This partnership between the University of Washington Bothell’s OpenSTEM Research, UW Seattle Institute for Science + Math Education, Pacific Science Center, Highline Public Schools Native Education Program, and the Seattle Public Libraries has received a grant from the National Science Foundation for a three-year project called Backpacks for Science Learning.
The project fosters opportunities for families to explore science and engineering together as they engage with robotics, computer science, coding, and e-textiles (fabrics and clothing that integrate technology). Tech Tales invites parents to take on new roles as learners with their children while they learn about programming, engineering design processes, and related science concepts. Unlike many programs that use competitions as a context for engaging with robotics, we use storytelling to engage families in robotics in order to tie into cultural practices around storytelling, connect to families’ personal and cultural histories, and leverage the unique professional expertise of librarians in connecting people with stories.
The four-year $2.6 million project ran September 2015–2019 and completed the one-year no-cost extension on August 31, 2020.