Celebrating Earth Day with Plum & Peep!

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WGBH’s Education and Digital departments teamed up for a fun-filled afternoon leading family STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities at last weekend’s Cambridge Science Festival. Education Project Director Jenny Cutraro, Digital Production Coordinator Louise Flannery, Digital Designer Stefan Mallette, and Digital intern Urooj Jaffer produced and led PLUM LANDING’s Pin the Moose on the Mountain activity (pictured), for which children drew and pinned diverse animals to a large mountain ecosystem. PEEP AND THE BIG WIDE WORLD’s Senior Project Manager for Education, Gay Mohrbacher, debuted what proved to be an irresistible “water wall”—where pathways of recycled plastic containers allowed children to explore the gravitational flow of water. “It was great to reach out to so many of our neighbors—parents and children who love the work of WGBH Kids!” says Louise. About 150 younger children visited our booth for the hands-on fun. “The Festival showcases both fun and leading-edge science for the public,” notes Gay. “It makes STEM accessible and interactive, and highlights the impact of science in everyone’s life.”

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WGBH @ The White House

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The White House, in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services and Invest in US, will host an event today (4/21/16) to highlight the importance of promoting active science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning for our youngest children and to celebrate a broad range of public- and private-sector leaders committed to promoting STEM learning across the country.

The White House received over 200 submissions of innovative STEM work from leaders across the country, representing state and local entities, foundations, non-profits, media organizations, technology companies, research institutions, and museums. Collectively, the commitments of these leaders have the potential to bring new active STEM content for our youngest children to millions of households across the nation.

WGBH is well-represented in these current initiatives as part of Ready to Learn and also independently, including (quoting from the White House press release):

  • New Research on the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready to Learn Program: This month, grantees from ED’s Ready to Learn program will be featured in reports that share findings and lessons learned about utilizing television and digital media to support math learning for young children. The reports include six papers by grantees and evaluators that will appear in a special section of an issue of The Journal of Children and Media, and a new report entitled “The Ready to Learn Program: 2010–2015 Policy Brief” released by the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University.
  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and local PBS stations will increase the availability of STEM learning tools for young children through content and community engagement. By 2020, a series of new, engaging, and evidence-based media experiences across multiple platforms will be available for free to aid families and educators in helping children develop early STEM skills. These will include resources ranging from new episodes of STEM television programs, to parent apps and classroom-ready, curriculum-aligned STEM resources that supplement instruction in preschool through third grade classrooms. CPB and PBS will also support a network of 30 STEM-focused community collaboratives that will elevate early STEM learning across the country, enhance community-wide efforts to engage underserved children, and help formal and informal caregivers become more confident and competent in supporting their children’s STEM learning.
  • WGBH Boston will produce additional apps and hands-on activities for parents and their preschool children, targeted to early math, science and computational learning, as well as work with parents and Head Start teachers through a series of hackathons to determine how to effectively build the home-school connection around STEM learning.

Behavioral Change & Traffic Safety

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Hosted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Bill presented Ruff’s distracted driving project at an event looking at innovation in road safety. The project’s 3 million+ video views and unusual approach seemed to resonate with many of the attendees – national, state and local folks in law enforcement, transport and public health.

Bill then also joined a lively panel with researchers, psychologists, a judge, doctors and public health specialists to dig into the challenges of reducing road deaths (currently 32,000 per year in the US, and rising).

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This comes on a day that NHTSA has also made steps towards driverless cars.

 

Ruff Goes to Hartford

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Ruff’s new Distracted Driving program got its official launch in Hartford with a museum event that included kids, federal and state safety officials, WGBHers, and kids playing games and taking a safe driving pledge. And Ruff was there too.

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“We understand that the proliferation of mobile devices means that this will be a difficult habit for people to break, which is why we are advocating for our best, and most vocal allies — our children — to speak up,” says Connecticut DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker.

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“Connecticut has been a national leader in the field of distracted driving prevention. This partnership with WGBH represents our state’s continued commitment to finding innovative ways to connect with the public and educate them that this behavior presents a real danger to them and their families. The integration of the popular character Ruff Ruffman represents another way to change behavior by encouraging non-driving age children to tell their parents not to text and drive. This is a terrific complement to our existing distracted driving programming.”

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