The science programming for tots has been growing, but TV’s tween girldom still seems to be haunted by the hair tossing and double lives of the Hannah Montanas and Wizards of Waverly Place. Until now.
PBS is entering the fray this month with SciGirls, a Sid the Science Kid for the tween set – aimed specifically at tween girls.
Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Program for Gender Equity, SciGirls is focused on increasing girls’ interest in scientific endeavors – from biology to engineering. A mix of animation and live action, it’s powered by a cartoon tween named Izzie, who enters an online community for girls – the SciGirls – to find answers to the problems of every day life.
What she finds there are videos shot around the country featuring average American girls (no actresses in sight) pursuing their own scientific goals, from creating a turtle habitat in the wetlands near their school to building giant parade-worthy puppets with eyes that really open and close.
The focus on live action makes the show tween appropriate, although my four-year-old has requested repeated viewings of the two episodes sent our way, so it’s got a wider appeal. The decision to use real girls – akin to the live spots with real kids on Sesame Street – is the strength of the show. They make the concepts themselves more approachable. The kids are learning on screen just as the kids at home tackle the new ideas.
The show will premiere Valentine’s weekend, so check local PBS listings for times. Or visit the SciGirls website to get your girls involved.
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