Local Science Education Not-For-Profit Helps Kids Prove Their World

Local science education group debuts new website and video content for summer learning.

Prove Your World is about active learning and rock-solid science. It’s about helping 8- to 13-year-olds and even adults think like scientists, ask questions and explore ideas. Starting in June and each week all summer, PYW will debut new and original video content and supporting material on its YouTube channel and at ProveYourWorld.org. The goal of Prove Your World is to become a major source of informal science education both locally and nationally. It is the perfect resource to help kids stay sharp all summer long.

Prove Your World works to increase science interest and literacy. This means having enough knowledge about the world to make critical decisions in day-to-day living. PYW takes real questions from kids like, “How do balloons float?” and, “Why can’t animals talk?” and produces short, entertaining and scientifically accurate videos and supporting web content targeted specifically at 8- to 13-year-olds. It also provides longer and more in-depth video investigations that allow kids and adults really get into the scientific process.

Inquiry-driven learning differentiates Prove Your World from other science programs and allows children’s questions to guide instruction. Its scripts and website content follow the inquiry model and the Next Generation Science Standards published by the National Research Council in cooperation with the  National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve.

Prove Your World is primarily targeted at 8- to 13-year-olds. This is a demographic with a declining interest in science, mathematics, engineering and technology, also known as the STEM disciplines. This is different from other current informal kids’ science programming which focuses mostly on pre-school, early elementary or high school. Eight- to 13-year-olds tend to gravitate toward content targeted for older audiences that often misses the specific interests, perspectives and developmental needs of later elementary and middle schoolers. Each of the 2 to 4 minute videos addresses a child’s question pertaining to biology, earth science, the physical sciences, or the behavioral sciences.

Action in the videos focuses on several puppet characters and “Brian,” played by Brian Koberlein, a computational astrophysicist in real life. The puppets include Emmy, co-owner with Brian of the Prove Your World shop and mother figure to the three “kids.” Popper is an experimentalist- the kid who takes things apart without quite knowing how to put them back together. Bopp is the analytical book learner, and Hopper, the artistic observer.

Puppets are a good vehicle for informal science education because they can talk fast and say things above their age level. They can be edgy, snarky, and they reference pop culture. The puppets also have real personalities. A lot of the kids who watch the videos are going to recognize part of themselves in the puppet characters, and that’s going to help keep them watching.

The Prove Your World team includes:

Brian Koberlein, PhD, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physics at Rochester Institute of Technology and a popular on-line science commentator.

Grant Guthiel, PhD, Developmental psychologist and Associate Professor at Nazareth College

Gail Grigg, PhD, A local expert in science education

Susan Sherwood PhD, A local expert in science education and curriculum and instruction

Kevin Schoonover, A local artist, Creative Director of Prove Your World and head puppeteer.

The puppets were named in homage to Emmy Noether, mathematician, Karl Popper, philosopher of science; Thomas Bopp, amateur astronomer and co-discoverer of the Comet Hale-Bopp in 1995; and Grace Hopper, computer scientist.

For more information about Prove Your World, visit proveyourworld.org, or contact Grant Gutheil/Brian Koberlein at the addresses listed above.

Prove Your World is a registered 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit organization. It is supported in part by Nazareth College and RIT.