uc davis materials science engineering outreach k12 superheroes ricardo castro crowdfund

Support Engineering Superheroes Through UC Davis Crowdfund

Materials science and engineering professor Ricardo Castro has launched the Engineering Superheroes Initiative to engage kids in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through superheroes. Castro knows firsthand from his sons that kids are obsessed with superheroes and he thinks he can use that love to inspire them to pursue STEM.

The project is seeking support through UC Davis Crowdfund from now through February 28.

With Engineering Superheroes, Castro proposes a unique and fun series of professionally-produced educational videos that connect basic STEM concepts with superhero powers and technology like Captain America’s shield. His goal is to inspire kids to get interested in STEM by getting them excited about the possibilities of making these powers a reality.

With crowdfunding success in 2020, Castro and his team filmed a pilot episode this summer, which asks the question of "how can science make Captain America's shield real?" The video, which has been viewed more than 6,000 times, introduces the concept of composite materials, followed by a short activity to demonstrate.


The videos, as well as the corresponding lesson plans, are free to all educators and parents and will send supplies to schools along with the videos to get the activities going. Funding from this campaign will kickstart the series and support more episodes.

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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.

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