SBIR Phase I: Evaluation of SCIENTASTIC! – A Trans-Media and Public Television Series for Ages 8 to 13

January 1st, 2013 - December 31st, 2013 | PROJECT

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will demonstrate the feasibility of engaging children ages 8 to 13 in the wonders of science and the application of scientific principles through the transmedia SCIENTASTIC! project. The study will also demonstrate that the television series will help students answer questions and solve problems for themselves and their community. The American public supports the advancement of scientific knowledge and our investment in scientific research leads the world. However, Americans are falling behind in educating the next generation of scientists. Late elementary school is an ideal time to capture students' attention and engage them in STEM activities. Using rigorous evaluation techniques we will show that SCIENTASTIC! encourages hands-on learning by exploration, questioning and thinking. The innovative television program and integrated companion resources provide scientific role models and demonstrate the scientific process in an entertaining way. The associated web site, Apps, Web 2.0 repository and teaching aids allow students, teachers, and parents to further explore concepts introduced in the show. Preliminary analysis reveals that the SCIENTASTIC! target audience liked the show, would watch the show and learned from the show. Further analysis will demonstrate that the transmedia approach increases viewer interest and learning. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will play a transformative role in encouraging students to take STEM courses in college, pursue scientific careers, and become a scientifically informed electorate. By developing the story beyond the story, transmedia SCIENTASTIC! has strong commercial value. Dissemination through public television allows for a potential audience of 250 million people. Commercial and noncommercial sponsorships will be sold with associated on-air credits. Additional direct funding will be sought from industries with interests in promoting science and health literacy. A commercial version of the program will be offered to cable networks on a licensing basis, with DVDs, Apps and study guides sold to schools, homeschoolers, and parents. With a broad and commercially viable dissemination, SCIENTASTIC! will show children the joys of science by demonstrating and engaging in hands-on, team- based learning in real-world contexts. This process will improve student retention and will show that SCIENTASTIC! introduces new ways to learn. The SCIENTASTIC! project will evaluate teaching techniques information that will be shared with policy-makers, educational institutions, and teachers to improve education nationwide. By spreading successful methods for engaging children in math and science, SCIENTASTIC! shoiuld have significant societal benefit creating a generation of scientifically educated decision-makers.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Scientastic! Summative Evaluation Report

Team Members

David Caldwell, Principal Investigator, Planet Earth Television, Inc.


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Small Business Phase I


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Parents | Caregivers
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM | Health and medicine
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media