A Kids Cosmos

The power of storytelling in opening kids minds to STEM

Photo of Chris Good

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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?



[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe something you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research.

How might Storytelling help us grow our students appreciation of STEM, and how might STEM make those stories into real experiences?

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Photo of Erin Quinn

This also really reminds me of the Power of 10 video from Charles and Ray Eames: https://dschool.stanford.edu/groups/k12/wiki/faf1d/Powers_of_Ten.html

I love the idea of focusing on storytelling. Check out Day 4, from the dhometeam here: http://www.dhometeam.stanford.edu/arc-1/

Photo of Jessica Lura

As someone who participated in that day, one of the most useful "resources" was the book "Made to Stick" (http://heathbrothers.com/books/made-to-stick/) --great read.

Photo of Chris Good

we are kindred spirits!!!  Made to Stick is an awesome book! Did you know they had a followup called "Teaching that Sticks"? I've not read it. but it looks cool.

Photo of Chris Good

Whoa, there is sooo much good stuff at the dhometeam site. Thanks so much for that Link!

Photo of Erin Quinn

Right, Chris Good !?!?! I've borrowed so many great ideas from the dhometeam. 

Photo of Jessica Lura

No, I had no idea. Mind blown. Now I have to figure out how to make some time to read it ;)

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