Our mission is to use science, technology and engineering to develop persistent curiosity and to show that knowledge is empowering.
Since 2007, Iridescent has directly served over 16,000 participants, increasing curiosity, persistence and science knowledge in children, youth and parents. Additionally, we have trained over 400 volunteer professional engineers, undergraduates, and graduate students that have donated 15,348 hours of their time.
Iridescent programs serving children, families, high school girls, and engineering students have been evaluated by the EDC Center for Children and Technology. Impact has been measured through surveys, interviews and observations.
Impact on Children
Elementary school children attend five-week family science courses at their schools that are taught by engineering students. Of the children that participated in our family science courses:
75% are more interested in science at school.
65% of children do more science related activities with their parents
75% of children have a better understanding of science and engineering
Impact on Parents
The family science courses engage parents and encourage them to participate in learning and building with their children. Evaluators found that our program has impacted parents in the following ways:
78% of parents reported that they understand science and engineering better and 67% said they were more confident talking about science and engineering topics with others.
Parents report being more confident because their children see them as people who know things, who can build things and who can solve problems.
After attending family science courses, more science related activities are going on at participating families homes. Activities include building things, playing with science kits, watching science programs, and going to museums and zoos. A majority of parents (90%) also say they plan to read more science books with their children.
Impact on High School Girls
Over the past three years more than 800 high school girls have programmed 163 mobile phone apps and learned to launch a startup company by participating in our Technovation Challenge program.
The percentage of girls that reported learning about what computer scientists do increased from 28% to 55% in pre- and post-surveys in 2012 whereas the percentage of girls that reported an understanding of the design process that engineers use to create products increased from 18% to 63%.
The undergraduate engineering students that took our Engineers as Teachers course reported a number of positive outcomes from their experience in the semester- long course. Students reported that they learned practical skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, public speaking, and collaboration skills that they didn’t necessarily learn in other classes.
Because they were communicating with an audience with little engineering background, the students learned how to simplify their language and break down complex content into simpler concepts.
Instead of building to create a set of results, which they often do in their other classes, the engineering students felt the training helped them understand that there can be many solutions to one problem.
Students were “inspired” by the multiple and varied designs of the children in the Family Science class; it reminded them that there is rarely just one right answer to a problem.
Seeing the children’s excitement and fascination with building and designing reminded some of the students why they became engineers in the first place. It reminded them of the fundamental enjoyment of creating things and taking them apart.