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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

STEM for Kids on Netflix

Anyone who has followed any topics in education lately knows what a big deal STEM fields in education are. Surprisingly enough, there are shows on Netflix which can be viewed with a digital streaming device that fit into some of these categories.

1. Curious George- Category STEM. This inquisitive monkey apparently doesn't just get into trouble anymore, in this show (which originated on PBS) he also investigates scientific topics such as magnetism, basic math topics, and even some of the thinking behind engineering (which he uses to design a bridge from playing cards and marshmallows and a few other odd items). One of the best shows on streaming to get a child interested in STEM fields. One of the side effects that may have to be tolerated, however, is monkey-talk.

2. All About... Construction, Trucks, Helicopters, or Airplanes- Category Engineering. These informative kids shows teach about some of the technical details of the large mechanical vehicles which contribute to the modern lifestyle. To me, building interest in technical topics like these help to shape an future interest in engineering.

3. Sesame Street-Category Mathematics. A good source for all the fundamentals, which includes math. Nobody can make math fun like Sesame Street.

4. The Adventures of Chuck and Friends- Category Technology and Engineering. These enthusiastic trucks are always building something.

5. Shaun the Sheep- Category Technology and Engineering. This sheep is rarely up to any good, but he does build all kinds of devices and makes it fun and interesting the whole time. This is basically a spin off of Nick Park's "A Close Shave", which is a Wallace and Gromit adventure in which Shaun the Sheep makes his first appearance

6. Wallace and Gromit Amazing Adventures- Category Technology and Engineering. These movies are essentially about engineering, and may be over the heads of many children, but my 3 year old seems to enjoy them.

7. Adventures of Jimmy Neutron- Category STEM. Although it makes science fun, genius Jimmy and his unrealistic devices may also make science seem unapproachable in real terms.

8. Beakman's World- Category Science. Weird, wacky and scientific. I think that this show may be targeting an audience of  7 year old to 10 year old kids. This hasn't become a favorite for our kids yet.

9. Explorers- Category Science, Technology and Engineering. This was a favorite movie for me during my childhood. The spaceship built from scrap is very inspirational to technology and engineering inspired children.

10. Phineas and Ferb- Category Science, Technology and Engineering. These kids build everything, and just for the fun of it. Every plot is crazy, with a zany villain, a superspy platypus, and a sister that really goes all out to bust her technology crazed brothers. But at least they use blueprints to build their masterworks of technology and engineering. Got to use a blueprint, okay.

And many others... The LeapFrog programs are also available and there are a few for Math in particular (Numberland, Lets go to school, etc.). Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue features songs about technology and the internet, not too bad for a toaster. Bob the Builder is interesting for kids and lets them think about using tools, and plans, etc.

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