More than 2,000 middle and high school students take a dive into learning at Stanford Splash

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Andrew Guo ’16 makes liquid nitrogen ice cream treats during the walk-in seminar “Sweet Liquid Nitrogen Demo.” (Photo credit: Rohit Talreja)

Twice a year, a group of Stanford undergraduate and graduate students hosts Stanford Splash, a two-day learning extravaganza for middle and high school students. On April 12-13, Splash attracted 2,141 participants who took part in hundreds of classes and walk-in activities from “Quidditch for Muggles” to “Microbes and Mud” to “Chocolate: Food of the Gods.”

First-time Splash attendee ADITYA KRISHNAN took a math class on the binomial theorem. “I learned a lot of stuff I didn’t know about and I couldn’t learn outside,” said Krishnan, who also took classes in performance comedy and improv.

Eighth-grade students SHELBY BROOKS and KAYLA TURNAGE, both of whom were attending Splash for the third time, were eager participants as well. Brooks’ favorite class was “Psychology and Neuroscience of Religion” because “it was very educational and really makes you think.” Turnage, who “likes to take science classes,” was able to explore 3-D printing and genetics.

For teachers, Splash is equally fulfilling: JEFFREY DAVIS, a local volunteer, taught a class on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. He noted that this year he “had a lot of kids both days, it was great.” As for his students? They all clapped for him at the end, and some even sent him notes about how much they enjoyed his class. Without pause, Davis said, “I would love to teach again.”

The Splash outreach program is growing in popularity every year and continues its effort to attract students from underserved schools. The event is open to students from all schools and to those who are home-schooled. As the program grows in popularity, so does the need for volunteers and teachers. During the recent Stanford Splash, 367 teachers and about 200 volunteers help to make the event a success.

The next Splash event is scheduled for November 8-9.

—VIVIAN W. WANG, Stanford Splash