This partnership between the University of Washington Bothell’s OpenSTEM Research, UW Seattle’s Institute for Science + Math Education, Pacific Science Center, Red Eagle Soaring and The Seattle Public Library has received a grant from the National Science Foundation for a three-year project called Backpacks for Science Learning. The project fosters opportunities for families to explore science and engineering together as they engage with robotics,
computer science, coding, and e-textiles (fabrics and clothing that integrate technology).
This partnership leverages the unique strengths of all involved – a university, science center library system and a Native American community organization – to bring engineering and robotics education to a broad range of communities.
Families will learn computing and robotics ideas at workshops at Pacific Science Center, Red Eagle Soaring and The Seattle Public Library, then continue their exploration at home by checking out backpacks full of projects. Families will “level up” to new challenges through a digital badge system, which will also encourage interaction among participants. This project will be a way for young people to explore STEM and, possibly, start to think of themselves as scientists or engineers.
Throughout the project, researchers at the University of Washington in Bothell and Seattle will examine the program’s impacts on family learning and identity development, especially among populations that are underrepresented in STEM fields. The project will also study the effect of this
multi-partner model of workshops and take-home STEM materials.