Splash Weekend at MIT: A Student’s Perspective

Anais Killian, Contributing Writer

During the weekend of November 23rd and 24th, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) held its annual teaching and learning event, Splash, which was founded in 1957. For one weekend every November, thousands of high schoolers flood the MIT campus to take classes taught by MIT students on anything and everything. Splash is fully run and organized by students in MIT’s Educational Studies Program (ESP). The program costs $40, and high school students in 9th through 12th grade can attend. This year, I attended Splash for the first time, and let me tell you, it was an experience all high school students have to try. The Splash program is easy to sign up for, cost-effective, and designed for everyone.

One of the main perks of Splash is the straightforwardness of the application. The online form allows people to choose from a list that features over 500 classes with subject areas in STEM, the humanities, language, literature, pop culture, social studies, and visual and performing arts. With classes on dissection, calligraphy, Phineas and Ferb, and everything in between, I had trouble deciding which courses to choose. After applicants rate three classes per period from most desired to least, they are placed into a lottery that decides their weekend schedule per period. The process is easy and stress-free for a weekend of excitement.

Next, the program cost is one like no other. For only $40, students encounter up to ten classes on Saturday, and eight classes on Sunday. With 18 classes altogether, one hour each, each class is approximately $2. What better way to spend your weekend?

Finally, Splash is set up in a manner where there is something for all participants. One of my favorite classes was titled “Kick People’s A$$es At Pool” and used geometry to determine how to mastermind the game of billiards. One of the instructors from this course, MIT senior Chris Hillenbrand, told me about his experience as a teacher for Splash: “In order to [teach students], you’ve got to learn [the material] really well yourself; so then, to see other people also get happy about it is very rewarding.”

When I ran into another CRLS sophomore, Jen Cooper, she told me that her favorite class “was probably ‘Exploring Ocean Life: Climate Change Edition.’ The teacher talked about his research in biodegrading plastics under the ocean and that’s what I’m interested in, so I was pretty happy.” Splash has a perfect educational balance by allowing students to learn about subjects they have never explored before, and at the same time, in areas they are already passionate about.

Overall, Splash guarantees diversity in courses. Marissa Abbott, an MIT freshman who taught “Crash Course in the History of Everything,” summed up the program by stating, “There’s enough classes here that there’s one for everyone.”

Don’t forget to sign up for Splash next November!