“I know that I’m a better teacher now that we have Design Squad in our curriculum. It just opened their minds and opened their world to what learning is all about.”
-- Scott Kutz, teacher, Westlake High School, Westlake, Ohio
DESIGN SQUAD has exposed millions of middle school youth to hands-on engineering challenges through its Emmy and Peabody Award-Winnning PBS television show and its interactive website. In addition, it has reached more than 250,000 engineers, educators, children and families across the country through face-to-face training and events. Research shows that these programs strengthen students' grasp of engineering concepts while boosting their enthusiasm for engineering.
Designed to increase children's awareness and understanding of engineering, the television series follows two teams of teens as they design and build projects for real world clients. Its spin-off television series, DESIGN SQUAD NATION, showcases engineer co-hosts as they travel across the country, working side by side with teens to turn their dreams into reality through engineering. Online, DESIGN SQUAD provides children with a forum to brainstorm, submit project ideas, and respond to the ideas of others through sketches and prototypes. And offline, DESIGN SQUAD's 40 hands-on engineering activities enable children to exercise their own design skills, teaching them how to think like engineers.
There are many opportunities to help DESIGN SQUAD to expand its reach. With sufficient funds over the next three years, for example, DESIGN SQUAD could prepare 125 master trainers to prepare 4,500 youth leaders who in turn would reach more than 65,000 children with exciting, hands-on learning opportunities in engineering. The cost of this training could amount to roughly $1.3 million, or about $20 per child.Funders and Partners
Design Squad has formal partnerships with 90 engineering and education organizations. The project has forged strategic partnerships with seven of these organizations: Project Lead the Way, Girl Scouts of the USA, National Engineers Week Foundation, National Girls Collaborative Project, FIRST, International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, and Association of Science-Technology Centers.
Current funding for the project is as follows. Major funding is provided by the National Science Foundation. Project funding is provided by Northrop Grumman Foundation and S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Additional funding is provided by United Engineering Foundation (ASCE, ASME, AIChE, IEEE, AIME).
The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against CTEq's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.
Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.
Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.
Ensure work is sustainable.
Demonstrate replicability and scalability.
Create high impact partnerships
Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.
Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience
Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.
Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.
Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.