In 2007, PBS launched Design Squad, a show that has no-doubt launched many an engineering career. The reality TV series, geared to spark an interest in engineering among middle and high school students, pitted two teams of high school students against each other. The teams competed to design and build an engineering project for actual clients.
An accompanying Design Squad website provides a safe place for kids ages 8–13 to share engineering ideas and activities and inspire them to explore engineering.
On February 24, PBS Kids is taking the initiative global. The Design Squad Global website connects kids in the U.S. with peers around the world, “challenging them to solve global engineering problems and expanding their cross-cultural understanding.”
The website offers some fun videos designed to dispel stereotypes and show kids how fun engineering can be. It gives kids a place to share ideas and designs, instructions for building DIY projects, and games like a flood prevention simulation. Kids can also sign up to take on such global challenges as inventing a way to conserve water.
This fall, Design Squad Global Clubs will launch with the goal of connecting 8–13-year-olds across out-of-school programs around the world. The Clubs will be led by an engineer or educator, who will guide kids working together on engineering projects targeted at meeting needs in their local communities.
Prachi Patel is a freelance journalist based in Pittsburgh. She writes about energy, biotechnology, materials science, nanotechnology, and computing.