|The wheels are difficult to detect because they are clear CDs.|
I spotted Design Squad’s Rubber Band Car via Facebook a few weeks back and suggested to my tween that it would be a good project. Because I keep a well-stocked makerspace*, The Maker Tween was able to send me to quickly find all the materials needed to build this car. But as usual, he didn’t wait for me** to take pictures of the process.
This post was lingering in the behind-the-screen “draft” section of the blog, but then I received a note from the Design Squad Nation folks about a website overhaul.
Holy shizzle, it’s awesome!
Engineering for Tweens
The tween-oriented site features project ideas, how-to videos, engineering contests, and so much more. Design Squad Nation ties engineering into just about every childhood interest in a way that’s fun, engaging and easy to digest in bite-size chunks. Those with longer attention spans can watch archived episodes of Design Squad. I might have spent almost an hour checking it out.
Hoping to build a sense of community, the revamped site provides opportunities for kids to share designs and ideas, and submit questions to engineer-hosts Nate Ball and Deysi Melgar who respond in short videos.
Kids can also “join” Design Squad Nation for free and earn points by contributing to the community by sharing ideas, sketches, and photos of the projects they do or envision. They can also track their creative contributions via their profile page.
As members share their ideas, they are also encouraged to cheer on their peers, creating a supportive environment of dreamers and do-ers.
In addition to the vast number of low-cost tween and family-friend projects in quick engineering lessons, I appreciate the site’s multicultural approach and lack of advertising (go PBS!).
Click to find a weekend project and let me know how it goes!
*It seems there is a fine line between a maker and a hoarder. Perhaps making only justifies feeds my packrat tendencies.
**I’m not kidding when I say that every teacher he’s had since preschool has advised us to make the boy slow down.