This week, Orlando, Florida plays host to diving enthusiasts, and companies with the latest in dive technology. For one exhibitor, the show also provides an excellent opportunity to get youth to think about real world solutions to preserve the oceans for future generations through an alternative to traditional STEM learning.
The STEMA Kids marine conservation learning toy set sends players on 16 different missions. Each mission includes a story which educates players about STEM learning and marine conservation or awareness. The toys introduce children to advanced STEM disciplines by incorporating AI, mathematics, engineering, science and art, combining several subject areas into one integrated experience.
Founder Phillip Ko emphasizes, “It’s not a toy set that deals with hypothetical scenarios. STEMA Kids engages players in real world challenges that we and our oceans are facing through an interactive STEM learning experience. How can we love diving, exploring and seeing the beautiful species in our oceans without worrying about how over-fishing, species extinction and warming oceans will impact our future? The STEMA Kids toy set gives players knowledge about the issues that they need in order to understand the various challenges, but it goes a step further and gets them to think about, and work towards, a solution. We know that many of the most creative solutions to issues impacting our world have been thanks to a combination of the arts and sciences. That’s why the STEMA Kids toy set incorporates both into each mission, something which is unique to the STEM toy market.”
Unlike traditional board games, players guide heroes (characters) through missions of marine awareness and conservation. The characters in the STEMA Kids toy set specialize in either science, technology, engineering, mathematics or art/AI and each has a favorite tool ranging from a pipette to a paintbrush to accomplish missions ranging from constructing catapults to bring manatees out of danger zones, to constructing a windmill to cool off “Sami” the Orca from warming waters. Players work alone or in teams to solve real world issues by building specialized tools to complete missions.
Each mission allows players the opportunity to earn a valuable DNA sample of a marine species. Players must obtain as many samples as possible in order to preserve ocean species for future generations. Players are left with a newfound understanding about the need to care for and protect the oceans and the knowledge that it is up to us all to make a positive impact and make a better place for all living creatures on earth. Students are introduced to creative problem-solving skills that they may not get a chance to improve upon during normal classroom assignments or traditional STEM toys.