Class Descriptions for Outside The Box 2017

 Classes for 2018 will be posted by the end of March 2018.


Manual Chess Programs

Presenter: Phil Schapker

Students will explore the most fundamental aspects of algorithms and computer programs by building "manual chess programs"-- coded sets of instructions for playing chess to be carried out by human "computers."  Students will create "evolutionary algorithms" that swap code and change in response to competition. Over the two weeks, the students' programs will grow in complexity and sophistication, leading to a final game between the two most successful chess programs. A moderate familiarity with chess is required to do well in this class. Students who have previously taken Advanced Chess are encouraged to join.

The World of Architecture

Presenters: Eduardo Rojas Roman and Yair Buendia

Are you interested in exploring the world of architecture? Then this class is for you. Through the class you will be provided a wide-range of exposure to the world of architecture: famous architects, important styles and periods, and much, much, more. You will learn about different aspects of architecture and use kits to design and build your own model buildings.

Forensics: Criminals Beware!

Presenter: Zach Bryant

Students will be introduced the science of crime scene investigation. An emphasis is made on how science works, including making observations, inferences, and providing evidence based arguments for their claims. Students will never wonder how biology is useful to the real world, as law and science come together to make crime fighting engaging. As available, experts in the field may join us throughout the class.

3-D Modeling and Printing

Presenter: Deric Ntrandekura

$5 materials fee

3-D printing is a rapidly advancing technology that allows digital objects to emerge into the physical world. It has applications in many fields including medicine, engineering, and even archaeology. In this class you will learn the methods, materials, and limitations of 3D printing. You will also create, edit, and share your own 3D models. By the end of the class, you will have prepared an object for printing on a 3D printer and observe it as it comes to life.

Lead the Way to Social Change

Presenter: Brian Sikora

We will begin by analyzing social justice problems, such as hunger, poverty, the food industry, and the ecosystem.  Students will then learn how to effect social change as we discuss necessary leadership roles, and how to make social changes sustainable.

Explore Your Passions

Presenter: Brian Sikora 

Discover your interests through structured research:  We will use Genius Hour (a structured research template and process) to conduct research to answer a question we have about a topic we are passionate about. Then, we'll learn how to present our findings to a group.

Cryptography: The Science of Secrets

Presenter: Jason McClelland

Learn how people have sent secret messages to each other throughout history, from Julius Caesar in ancient Rome to modern day internet communication. We’ll explore the math and puzzles behind a variety of cryptography (‘crypto’= secret, ‘graphy’=writing) systems, crack some codes and build our own.

Speech and Debate

Presenter: Hannah Gilbert

Come learn the arts of persuasion and presentation!  Practice your public speaking skills and learn how to craft a foolproof argument in this fast-paced class filled with games, discussions, and formal debates.  Tackle topics ranging from what the best kind of ice cream is, to the plausibility of colonizing Mars, to what should be done to combat climate change.  If you want to hone your presentation skills, work on getting over a fear of public speaking, or just learn how to win that argument with your sibling, this class is for you!

What in the World? An Exploration of Current Events

Presenter: Hannah Gilbert

Come join us in discussing the events and news stories that define today’s society.  What exactly will we talk about? Your guess is as good as mine!  All topics, from local, to state, to international issues will be pulled directly from current headlines.  Then, after thoughtful discussion and lively debate, we will tackle the question of what we can personally do to have an impact in our communities.  From writing letters to your elected representatives to creating your own political cartoons, this class will help you become a more informed and involved global citizen!

The Power of Perspective: Summer Reads Book Club

Presenter: Sarah Blount

This is a class for kids who love to read - and talk about it! This summer we'll read All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. This is the story of two sixteen-year-old boys who find  themselves unexpectedly connected after an event leaves Rashad mistakenly accused of stealing and brutally beaten by a police officer. Rashad's classmate, Quinn, witnesses the beating, and is shocked to discover that the officer happens to be his best friend's older brother. Told through Rashad and Quinn's alternating viewpoints, we'll delve into the issues of racism, social justice and oppression.

Choose Your Own Adventure Creative Writing

Presenter: Sarah Blount

Explore your creativity in this anything goes writing class. In this course we will focus on multiple creative writing exercises using inspiration from our own lives, art, horror, humor and satire, and anything we can dream up in our imaginations. 

Explore many different writing paths, practice fun new fiction and nonfiction exercises, collaborate with others, and maybe leave with the inspiration to start something new and creative as you continue your writing practice.

My Acting Class

Presenter: Rod Davidson

" Hey, whatcha doing this summer? I'm taking an Acting class at OSU. My teacher is Rod Davidson, who used to be an Actor in Hollywood, and now teaches Acting to kids like me. It's gonna be a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to being taught Acting skills, improvisation, stage presence, and how to perform monologues and scenes. Just like professional actors. Can't wait. What am I doing this summer? You can find me in My Acting Class!"

Explore the History of Popular Music

Presenter: Brian Sikora

Explore the history of popular/rock music through the songs, the albums, and the stories behind the artists.  This course will begin discussion with early 20th century music and move through the important albums and songs of today.  There will be an emphasis on music criticism and the students will have the opportunity to write a critical review of an album.  

Awesome Modern Physics

Presenters: Phil Schapker and Jason McClelland

Explore the bewildering nature of time travel, quantum portals, neutrinos and parallel dimensions.  Students will watch Ted Lectures, discuss and research strange topics in modern physics and cosmology, and design and play a Pokémon-like card game based on their findings.

Race In America

Presenters:  Deric Ntrandekura and Jerome Robinson

This course primarily considers relationships between African- and European-Americans from slavery to the present. We will research and explore deeply the eras of slavery, post-civil war Reconstruction, Jim Crow legislation, Civil Rights activism and legislation, and the 21st century environment. Each period has contributed to modern American racially charged events, racial landscapes, and political and social climates. While these topics are deeply historical and sociological, they are also part of the fabric of American culture, which enriches our understanding of our society’s past, present, and future. This class is recommended for mature  students due to the subject matter.

Minecraft: Creative Free Build

Presenter: Courtney Ahlgren

$5 Computer User Fee

Your a minecraft block building artist. You have built cool minecraft houses, forts and roller coasters. But have you been in a room full of fellow Minecrafters and built something huge together? You have the ideas. We have the world. We need your to help building our massive Minecraft world. We started it last summer. Now it is going to be even bigger and better with your ideas and help.  If you are a castle maker, red stone engineer, city planner, undersea architect, pixel artist, dungeon designer, or just a  landscape shaping / road building / bridge building maniac, this is the one for you.

Expanded Drawing

Presenter: Jill Baker

$5 materials fee

What makes a drawing a drawing? Drawings do not always occur on paper, nor are they always permanent or made by hand. We will begin with the basic elements of art- line, color, shape, texture, value- as they are used in drawing to explore new and creative ways of drawing.

The Journal as Art

Presenter: Jill Baker

$5 materials fee

Not just a space for ideas, observations, and sketches, artist journals and sketchbooks can be beautiful and interesting works of art. Using beginning book making techniques, we will make three unique artist journals and fill them with drawing, collage, writing, and mixed media.


Presenter: Jason McClelland

Backgammon: People have been playing the game known as backgammon for almost 5000 years, suggesting it might be at least a little fun. It is a game filled with risk, reward and lots of strategy, all while having a pretty simple set of rules. It is also an awesome example of probability in action, a very useful part of math that was cooked up several hundred years ago for thinking about games. This class will teach the basics of the game and it's strategy, while learning some math along the way. Of course, we'll get to play lots too.