Recently, a little bird – well, maybe a Big Bird – told us that the STEM movement is spreading and reaching out to the pre-K crowd! Sesame Street has just launched on an Online STEM toolkit for students, parents and educators. They hope this digital destination will help the term “STEM” become as equally well known to their audience as another popular four letter Sesame term, “ELMO.”
The Sesame Workshop has always focused on encouraging the “scientist” characteristics in children and this new online hub, Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math and More will continue that mission. When parents and students visit the site they are encouraged to investigate various topics of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math:
Sink or Float
Force and Motion
Properties of Matter
Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of Outreach and Educational Practices at Sesame Workshop shared the vision for the site which is intended to be an online space children and parents can visit together. Already, they are receiving positive feedback from the initial parent users of the site. It is taking the “scariness” out of the whole STEM concept for parents by showing that “everyday activities can be science, technology, engineering, and math moments.” Also, parents who were worried that the STEM concepts might too hard for children this age are finding the opposite is true. There are videos, games and hands on activities that make it easy for the young learners soak up vocabulary and concepts.
The site was created with 3-5 year olds in mind, basically the age Sesame considers the “sweet spot” because their characters and content are developed to connect with that audience. But, the site can also work as a supplementary resource for kindergarten or early elementary teachers. The activities modeled on the site help support educators as they work to fit inquiry based thinking into their classrooms.
Little Discoverers is a website that is formatted to also work on any smart mobile device so it can truly be taken “on the go” allowing for parents to share STEM content with their children anytime and anywhere. These experiences do not have to be limited to time spent sitting in front of a desktop computer.
Little Discoverers would not have been possible without the sharing of the belief in the importance of introducing STEM to young learners and the generous support from CA Technologies, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation.