Tumble explores the stories behind science discovery, starting with kids’ own questions. Often called “Radiolab for kids” by reviewers and listeners, the podcast inspires children to get curious and instill a love of science through storytelling. The show is hosted by Lindsay Patterson and Marshall Escamilla, a married team of a science journalist and a middle school music teacher, and produced with Sara Robberson Lentz, a science writer. Tumble is targeted for ages 6 – 12, but is made for all ages to learn something new in each show.
I saw a news item over the summer that stayed with me, and now that it’s getting colder here in England, just looking at sunflowers is warming. It turns out sunflowers are able to follow the sun because they grow ‘unevenly.’ During the day one side of the stem grows, and then during the night the other side grows. See the article from University of California Davis: https://nature.berkeley.edu/news/2016/08/sunflowers-move-clock
“The program connects children with upper-limb differences with professional engineers so that they can design and create their own custom-made prosthetics that do, well, whatever the kids want them to do.”
In the case of Jordan, that arm was a glitter cannon. Read more at Fast Company.
Over on Forbes, Kim Elsesser reports on a new effort by the White House to tackle gender stereo-typing in the media and in toys. She highlights that as long as the media and toys constantly tell girls to focus on their appearance first, their broader competence will suffer. Elsesser notes the difference between playing with Barbie and playing with Mr. Potato Head:
In one of my favorite studies, 4- to 7-year-old girls were randomly assigned to play with either a Barbie doll or a Potato Head toy for five minutes. It’s hard to believe such short exposure to any toy could have an impact on a child, but after playing with the assigned toy, the children were asked about their career aspirations. Playing with Barbie (for only five minutes!) actually limited the careers that these girls felt they could attain. Playing with the Potato Head had no such effect. So, toys and media are clearly important when it comes to career.
The study concludes that the Barbie, being fashion focused and sexualised, guides girls to focus on their appearance. Elesser comments, “Study after study shows that when women evaluate themselves based on their appearance there are negative consequences. Women who do this perceive themselves as less competent and even perform worse on objective tests.”
Here at Kids Future Press, where our new book features a mother who is an inventor and a daughter who is a great skateboarder, we feel that the stories children read can also contribute by portraying women and girls in STEM and other roles that don’t focus on a female appearance.