This is a list of all currently scheduled mini-courses and their host locations. Some information on this page may not be 100% up-to-date; see the Google Calendar for the most current information. If you would like to host a location, please indicate that when you register, or contact site coordinator Iva Jean Tennant directly.

Ecotoxicity: The Effects of Toxic Chemicals on Animals in the Environment

Dates/Times: Wednesdays 2/7, 2/14, and 2/28 – 5:00 to 7:30 (dinner at 5, live stream session starts at 5:30)

Viewing location

  • Live: Binghamton University (Zurack Family High-Technology Collaboration Center, LN-1302C)

Presenters: Professor Jessica Hua, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Binghamton University

Course Description: In this mini-course, designed principally with biology and chemistry teachers in mind, Professor Hua will first describe the general field of ecotoxicology and the subfields she researches and then delve into a number of specific cases. In subsequent presentations, she will explain the major elements of studying the ecology of anthropogenic substances in the environment: adaptation, disease ecology and predation and how to design a variety of engaging student research projects.

Dr. Hua carries out investigations of effects of toxic chemicals on animals directly in
the environment. She will share her current research results in context of other studies.

*The first session of this mini-course is for teachers with no prior experience teaching high school science. The second and third sessions should be accessible to nearly all teachers, but are particularly relevant to biology, chemistry and earth science teachers.

Registration: Two registrations needed:

  • Complete this form to register locally with Iva Jean, and
  • Complete this form to register with the state program and receive mini-course materials

Gerrymandering and Math

Dates/Times: Tuesdays 2/13, 2/27, and 3/13 – 5:30 to 7:30

Viewing locations/Contacts

  • Ithaca (Karen Seifert)
  • Avoca (James Klem)
  • Corning/Painted Post (Kristen Drehmer)
  • Union Endicott (Steve Tibsensky)

Presenter: Dr. Mira Bernstein, Assistant Professor, Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group, Tufts University

Course Description: Gerrymandering has been much in the news lately. There is a growing realization that this age-old problem has gotten more egregious in the past few decades, due in large part to the advent of new technologies and quantitative methods. This past fall, the New York Times ran an article titled “The New Front in the Gerrymandering Wars: Democracy vs Math.”

In this course, we will take the opposite point of view: math in defense of democracy! The course will be led by Dr. Mira Bernstein together with several MfA Master Teachers. In this mini-course, we will approach the mathematics of redistricting from several angles: geometric (measuring the “compactness” of districts), algebraic (measures of partisan fairness, including the efficiency gap), and statistical (outlier analysis, measures of racially polarized voting in racial gerrymandering cases). Of course, these quantitative aspects of gerrymandering cannot be viewed in isolation: the legal, historical, social, and political context will be emphasized throughout the course. See the registration link below for more information

Registration: Two registrations needed:

  • Complete this form to register locally with Iva Jean, and
  • Complete this form to register with the state program and receive mini-course materials

Modern Cryptography: Protecting Communications, Data and Privacy

Dates/Times: Thursdays 4/12, 4/19, and 4/26 – 5:30 to 7:30

Viewing locations/Hosts

  • Ithaca (Arti Jewett)
  • Vestal (Allison Weisel)
  • Bath (Murray Wright)
  • Corning (Bonnie Grinnell)

Presenter: Omkant Pandey, Computer Science Dept., Stony Brook University,

Course Description: This mini-course will begin with a description of how, in different ways, information transmitted via computer can be encrypted and then decrypted on the receiving end. We will then discuss subtle nuances regarding how secure of an encryption scheme is secure enough. For example, early encryption schemes did not consider the case of an attacker who may be able to change an encrypted message without being able to decrypt it first. This created many problems when such encryption was used in designing secure solutions for digital applications. We will also discuss the provable security of these  schemes, which is a scientific way to asses the security of the given encryption scheme. See the registration link below for more information.

*The first session of this mini-course is geared toward all teachers. The second and third are more complex and may appeal more to teachers with a strong mathematics background, but should be of interest to all teachers.

Registration: Two registrations needed:

  • Complete this form to register with Iva Jean, and
  • Complete this form to register with the state program and receive mini-course materials