In support of the Every Kid in a Park initiative, this virtual STEM curriculum & mentoring program encourages kids to build engineering design challenges inspired by nature.
Iridescent, an education nonprofit with a mission to bring science and engineering to underserved children and their families, offers a free online STEM program full of hands-on projects meant to inspire kids to "imagine, invent, and engineer" both at home and at school. The organization's Curiosity Machine doesn't just present project ideas and instructions, but also aims to "deepen the learning experience" through a one-on-one mentoring and feedback system that connects kids and their families with trained scientist and engineers.
At the recent White House Science Fair, Iridescent announced that the organization aims to provide this unique STEM educational opportunity to all schools participating in President Obama's Every Kid in a Park initiative, which would make it the largest technology-based STEM mentoring project yet, reaching an estimated 4 million students across the US. To kick off the national program, Iridescent connects these two initiatives with a #FindYourChallenge campaign, which presents hands-on design challenges exploring core physics and engineering concepts found in nature.
"Nature is around us everywhere, even in dense, urban areas. But we rarely stop and wonder how these plants and animals function and thrive. For instance, we still do not know how tall trees convey water and nutrients to the very top. And this is just one example of the many questions that are still unanswered.
Two years ago we decided to create a series of design challenges that would help children, parents and educators worldwide to stop and appreciate the amazing Physics and Engineering behind common plants and animals such as squirrels, lizards, bees and pigeons." - Iridescent
The Curiosity Machine website offers a number of different STEM challenges for kids and their families to design, build, and improve upon, with the intention of helping students develop their curiosity, creativity, and persistence. In addition to the design challenge guides, this program also connects kids and their families with science and engineering mentors, who will offer one-on-one support at every step of the process, from designing to building to troubleshooting,
Find out more about this innovative virtual STEM curriculum and mentoring program at Curiosity Machine or Iridescent, and if you're a STEM professional or in school training to become one, consider signing up to be a mentor through the program.