Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math and More

To make the most of early childhood experiences around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, has received major support from CA Technologies and generous support from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation, to create Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math and More.  The new digital destination features interactive Sesame Street games, engaging videos, and fun hands-on activities aimed to inspire young children, and the adults in their lives, to investigate and explore STEM concepts.

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press release

SESAME STREET MUPPETS DISCOVER THE FUN IN STEM: SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH!

Funding from CA Technologies, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation Supports New Digital Destination – Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math and More

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. New York, New York, September 24, 2013 – To make the most of early childhood experiences around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, has received major support from CA Technologies and generous support from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation, to create Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math and More.  The new digital destination features interactive Sesame Street games, engaging videos, and fun hands-on activities aimed to inspire young children, and the adults in their lives, to investigate and explore STEM concepts.

The objectives for Little Discoverers are as follows:

  • Engage and excite children in STEM learning through interactive Sesame Street games, videos and hands-on activities;
  • Provide educators with tools to help them integrate STEM concepts into their classrooms;
  • Give parents and caregivers resources to incorporate STEM concepts and language into their everyday moments with their children.

“Research shows that American students are consistently being outperformed in science and mathematics.[1] We need to engage children in STEM concepts early on to build the foundation necessary for success in school and beyond,” said Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, Senior Vice President of Curriculum and Content for Sesame Workshop. “In Little Discoverers: Big Fun With Science, Math and More our lovable Sesame Street Muppets help children and the adults in their lives explore STEM through multimedia and hands-on experiences.  With this early introduction to science, technology, engineering, and math, we aim to nurture children’s curiosity about the world around them and inspire a life-long love of STEM learning.”

“CA Technologies is proud to partner with Sesame Workshop to support and promote STEM learning,” said Erica Christensen, vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, CA Technologies. “With our $1 million pledge to Sesame Workshop to support the development of Little Discoverers, our goal is to help transform the lives of young people and encourage the development of future leaders in IT and all STEM fields.”

This destination encourages young children to explore six STEM topics:

  • Experiments
  • Sink or Float
  • Measurement
  • Force and Motion
  • Properties of Matter
  • Engineering

Little Discoverers provides engaging educational content for desktop and mobile devices:

  • Interactive games that provide children with opportunities to explore STEM concepts;
  • Sesame Street video segments to build background knowledge and excite children about STEM;
  • Educator materials with hands-on activity ideas that easily supplement existing curricula and programs;
  • Parent materials that offer ideas for families to explore STEM during everyday moments.

Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math and More, will promote interactive STEM learning and the importance of STEM education in early childhood through project distribution among the following three crucial groups: early-childhood educators, national organizations that promote and focus on STEM education, and community organizations reaching children and their caregivers.

About CA Technologies: CA Technologies (NASDAQ: CA) provides IT management solutions that help customers manage and secure complex IT environments to support agile business services.  Organizations leverage CA Technologies software and SaaS solutions to accelerate innovation, transform infrastructure and secure data and identities, from the data center to the cloud. Learn more about CA Technologies at www.ca.com.

About CA Together: CA Technologies is a global corporation with a local commitment. The company works to improve the quality of life in communities where its employees live and work worldwide and is fully committed to advancing social, environmental and economic sustainability. CA Together, the company’s  Corporate Social Responsibility program, is driven by the core philanthropic focus of improving the lives of underserved children and communities around the world. CA Technologies does this by supporting organizations, programs and initiatives that enrich the lives and well-being of others with a primary focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. CA Together activities encompass employee volunteerism and matching gifts; in-kind donations of CA Technologies products and services; and wide-ranging partnerships and philanthropic support to community organizations worldwide.

About the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation: The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation focuses its investments in two primary program areas, Education and the Environment, working with grantee organizations impacting California.  Engaging STEM education is an area of primary importance.

About the Heising-Simons Foundation:  Established in 2007, the Heising-Simons Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to sustainable, research-based solutions in education, science, environment, and policy. The Foundation’s education grantmaking aims to prepare children (ages birth through 8 years) for educational success, and has three primary areas of emphasis: (1) Promoting the development of math skills and interest in math in young children; (2) easing children’s transition into kindergarten; and (3) engaging families in young children’s learning and schooling.

About Sesame Workshop: Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the landmark television program that reaches millions of children every day in more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential. Delivered through a variety of platforms, Sesame Workshop develops research-based content – including television programs, books, games, mobile apps and community engagement initiatives – that supports early childhood learning, helps prepare children for school, and addresses developmental needs. The Workshop’s programs are tailored to the needs of specific regions and focus on topics that help young children and families develop critical skills for lifelong learning. For more information, visit us at www.sesameworkshop.org.

