General Electric released a video about Molly, a kid who never stopped inventing. Here’s why this type of visibility is so important for the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) movement and to the kids of today.
Molly is an average kid with problems we can all relate to. For example, who enjoys taking out the garbage in the rain or cold, or secretly wishes making the bed was a snap? In General Electric’s video, our protagonist Molly tackles her trials of daily life with creative inventions, like a machine that makes her bed with the turn of a button — and even a hands-free method of mowing the lawn.
As you probably know by now, when kids work on projects at school or you’re trying to get them to do their homework, telling them “this is good for your future” does not seem to resonate. In fact, that statement is usually accompanied with a blank stare and slow blinking.
So how do we engage kids in STEM/STEAM and help them gain skills for the future? Give students projects that mean something to them — help them tackle problems that are relevant right now, or gamify the experience. Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos’ first foray into making was creating a sibling alarm as a child. Elon Musk learned how to code after he realized the only way he was going to play the games he wanted to play was by creating them. That’s why technology kits like the littleBits Droid Inventor Kit are so important in the development of smart kids: they help kids gain STEM/STEAM skills, and important life skills like tenacity and grit when faced with a challenge (like creating a Droid and using it to defend your room from your siblings!).
What this video doesn’t show are all of Molly’s inventions previous prototypes — did she have to adjust the slack on her garbage line a few times? Maybe she had to fix her calculations on her stringed-up lawnmower? The process of invention never truly ends. littleBits Founder and CEO Ayah Bdeir went through over 15 prototypes of littleBits before selling her first kit at NYC’s Maker Faire in 2011 — and today’s Bits are even further iterations and improvements since then! (She won’t tell us what number we’re up to now.)
We can always iterate and improve our creations, and kids should be comfortable taking on a challenge that takes a few tries, or creating an invention that solves a problem in their life.
education marketing coordinator