We all know recycling is important, but how do you convey that to your kids? How do we promote finding new uses for everyday things that would otherwise go to the trash bin? Luckily for us there is a new show available in Amazon Prime Instant Videos that might inspire children to do just that.
Fresh from the mind of J. J. Johnson ( Emmy nominated creator of Dino Dan) and Sinking Ship Entertainment, comes a new live action adventure show called Annedroids. Annedroids follow the adventure of Anne, a young female scientist and her human friends, Shania and Nick and their mechanical assistants, Hand, Eye and Pal. A tenacious, intelligent and a resourceful young girl, Anne (recently named one of TV's Best Role Models of 2014 by Common Sense media) encounters problems and solves them using (STEAM) science, technology, engineering, the arts and math, all while making amazing scientific discoveries and making friends.
Annedroids start out as a young boy named Nick moves in to a new neighborhood with his mom Maggie. Distraught over moving to an unknown place without friends and living across a junkyard, things start to change as he befriends his neighbor, a funny girl named Shania and her little brother, Garth. A little while over, they become suspicious as a pair of mysterious, mechanical eyes watches them from behind the walls of the junkyard. Summoning the courage to discover what's over the wall, Nick and Shania meets and befriends Anne, a young scientist and her robotic creations or androids ( the show explains the difference between the two): Hand, a giant, mechanical, tripod legged, spider like android that serves as Anne's guardian; Eye, a mobile ( and eventually flying) android with a video camera as an eye that documents Anne's scientific endeavors; and Pal, a humanoid robot who assists the kids in their adventures. Together, this group of mechanical and human friends inspires children to do great things with the use of STEAM which in itself seems to be based on the Scientific Method, a real way of asking and answering scientific questions used by real life scientist in making observations and doing experiments.
Speaking of experiments, many of Anne and her friends' adventures provide opportunities to showcase the key processes of STEAM, which are often not addressed well in children's television programming. This includes processes involved with identifying problems and asking questions, making plans and creating prototypes, experimenting and testing, reflecting and revising. In particular, it is good to see that Anne and her friends learn as much from failure as success, and see the failures as opportunities to try new things.
Inspired by the show and to help celebrate National Recycling Week, my daughters and I decided to reuse plastic bottles (that would have otherwise been in our recycling bin) to build a tunnel playground and an observation deck for our pet hamster, Juliet. I was inspired to utilize plastic drinking bottles used in the first episode of the series where it was a part of the contraption that served as Anne's morning alarm. The observation deck idea was also derived from the clear rubberized, enclosed area that Anne, Nick and Shania was in when they were waiting for lightning ( which apparently one strike=150 million powered lightbulbs ) to give life to the android PAL.
Just like Anne used things found in her junkyard to create new inventions. And also just like Anne and her friends: what other people sees as junk, my daughters and I sees problem-solving possibilities.
First Project: Tunnel Playground
Second Project: Observation Deck
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.