The Steam-Age Foundations project is conceived as a way to introduce young people to the science, physics and history that combined to bring us inventions that have completely changed our world, and in turn we hope to inspire them to study technology and then apply their own creative genius.
These programs are designed to introduce fundamental concepts in Physics and Science and to demonstrate how their practical application can lead to sometimes simple ideas with profound results. Each program can be tailored to the age and interests of the audience, the video presentations should be interesting and informative for 5th graders to adults.
We are currently developing six programs to spotlight major technological developments:
These programs are presented as live seminars with working models, hands-on demo's, hand-outs with diagrams, bibliographies and resource guides; and sometimes I'll even be using smoke and mirrors to keep it all exciting. The pilot presentation -- Optics, has been given at Seaview Elementary School in Edmonds, Washington. Students from the first through sixth grades attended and greeted the subject with great enthusiasm.
Each program is designed to be either a 45 minute presentation with demo's and limited hands-on time, that works well in a classroom, or a 90 minute workshop with more hands-on opportunities suited for smaller groups or larger venues.
Bob Shepard, fifth-grade teacher at Seaview Elementary will be providing both a first-run venue and expert feedback and advice during the development phase of each program. GregRobin Smith (AKA Ben Franklin) will also be providing expert advice and criticism. A local hobby shop - Galaxy Hobby has generously agreed to provide a performance space to host the second-run of each program which will be open to the local community. After that the program will be available to book for live presentations.
After a few presentation of each program, we intend to produce a program-video complete with accompanying hand-outs. The Video's will be available for sale, for use by individuals, home-school groups, educational and other non-profit institutions. Here we hope the video becomes a stepping off point for a larger classroom study unit.
Longer-term goals for the Steam-Age Foundations project are extended online resources and maybe even an online store for kit's, models and teaching aids.