To access and share project assets, visit:

http://www.sesameworkshop.org/press-room/stem

Visit Sesame Street at:

www.sesamestreet.org
www.facebook.com/SesameStreetInCommunities
Sesame Street on Facebook
Sesame Street on Twitter
The Sesame Street YouTube Channel

PRESS CONTACTS: 

Pam Hacker
Sesame Workshop
212.875.6225
pam.hacker@sesameworkshop.org
http://www.sesameworkshop.org/press-room/stem

Kelley Schultz
CA Technologies
646.826.6035
Kelley.Schultz@ca.com
www.ca.com

1. For example, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
Download Press Release
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project overview

THE PROJECT

Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math, and More, is a digital destination with interactive Sesame Street games, engaging videos, and fun, hands-on activities aimed to inspire young children ages 3–5 and the adults in their lives to incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts and skills into everyday moments. These multimedia experiences, featuring the lovable Sesame Street Muppets, encourage children to investigate and discover as they learn about six STEM topics:

  • Experiments
  • Sink or Float
  • Measurement
  • Properties of Matter
  • Force and Motion
  • Engineering

THE NEED

There is a pressing need to improve STEM education in the United States. High-quality STEM educational experiences not only prepare students to enter science, technology, engineering, and math-related fields, but also foster critical thinking and problem solving skills that are essential for academic success, and are identified as requisite “21st-century skills” necessary in a global marketplace.1 However, international assessments show that American children are consistently outperformed in science and mathematics,2 and achievement gaps persist within the U.S., often beginning before kindergarten.3 A growing body of evidence suggests that the early childhood years represent a critical window of opportunity to introduce STEM concepts and prepare children for success in school and beyond.4,5 Additionally, numerous studies show that preschool-aged children are capable of learning about and experimenting with complex scientific principles.6

To capitalize on early childhood opportunities in STEM, educators and parents need to be empowered to effectively engage preschoolers with STEM concepts.7

PROJECT GOALS

Sesame Street Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math, and More is designed to:

  • Engage children in STEM learning through interactive Sesame Street games, videos, and hands on activities
  • Provide educators with tools to help them integrate STEM into their classrooms
  • Give parents and caregivers resources to incorporate STEM concepts and language into everyday moments with their children

PROJECT COMPONENTS

Little Discoverers features engaging educational content that adapts to desktop and mobile devices, including:

  • Interactive games that provide children with opportunities to explore STEM concepts
  • Sesame Street video segments to provide background knowledge and excite children about STEM
  • Educator materials with hands-on activity ideas that easily supplement existing curricula and programs
  • Parent and caregiver materials that offer ideas for families to explore STEM during everyday moments

CONTENT DEVELOPMENT AND RESEARCH

The STEM materials were created using Sesame Workshop’s research model, which includes review with experts from the field, formative focus groups, and usability and appeal testing during development. After the project launch, an independent summative study will be conducted to investigate the educational impact on preschool children in classrooms.

IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math, and More, will work with partners in three organization groups: early childhood, STEM learning and community/parenting organizations to integrate the resources into their existing programs and/or help them create new connections.

PROJECT SUPPORTERS

Major support provided by CA Technologies. Generous support provided by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation.

To discover Sesame Street resources on STEM, explore:

1 Partnership for 21st-Century Skills. (2009). Framework for 21st-Century Learning.
2 US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS), 2007; Provasnik, S., Gonzales, P., and Miller, D., 2009. 3 National Science Board., 2010.
4 Aunola et al., 2004; Jordan et al., 2007; Jordan et al., 2009; Krajewski & Schneider, 2009; Romano et al., 2010.
5 Sackes et al., 2010; French, 2004; French et al., 2000.
6 Anderson & Nesholm, 2010; Bers et al., 2002; Demetra et al., 2010; Forman, 2010; Hadzigeorgiou, 2002; Mizraie, Hamidi, & Anaraki, 2009; Van Meeteren & Zan, 2010.
7 Wheelock College Aspire Institute, 2010.

Download Project Overview

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tip sheet

STEM STANDS FOR SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH

Hello Families! You can encourage your child’s natural curiosity about the world around him by exploring STEM together. Sesame Street has created Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math, and More to help children develop STEM knowledge and skills, important building blocks for future learning. Try these simple activity ideas throughout your day and turn everyday moments into extraordinary investigations!

EXPERIMENT

An experiment is a test that is set up to answer a question.

