The Intel Corporation, the Intel Foundation, the National Science Foundation and others are underwriting "Design Squad," a live-action PBS series for 9-12 year-olds designed to get them excited about engineering.
The program's 13 episodes borrow from the world of reality television. Eight teens compete to design and build fantastic, whimsical and fully operational machines for real clients. The designs range from peanut butter and jelly sandwich-making machines to racecars.
Teams and team members are scored for their ability to think outside of the box and meet or surpass the demands of the challenge. Two twenty-something engineers (a male and a female) provide onsite guidance and occasional comic relief. Kids at home can interact with the series through a Web site, blogs and handheld devices.
In the final episode, the top two scorers will battle for a grand prize—a $10,000 scholarship from the Intel Foundation to study science, engineering, math or technology.
"Design Squad" is taping in and around Cambridge, MA this summer and premieres on PBS in February 2007. The program, created by producers of the Emmy Award-winning series "ZOOM," is produced by WGBH Boston.
An educator's guide and training workshops will be offered to partners including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Girls Scouts USA, 4-H, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, National Academy of Engineering, National Engineers Week, Society of Manufacturing Engineers and Society of Women Engineers.
"Design Squad" is also funded by Tyco Electronics, The Harold and Esther Edgerton Family Foundation, the Noyce Foundation and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
WGBH Boston, http://www.wgbh.org/.