Curiosity Machine: a STEM Learning Community formed by scientists, engineers and underserved children and their parents
NSF Award #: 1238676
Iridescent mission is to prepare the world’s most needy children to develop critical thinking, problem solving skills, so that they have the tools to form the problem solving teams of the future. The organization has significant expertise in engaging and positively impacting underserved communities, having worked in one of the most disadvantaged urban regions in the nation: South Los Angeles.
After years of program implementation and evaluation, including a 5 year longitudinal study funded by NSF, Iridescent developed, implemented and tested a model that responds to the need of open ended, project based learning to foster the development of 21st century problem-solving skills.
These are skills that – just as expertise in arts and athletics – require thousands of hours of practice. Low-income communities need even more support and long-term access to knowledge, social capital and resources. Most important, Iridescent believes that parents learning alongside their children in their formative years translates into long-term academic and career success.
Through Iridescent STEM education model, families are inspired and equipped to create their own inventions with the support of trained and qualified mentors. By working through the Engineering Design Process while building engineering design challenges that require low cost, easy to find materials, children develop curiosity to understand how the world around us works, creativity to try new ideas that solve complex problems, persistence to keep improving.
The tools, curriculum and access to mentors are now free for schools and families not only in South Los Angeles – where the program started – but also across the country.