Try it! Use these phrases, which foster the kind of thinking used in experiments: “I wonder if the size of a ball will make a difference in how far you can throw it?” “I think smaller balls will go farther, because they’re lighter.”

SINK OR FLOAT

Something that floats stays on top of the water. Something that sinks goes below the top of the water.

Try it! While washing a lemon and a lime in the sink, test it to see if they float. Will one float and the other sink? What about other fruit, like a banana or an apple?

MEASUREMENT

We measure things to see how big or heavy they are, and we can use lots of different things to measure.

Try it! Use measurement words frequently in everyday conversation, such as “Let’s measure how tall you are.” or “Let’s see which toy is the heaviest.” Give a high five anytime a family member uses a measurement word!

MATTER

Matter is everything around us. Properties are how something looks, feels, sounds, smells, or tastes.

Try it! Collect a variety of safe household objects and place them in a pillowcase. Have your child close his eyes, pull out an object, and describe as many of its properties as he can using his sense of touch. Suggest that he use his senses. Ask, “Is the object rough or smooth? Hard or soft? Heavy or light? Big or small?”

FORCE

A force is a push or a pull that makes something move. Motion is how something moves. Try it! Try counting the number of things that you pull or push in a day (pushing a grocery cart, pulling a wagon, pushing the door closed). You’ll notice forces are everywhere!

ENGINEERING

Engineering is the process of planning and building something to solve a problem.

Try it! Help set up a problem to solve by asking, “How can we build a fort we can crawl inside?” Encourage your child to first design the fort on paper, and then build it using couch cushions and blankets.

To discover more Sesame Street resources on STEM, explore:

Download Tip Sheet

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advisors

Kathleen Conezio has over 30 years of experience as an early childhood educator and has served as the director of curriculum and professional development for two major U.S. Dept. of Education grants, as well as an NSF grant through the Warner Graduate School of Education at the University of Rochester.  She served as the primary science consultant for Sesame Workshop productions in 2009, as well as for the Workshop’s NSF-funded “One World, One Sky” initiative and Sesame Street’s Chinese co-production.  Ms. Conezio is a former adjunct professor at the Warner Graduate School of Education and has courses in early childhood education and supervised student teachers. She was also a science mentor for a NOYCE grant to develop teacher leaders in science education.  She is one of the main authors of the ScienceStart! and LiteraSci early childhood science curriculum.   Recently, she has developed science curriculum for grades K-2 that is aligned with the new Next Generation Science Standards.  She is currently the Coordinator for the St. Louis Preschool Program in Pittsford, N.Y.

 

Mary Kirchhoff, Ph.D is Director of the American Chemical Society Education Division, which serves learners and educators by building communities and providing effective chemistry education products, services, and information.  She received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of New Hampshire and joined the Chemistry Department at Trinity College in Washington, DC, in 1992. Mary served as Chair of the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics during her tenure at Trinity.  She began working in green chemistry as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Environmental Fellow and Visiting Scientist with the U.S. EPA’s green chemistry program.  Mary joined the American Chemical Society in 2001, serving as Assistant Director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute for three years before moving to the Education Division.  Mary was elected an AAAS Fellow in 2006.

 

Yolanda Garcia, Ph.D aims to improve the quality of early education by supporting professional development for early educators. Garcia is the Director of WestEd’s E3 Institute—Excellence in Early Education, a project of the Center for Child & Family Studies. She led the development of the California Department of Education’s Early Childhood Educator Competencies, addressing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to support the development of children. She previously directed the Children’s Services Department, Santa Clara County Office of Education. She also served as a Ford Fellow with the U.S. Department Health and Human Services and as Senior Program Officer at the Charles Mott Foundation. Garcia coauthored 5 Years of Learning: A Report on the First Five Years of Santa Clara CARES 2002–2006, Power of Preschool in Santa Clara County: Making the First Five Years Count, and Great Expectations: Bachelor’s Degree Cohort Program for CARES Participants in Santa Clara County. Garcia was elected to the National Association for the Education of Young Children Board (2008-11) and has served on the:

  • Committee on Early Childhood Care and Education Workforce Board
  • National Academies Institute of Medicine
  • National Research Council’s Early Childhood Mathematics Committee, which published Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity
  • Committee on the Integration of Sciences in Early Childhood Education, which published From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development

Garcia received an MS from the University of Chicago, an MA from San Jose State University, and an EdD from the University of San Francisco.

