric functions, as these concepts are foundational and often very difficult to internalize. Less time will be spent on the Pythagorean theorem and on trigonometric identities. Overall, students should end the 2-weeks with a solid understanding of basic Trigonometry and be well prepared for continued progress towards mastering Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and/or Calculus in upcoming semesters.

Mathematical Topics The aim of this course is to improve students' critical thinking skills and help them acquire self-confidence in independent thinking. The format of the course will be solving a variety of problems/puzzles/riddles. The problems will come in different flavors. Some will require nothing but a clever argument, some a little bit of math. We may briefly touch on some basic concepts in combinatorics, elementary number theory, logic or calculus depending on the context of the problems. However, no prior knowledge of these is required to take the course. The only requirement is the willingness to commit to intensive thinking for two weeks. Before each class, a set of problems will be assigned. You will be asked to come to the class with ideas. The course/lab time will consist of explanation of the solutions, generalizations and the bigger mathematical picture behind the problems. One other aim of the class time is to interact and share your ideas with others.

Introductory Physics The introductory physics course is intended for students who have never previously taken a physics course. We will discuss common topics in first year physics including one-dimensional motion, forces, and two-dimensional motion. Students should have some experience with algebra and geometry. In addition to introductory physics material, we will stress logical problem solving methods. By the end of the course, students should have a foundational understanding of how to approach problems in physics.