Broadcasting Informal STEM Education on the Small Screen

August 19th, 2015

Learners of all ages have access to a wealth of informal STEM resources through the small screens of television, computers, and mobile devices. Science education programming reaches millions of viewers every week and continues to capture the cultural imagination. Here are some examples of small screen broadcast media resources available in the repository:


The animated and live-action television series SciGirls follows the explorations of a group of young women as they engage in citizen science by monitoring butterfly populations, identifying frog calls, improving urban bird habitats and more. The project, developed by Twin Cities Public Television in partnership with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Girls Collaborative Project, also extends into the interactive realm with a website that allows for collaborations among budding scientists.


This multi-faceted project aimed to enable and sustain children’s engagement in math learning through an animated series on PBS, mobile games and apps. Professional development for preschool and Head Start teachers, and complementary activities and resources for parents are also available.

Peep and the Big Wide World/El Mundo de Peep

In similar fashion to Peg+Cat, the bilingual project Peep and the Big Wide World/El Mundo de Peep, developed a range of resources to target the specific audiences of children, parents, and educators. In addition to a redesigned website that introduced interactive games, materials were developed in both Spanish and English to better assist parents and educators in approaching science and math with preschoolers. See also: our blog post about the series.

NOVA’s Making Stuff Season 2

This 4-part miniseries built upon the success of the first season of Nova Making Stuff with a goal of reaching a wider audience, specifically underserved teens and college students. In addition to the broadcast production, the project developed an educational outreach campaign and expanded the content available on the Making Stuff website.

Time Team America

Using archaeology as an entry point to multiple STEM fields, Time Team America tells the stories of diverse cultures as their histories are uncovered by youth from demographics underrepresented in STEM. In addition to four episodes, the project developed a website hosting discussions, user-generated video, and a blog series as well as field schools, both online and off. Interested in developing a broadcast media project? Explore the lessons learned from seven NSF-funded projects in this Afterschool Matters article on best practices.