 

Dr. Dorothy Justus Sluss, Ph.D is a professor of early childhood education at James Madison University. She has spent over thirty years in early childhood education in a variety of settings that range from the four-year-old to the college classroom. She has published over thirty articles in numerous journals such as Young Children,  Journal of Research in Childhood Education, Journal of Developmental Processes, and the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education. Her most recent book is Supporting Play: Curriculum, Environment, and Assessment which will be coming out this fall.   She is the past president of The Association for the Study of Play (TASP), current President of the International Play Association/USA, member of the US Toy Hall of Fame Selection Committee, and is a board member of the National Association for Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE). She was recently recognized with the Brian Sutton Smith award for lifetime achievements in play research and scholarship.

 

Sara B. Sweetman, Ph.D works as a STEM Inquiry Specialist for University of Rhode Island.  She has taught in the public schools both as a generalist and as a special educator.  Prior to classroom teaching, she worked in experiential education as an outdoor field teacher, aquarium educator, and Children’s Museum exhibit developer.  She has a B.S. and M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership with research interests in teacher development of inquiry practices.  As a lecturer for the School of Education at the University of Rhode Island, Sara uses innovative strategies to model for and develop 21st century teaching practices in pre-service teachers.  Sara also heads URI’s Guiding Education in Mathematics & Science-Network (GEMS-NET).  This project involves a partnership among eight Rhode Island school districts and over 40 URI scientists/engineers who serve as mentors to the elementary and middle school teachers.  She works with a team to ensure quality education in science content, inquiry and discovery methods for over 800 K-8 teachers.  Sara is also vetting a Preschool Science Book Series, Little Pirate from Innovative Kids Inc., and has given multiple international conference presentations through the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA).

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artwork
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videos
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funding partners

CA Technologies

CA Technologies provides IT management solutions that help customers manage and secure complex IT environments to support agile business services. Organizations leverage CA Technologies software and SaaS solutions to accelerate innovation, transform infrastructure and secure data and identities, from the data center to the cloud.

More About CA Technologies

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation focuses its investments in two primary program areas, Education and the Environment, working with grantee organizations impacting California. Engaging STEM education is an area of primary importance.

Heising-Simons Foundation

Established in 2007, the Heising-Simons Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to sustainable, research-based solutions in education, science, environment, and policy. Our Education grantmaking aims to prepare children (ages birth through 8 years) for educational success, and has three primary areas of emphasis: (1) Promoting the development of math skills and interest in math in young children; (2) easing children’s transition into kindergarten; and (3) enlisting parents and other family caregivers in support of their children’s learning.

More About the Heising-Simons Foundation
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partner resources

Mobile Games
Social Media & Project Language

Little Discoverers wants to support you, our partners, as you integrate these STEM resources into your existing programs or create new ones! Find the document below that best describes your organization, and click on the link to download a PDF filled with ideas to help you unleash the power of STEM with our Sesame friends.

Early Childhood Organizations
Family and Community Organizations
STEM Learning Organizations

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sesame workshop

Who we are

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street and so much more.

Our Mission

Sesame Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential.

How we do it

Our recipe for success is combining a curriculum that addresses children’s critical developmental needs with the sophisticated use of media and a large dose of fun.

A proven impact

Our work promotes learning with real, measurable results, a fact borne out by numerous studies and sustained through our research-intensive process.

Teaching the whole child

Beyond ABCs and 123s, our programs deliver crucial lessons about health, emotional well-being, and respect and understanding to help kids grow up healthy, happy, and at home in their world.

On a global scale

It began as a simple yet revolutionary idea in the United States: to teach kids through television. 40 years later, it’s grown into a worldwide educational phenomenon, reaching millions of children in more than 150 countries.

A local approach

Our international programs are tailored to the unique needs of children, their country, and culture, created with local educators, advisors, and puppeteers. This often results in a fully local Sesame Street with its own name, language, curriculum, and Muppets.

Beyond television

Since our start on TV, we’ve become a multimedia pioneer, using everything from radio, books, and videos to the latest in interactive media and technology, efforts that are enhanced through collaborations with our colleagues at the ground-breaking research and innovation lab, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

Targeted outreach

Through on-the-ground outreach efforts, we bring our lessons directly into the homes and classrooms of particularly vulnerable communities, where they have a dramatic impact in kids’ lives.

Collaborative successes

Generous support from like-minded partners — foundations, corporations, individuals, governments, and others — has been critical to our mission for more than four decades and continues to make new projects possible.

Download Sesame Workshop Overview

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contact and connect

STEM@sesame.org

Pam Hacker
Sesame Workshop
212.875.6225
pam.hacker@sesame.org

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