STEM Education in Popular Culture

Even while some have called America’s current STEM education ‘ill-equipped‘, STEM is making an impact in popular culture.  PBS Kids shows such as Super Why, The Cat in the Hat Knows All about That!, Curious George, and Dinosaur Train have put a new focus on literacy and STEM education.  Last year PBS saw a spike in its ratings, with a 23% jump in viewership of 2-11 year olds, which they attribute to parental awareness of both the importance of STEM education and the recognition of educational merit in their programs.

Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president of Children’s Media at PBS, said, “Years ago, we identified a gap in children’s media – there was very little content available for kids to build critical literacy and STEM skills – especially on TV.”

The popular children’s television show Sesame Street will also be concentrating on STEM education as it embarks on its 42nd season.  According to Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit organization involved with Sesame Street, the program will emphasize STEM by “observing the properties of bubbles to experimenting to see ‘what worms like to squirm on best’ to engineering a boat for Zoe’s pet rock, Elmo and the gang use the processes of scientific inquiry to make sense of their environment.”

In addition to its incorporation of STEM in television programs, PBS has also launched online initiatives designed to excite children about the subject.  PBS has made online videos and games emphasizing those principles available. Rotenburg explained, “Learning becomes more meaningful when kids are able to step into the driver’s seat with their favorite PBS KIDS characters and tackle math, reading, science and other educational games and activities.”

In fact, STEM is branching out into many different forms of popular culture.  In addition to television and the web, STEM’s impact can be seen in video games and even films.

Posted by: Rebecca Anderson

Sources:, PBS, Sesame Workshop

Photo Credit: 281/365 Aloha Elmo courtesy of flickr user puukibeach


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: