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Current Topics

For K-12 Teachers Throughout Rhode Island

Topics RISG can present to your class during THE academic year

  • Cognitive Science Major
    • Robotics: What kind of things does NASA use robots for? Why haven't we been able to develop robots that convincingly replicate human behaviors? What are some of the difficulties faced in deploying robots to remote planets like Mars? What principles of neuroscience, psychology, and engineering are relevant to using robots in space?
    • Biology: What do researchers do? What is the relationship between neuroscience and psychology? Why is NASA interested in these two fields? What happens to the human body and mind during extended time in space? Can include overview of human anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, effects of drugs, nutrition, exercise and/or psychology.
    • General: Why bother exploring the universe? Overview of the solar system, stars, galaxies, constellations etc., lots of fun facts about space and physics, general discussion of interesting NASA missions and how NASA impacts our daily lives. The importance of math, science, and humanities with respect to having interesting careers in science and at NASA
  • Mechanical Engineering Major
    How do rockets work? What makes them able to work in a vacuum like space without air? What makes a rocket and a jet engine different, and why aren't rockets used in airplanes? Also, the history of rocket development, the space race, and past successes and failures of rockets.
  • Planetary Geoscience Major
    What is planetary geology? How do we use geology to study the solar system? What are the important geologic processes (i.e., volcanoes, erosion, landslides) that tell us about solar system evolution? What instruments do we use to study other planets (remote sensing)? Comets, meteorites and impact craters. Introduction to the solar system: how it formed and what was left behind. How do we design a space mission? Understanding rocks and minerals. What is the earth made of, what is its internal structure, and how does this compare to other planets in our solar system or the moon? Geologic time scale: how do we date things on the earth and other planets?
  • Physics Major
    -Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity
    -The Big Bang
    -The end of stellar evolution (Supernovae, Neutron Stars, Black Holes)
    -Galactic Structure

We can visit the classroom to give a presentation on one of these topics - there is no fee involved.

Additional Teacher Resources: Local organisations able to provide teachers with additional resources to enhance their classrooms.

Roger Williams Park Natural History Museum and Cormack Planetarium

Space Rocks with Dr. Len

NASA Educators Resource Center

Northeast Regional Planetary Data Center

For more information please contact the RI Space Grant Consortium office at Brown University (401) 863-1151 or Nancy_Ciminelli@brown.edu.