The Curiosity Machine and Iridescent at NSLA

I wanted to share two exciting announcements.  First, earlier this summer, the Curiosity Machine was launched!  The Curiosity Machine is our new online learning platform that connects kids to cutting-edge scientists and their research.

The website has several elements. We have partnered with scientists to create videos about their research.  We then develop do-at-home, inquiry-based activities for kids based on the scientist’s research.  Kids can do the activities at home with their parents and share their projects online.  Engineers and scientists then review the kid’s submissions, awarding points and badges for creative and meaningful projects.

The website is currently in beta and new activities and videos are being added every week, so I encourage you to check it out.  We see this platform being useful for after-school, and especially for summer learning. That’s why I’ll be presenting the Curiosity Machine (as well as our Technovation program) at the National Summer Learning Association conference next month (

NSLA is a great organization, and I’m excited to be a part of the great conference they have planned this year.  I wanted to offer a few bullet points from their organization on why summer learning is so critical:

–          Summer offers the opportunity to create a blended approach of both academic learning and youth development activities to foster 21st century skills, including collaboration, innovation, creativity, and communication.
–          Summer is free from restrictions typically faced during the school year.
–          During the summer, an educator can go more in depth with outside-of-the-classroom teaching settings and offer youth work experiences.

–          Summer is a low-stakes environment that builds the confidence of girls and minorities.

–          Summer can be an easier time to access STEM-oriented staff, college and grad students.

Finally, if you are going to be in Pittsburgh for the NSLA conference on Oct 22-24, come check out our workshops!  We’ll play around with some of the fantastic activities on the Curiosity Machine, and we’ll also give you a flavor for the app designing and entrepreneurship that goes on in our Technovation program.
2 replies
  1. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I think an important thing to note is that summer learning is largely free of the regulations the typical school year is… and education is a silly thing to try to regulate, to me at least. Learning is too abstract to conform to a system.


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