LIFE AND UNIVERSE
Astrobiology Classes (for advanced 10-12 yr olds)
Space Mission - Life over Time - Life in Space
Session 1: Space Mission Planning Class for 10-12 yr olds
We start our year-long astrobiology course with discussing deep concepts of cosmology and physics, such as time, space, matter and gravity, building a foundation for our future explorations, and helping the students see themselves on a cosmic scale. From there, we move on to discuss the origin and properties of the Solar System.
In the second part of the session, we explore rocky planets, gas giants, the asteroid belt and Jovian and Saturnian moons. In the process, we discuss which planets appear most promising for astrobiology research, and consider the hazards and obstacles we might experience while planning a mission to those planets. The students are invited to choose a destination and plan a mission, analyze trade-offs and use planning tools. We also touch upon the ethics of space exploration and terraformation.
MIND AND UNIVERSE
Cognition and AI (for advanced 11-13 yr olds)
Other Minds - Emergence of Mind - Contact and Communication
Session 1: Other minds
Class for 11-13 yr olds
What is reality? How do we perceive it? How is it perceived by animals? How could it be perceived by an artificial intelligence (AI) or a creature from another solar system? Do we live in a dream? Are we the smartest creatures on the planet? What does it mean to be smart? Is our mind easily tricked? What are the differences and similarities between an animal, human, and artificial intelligence? Can you read a human mind? An animal mind? We explore these and other questions about various types of known and possible forms of intelligence. Get ready to experiment with your own mind as you go. Our examples will cover the unique brain of an octopus, the life of ants and naked moles, perception in animals and robots, Neuralink news, and video games for space travel.
FUTURE AND UNIVERSE
Future Studies (for advanced 12-14 yr olds)
World Building Techniques - Existential Risks and Opportunities - Course Reflection
Session 1: Existential Risks and Opportunities
Class for 12-14 yr olds
We will expand upon our understanding of systems thinking, unintended consequences, and dynamic instability to explore existential risks on a deeper level. Using modern examples and historical perspectives, we will consider the self-induced nature of many global challenges brought about through our short-sighted solutions to social dilemmas, conflicting identities, and the inherent limitations of human psychology faced with the rapidly escalating complexity. We will examine the risks of online technologies (particularly social media) on societal stability and mental health. We will extensively analyze the pitfalls and promises of AI and reflect on aligning this alien intelligence with human values (featuring an in-depth discussion of ChatGPT). Yet the overall vision of the future will remain optimistic - we just need to learn how to change our minds to bring it to life.
PER REQUEST: PHYSICS - BOARD GAME DESIGN - CONFERENCE PREP
HOMESCHOOL AND PRIVATE SCHOOL GROUPS
Board Game Design Club
Class for 10-13 yr olds
Join Dr. Gordon Hamilton, the designer of Santorini and founder of MathPickle.com on a guided tour of board games and board game design, sprinkled with logic, strategy, problem-solving and systems thinking. We are going to start by playing some games on the board game arena and discussing the mechanisms behind the designs. What makes them tick. After becoming familiar with games we will choose one and design some of our own variations. Lastly, we will tackle a design together. The theme for this game will be space-related, but that leaves a universe of possibilities! We will aim to create something that is worthy of publication.