Ever on the lookout for STEM resources, I came across these neat flicks from AmazonVideo recently.
Although I’m a big fan of Amazon already, and may or may not have bought, um, more than “my share” of stuff from them, I’ve only recently delved into their streaming service. Our family has been with a competitor of their video streaming for years, but a series of recent changes has caused me to look elsewhere for viewing resources (we’re one of the few families left in the universe that doesn’t have cable. By choice.)
Anyway…so I was looking through their shows recently (while I enjoyed some delicious downtime this holiday season) and was pleasantly surprised to find two series to explore with my tween-aged daughter, and her “Hey, whatcha watching? Can I join you?” brothers.
In that ever-present spirit of sharing with you, of course, I wanted to tell you about them!
What I appreciate about both of these series is their appeal to the STEM crowd.
STEM, in case you’re not familiar with the term, stands for Science-Technology-Engineering-Math. These are subjects and topics that are related to each other and enjoying a current burst in popularity. Sadly, U.S. students fall behind in each of them, and in addition, they are still subjects that few girls pursue and career tracks pursued by even fewer women. This piece, from NPR’s “All Tech Considered” series, is a very interesting discussion of possible reasons behind that issue. Of course, the current trend in popularity has birthed many initiatives to up those numbers, but we still have a way to go…
When I discovered that my sweet youngest child was interested in those areas, I knew I needed to jump on the bandwagon. And so the journey began…
I just want to point out here that you can watch both of these series for free if you’re an Amazon Prime member; you can also take the service for a free 30-day test run if you’re on the fence about it. AND if you have a college student in the house (this includes high school students enrolled in at least one college class), they can sign up for a SIX-month free trial of PrimeStudent, which afterward rolls into a regular Prime account at 50% off!
Amazon’s description of the series:
Eleven-year-old genius and kid-scientist Anne has invented and built her own amazing androids. Nick discovers Anne’s secret junkyard laboratory and enlists the help of Shania to befriend Anne and her mechanical companions. Together they help solve Anne’s scientific problems through real-life solutions.
2 seasons available
A light-hearted approach to science and technology, showing how STEM thought processes work in real life/practical applications. This isn’t for serious college students, but hey, if they’re already interested in and studying STEM subjects at that level, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion, right? What is uber-cool to this homeschool teacher/mom is that there is a downloadable 9-page Educational Synopsis PDF that gives an overview of the educational value of the show and outlines the STEM processes covered in each of the episodes in Seasons 1 and 2. It’s a very useful teaching resource even if you don’t watch the show!
Visit their website where you can learn a little about the cast and read a synopsis of the series.
Amazon’s description of the series:
From PBS – In the first season of SciGirls, the girls, with the help of scientist mentors, design their own inquiry-based investigations on a huge variety of topics, from the environment to technology and from engineering to nutrition.
3 seasons available
I. LOVE. THIS. SERIES! Sorry to yell, but seriously, I was hooked at the very first episode I watched (Mother Nature’s Shoes, season 2). OK, not right away, tho, because each episode starts with a short animated skit, and I thought it might be a little too cutesy. BUT I stuck with it, and I am SO glad I did because my interest and the educational value just exploded! Three teenaged best friends discovered a problem, did some serious research and development, came up with some solutions to test, hosted a prototype debut party (yes they did!) and…well, just watch it. Seriously, you’re gonna want to watch this with your daughter! As opposed to “reality TV”, this series shows how the girls discover a real-life problem and then follows them through the actual processes they use to come to a solution. (And science teachers will love it!)
OK, so those are two to get you started. If you’re familiar with Amazon and know of any other STEM-related videos, please share them in the comments below. And let me know your thoughts if you give either of these shows a try!
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