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LIFE AND UNIVERSE

Year 1,  Astrobiology Intro:
Space Mission  -  Life over Time  -  Life in Space

Fall Session: 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

Year 2, Cognition and AI:
Other Minds  -  Emergence of Mind  -  Contact and Communication

Fall Session:  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

Year 3, Future Studies:
World Building Techniques -  Existential Risks and Opportunities  -  Course Reflection

Fall session - World Building Techniques
Class for 12-14 yr olds

"The best way to predict the future is to build it" - said Abraham Lincoln. In our fall session, the students try their hand at building and analyzing the scenarios of the future.  With all the acquired knowledge about space, life in space, cognitive sciences, and AI, the students ask questions, design mind maps, compare and contrast futuristic predictions, and work on their "futures literacy" - the major skill for the XXI century, according to UNESCO.  Students are reaching out to scientists and experts, developing and hosting podcasts and webinars, and sharing those with their peers around the world. Year 3 is the final year of our Art of Inquiry course, providing ample opportunities to the students to work on their portfolios, writing and science communication skills. 

ADDITIONAL OFFERINGS

PHYSICS  -  BOARD GAME DESIGN  -  KERBAL SPACE PROGRAM -
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.