For this week's Throwback Thursday blog post, we're celebrating National Teacher Appreciation Week with a shout out to science teachers. FableVision works with its partners to develop unique teaching tools to reach learners of all ages and my younger self can connect with one project in particular.
I was more of a humanities person in grade school: excelled at reading and writing, struggled with math and science. Most of that was purely interest-based, but I'd be lying if I said I was encouraged in science and math more than just to get a passing grade. The phrase "STEM," which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, didn't exist when I was a student. Now, "STEM Education" is an everyday buzz word. What if I'd been encouraged in different knowledge fields beyond the bare minimum? What if I'd had programs and games and communities both in school and online that were supportive (and even hopeful) about my future in STEM fields? Heck, what if I'd had GoldieBlox (or something like it) to play with?
FableVision works with many organizations that provide STEM education to students. One of my favorites is iWaSwondering.org, a project of the National Academy of Sciences. The website was designed for children 8-12 years old — especially girls — who research suggests often dismiss career options in STEM fields.
FableVision created a site that showcases the accomplishments of contemporary women scientists with games, interactive comic books, scrapbooks, and other resources.
The site draws from and accompanies the publication of a 10-volume series of biographies entitled Women’s Adventures in Science, co-published by Joseph Henry Press (an imprint of the National Academies Press) and Scholastic Library Publishing.
The games section of the website includes Robot Game, where the user makes a robot and then tests its reactions. The game is based on the research by Cynthia Breazeal, who created robots that mimic emotions and learn how to communicate.
The Robot Game is a great example of how FableVision incorporates curriculum content into a simple, clever design with a familiar gameplay mechanic.
Perhaps sites like this are important for all kids to have access to, not just girls aged 8-12. At FableVision we are cheering on teachers who are using technology to reach the little girl who claims "math is just too hard," to explore STEM and dream big.