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How Well do Educational TV Shows Teach Kids about STEM?

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

By Keerthana Vinod


Think back to your childhood. What types of shows did you watch? For me, personally, I watched shows like Sid the Science Kid, Wild Kratts, and even Octonauts. If you aren’t familiar with these kids' shows, they all basically have the premise of teaching a young audience STEM concepts through fun and engaging adventures. In a world where technology is so involved with our daily lives, media is highly influential - especially in the minds of children. The real question, however, is if these shows even succeed in their premise. In this article, we’ll take a look at how well these types of educational-based children's shows teach kids about STEM as well as what use they gain from watching them.

To analyze if these shows truly are educational, we first must look at what constitutes a good children’s show in the first place. According to Lisa Henson and Dr. Alice Wilder (both experts in children’s programs), they mention that instead of directly teaching kids concepts, they strive to teach kids a new way of thinking based on design principles. For example, in the children’s show Doozers, the main characters are often seen designing and creating a multitude of things while also overcoming obstacles. Whenever something doesn’t go quite right, they break it down to repurpose it or take a break to come back to the problem with a fresh mind. These types of relatable characters allow children to apply this way of thinking to their own lives. In turn, this encourages kids to think creatively and develop crucial problem-solving skills. By providing useful and applicable information like this in an engaging format, children are influenced positively to learn and grow.


Now that we’ve seen what constitutes a good educational show, let’s answer the question: “What’s the use of my kid watching them?” Though I’ve previously mentioned a few of the benefits, there are tons more that children gain from learning STEM concepts. One of these benefits is adjusting to a tech-heavy world. In a rapidly moving world where technology is becoming more implemented into our lives, it’s important that children know how to adapt and use it to their advantage. Additionally, it helps them develop critical thinking skills early on, which will help them in the future. Speaking of the future, watching these shows may light a spark in a child that would inspire them to become involved with STEM. Studying STEM in college or pursuing a career in STEM in the future is a great financial and economic decision. With technology getting more and more complex each day, more jobs in those fields will be open to those who seek them. Not to mention, having more diversity in STEM allows us as a community to develop and make more progress as a whole. As the old saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.”


Educational-based children's shows can teach children many useful skills, and even lead them to become well-rounded individuals in the future. It provides a fun way for kids to spend their time while also being productive in their development. Next time, sit with your kid or younger family member and watch a show like Sid the Science Kid with them. Maybe you’ll learn something too.


Works Cited

Scholastic Parents Staff. “11 STEAM and STEM TV Shows for Kids.” Scholastic, 10 Apr. 2019,

www.scholastic.com/parents/school-success/learning-toolkit-blog/kids--steam-

programming.html.

“Why STEM Is so Important for Children.” Www.scienceexplorers.com, 21 June 2021,

www.scienceexplorers.com/why-stem-is-so-important-for-children.

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