MSE Launches Engineering Superheroes Initiative for K-12 Education
Materials science and engineering professor Ricardo Castro is launching the Engineering Superheroes Initiative to engage kids in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through superheroes. Castro knows from his son Sammy that kids are obsessed with superhero movies and he thinks he can use that love to inspire them to pursue STEM.
Inspiring kids in STEM can be challenging, especially during remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Castro thinks parents and schools need help developing engaging and useful online educational tools. His solution is to connect basic STEM concepts with superhero powers and technology like Captain America’s shield to inspire kids to learn more.
Castro proposes creating a series of professionally-produced videos that introduce superhero powers and technology, such as Captain America’s shield and ask, “how can science make this happen?” By answering this question, the videos will explain basic STEM concepts followed by an activity to reinforce the concept and the connection between STEM and the world of superheroes kids know and love.
He plans to make the video and activity series free to all educators and parents and will send supplies to schools along with the videos to get the activities going.
Castro is an avid superhero fan and has been teaching the “Materials Marvels: Science of Superheroes” (EMS 2) course on campus since 2016, which introduces undergraduates to materials science and engineering concepts through superhero technology. The Engineering Superheroes Initiative is an extension of this same type of work for a new audience.
“Let’s bring together the fantastic world of superheroes with a cool STEM activity with key concepts that will get students to enjoy math and science and inspire them to dig deeper and learn more by themselves,” he said.
The Engineering Superheroes Initiative has already raised $1,375 out of its $14,700 goal and will continue crowdfunding until 11:59 p.m. PST on October 31.