Want to Raise a Smart, Young Scientist? Try This
Amazon introduces a monthly STEM toy subscription box aimed at kids – because we're all born curious.
Amazon has unveiled a STEM Club subscription plan, that delivers educational toys for $19.99 each month. The program takes a learn-through-play approach, like many STEM programs for kids. It’s a growing product, especially since the future is moving more towards science, technology, engineering, and math-related jobs.
These are the fields of the future as factory and labor jobs move towards automation. For many looking to the future, this is an investment for our economy. But not much is needed to light the spark of curiosity of a child.
“If you’re a child, you are curious about your environment,” Neil deGrasse Tyson told us. “You put things in their midst that help them explore. Why don’t you get a pair of binoculars, just leave it there one day? Watch ‘em pick it up. And watch ‘em look around. They’ll do all kinds of things with it.”
Not much is needed to fuel a kid’s imagination. Encouragement is the primary weapon in a parent’s arsenal. In order to help an inquisitive mind grow, it’s always good to throw in some new gear. Amazon’s STEM Club is a smart business move, monetizing on a growing market and idea.
What’s more, their toys are marketed towards boys and girls.
Many toys for girls are "pinkwashed" as this Barbie typewriter shows, simplifying play rather than encouraging young girls to explore mechanics and work through problems. For too long the toy market has been built on the assumption of a gendered play pattern, says Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of Goldieblox.
When she first went to the New York Toy Fair with a prototype for Goldieblox, industry veterans thought her mission was a “noble cause,” but ultimately it wouldn’t sell. So, she turned to crowdfunding to let the consumers vote with their dollars. The response was overwhelming, and her pitch video went viral. The people wanted this product. By the end of the campaign, Sterling had a million dollars before making a single unit.
Toy makers, much like the STEM industry itself, have been under this assumption that women don’t fit into inquisitive or constructive play styles, or these industry roles. This assumption was created by marketing, constrained by the design of gendered toy aisles. These distinctions are beginning to become blurred with the rise of internet marketspaces. Amazon, for instance, doesn’t make the distinction “For Boys” or “For Girls” in its toy section. Toys "R" Us, first a brick-and-mortar toy seller, allows online shoppers to filter products by gender if they choose, but the toy company does not use gendered categories to its organize in-store offerings.
Editor's note: A prior version of this article failed to distinguish between how Toys "R" Us organizes its toys online versus in-store.
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?
Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways.
The inequalities impact everything from education to health.
Astrophysicist Michelle Thaller talks ISS and why NICER is so important.
- Being outside of Earth's atmosphere while also being able to look down on the planet is both a challenge and a unique benefit for astronauts conducting important and innovative experiments aboard the International Space Station.
- NASA astrophysicist Michelle Thaller explains why one such project, known as NICER (Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer), is "one of the most amazing discoveries of the last year."
- Researchers used x-ray light data from NICER to map the surface of neutrons (the spinning remnants of dead stars 10-50 times the mass of our sun). Thaller explains how this data can be used to create a clock more accurate than any on Earth, as well as a GPS device that can be used anywhere in the galaxy.
Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.