I am just barely old enough to remember the original 1980 PBS television series Cosmos:A Personal Journey. I don't remember much from that time, other than the image of Carl Sagan, and how much in awe I was of the stories he told. My interest in science likely began there - in the living room of my parent's first apartment.
In 2014 when I learned that Cosmos would re-envisioned, and this time hosted by a personal hero, Neil deGrasse Tyson, I knew that I needed to share that experience with my own children. Convincing them to put away their video games, mobile devices, and You Tube videos to watch an hour long show about science wasn't easy. But something special within the program captured their often scattered attention spans.
Maybe it was the svelte voice of Mr. deGrasse Tyson, or the beautiful animation style, or the dramatic storytelling. Or maybe it was simply the power and wonder of the universe - but my kids instantly fell in love with the program. Much the same way I had thirty years earlier. It was amazing to see their perception of the world, and the universe, become infinitely larger.
Thinking about my family's experience with Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and the impact it had on us made me wonder about the power of storytelling in promoting STEM.
It also made me wonder about the "cosmos" of my own kids lives. The tiny sphere of influence they each live within. A sphere not much larger than the distance they can see with their own eyes or touch with their own hands.
Might storytelling help us grow that sphere?
Might STEM be the tool to make those stories tangible and turn them into real experiences?