January Animal Senses
How do different animals sense the world? How do we know? And can they help us see the world in new ways?
Possible ideas: Who's the best smeller, seer, hearer? How do we know what animals sense? If we understand how they see the world, can we be better neighbors (e.g. bird-proof buildings)? Can animal senses to build better robots and other machines (e.g., dragonfly vision, ultracane)? can technology expand the human sensory range?
Pitches by: 4/20/18
February Kids Invent
What are the kids inventing? What makes a good inventor, anyway? And how do I get started?
Possible ideas: Profiles of kids/teams inventing useful or interesting things; the invention process; childhoods of famous and/or current inventors; invention contests, what they are and tips for doing well; after the contest, developing and marketing inventions; are kids natural inventors?
Pitches by: 6/1/18
March Where does the garbage go?
What do we do with all our garbage, and can we do better?
Possible ideas: Day in the life of your trash (mechanics of garbage collection); welcome, decomposers; how recycling works; ideas for improving trash handling and recycling (e.g., high-tech tools for recycling and sorting, engineering a dump, dealing with e-waste, turning waste into useful things); the problem of plastic and possible solutions; space trash; engineering solutions to reduce waste (not just recycle); why archaeologists love middens
Pitches by: 7/1/18
April How We Made Friends with Horses
What makes horses special? And why do they like us?
Possible ideas: Evolution of the horse; profile of a young rider learning to ride; caring for a horse; how horses run; the farrier’s art; horse-oriented festivals or cultural practices
Pitches by: 8/1/18
May/June Living Rock
How have living organisms shaped the geology of the Earth?
Possible ideas: How early life shaped the physical earth (oxygenation, tectonics); making caves; how we get soil; life in the rock cycle (bacteria, algae, trees, insects, parrotfish making beaches, rocks that are made up of organic material); fossil fuels; technology that scientists use to study biogeology; meet a biogeologist; mountain or island succession; can we put geologic biota to work for us? how would earth look different without living things?
Pitches by: 9/1/18
July/August World of Soccer
What makes a great soccer match?
Pitches by: 10/1/18
September Whole Cloth
How did humans develop cloth, and how can we improve it?
Possible ideas: History of textiles; when did humans start wearing clothes; invention of string (can’t weave without it); who invented knitting; how archaeologists study ancient cloth and what they learn; the best cloth for different jobs; looms ancient and modern; fabric dying and printing; modern smart and high-tech fabrics; how fabrics are tested (e.g., artificial butt for jeans)
Pitches by: 12/15/18
October Deep Dark Ocean
What lives in the deepest parts of the ocean? And why?
Possible ideas: profiles of particular benthic communities and/or creatures (floor or water column, but in dark zone); robot subs; tracking deep-diving animals; adaptations to depth, cold, pressure; bioluminescence; discoveries from the deep ocean (useful compounds? microbes? biochemicals? ideas for technology?); mapping the ocean floor; laying and fixing undersea data cables
Pitches by: 2/1/19
November/December Surprising Saturn
What do we know about Saturn, and how can we find out more?
Possible ideas: Cassini mission; interpreting the data; what is a gas giant; how do planets get rings and how common are they, could Earth ever have rings; Galileo’s telescope; Dragonfly probe and its mission design: could there be life on Saturn’s moons? How do biologists figure out what we need to look for, and then how do engineers build something to look for that?
Pitches by: 3/15/19