learn / 2015

Iridescent Curiosity Machine Program

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Iridescent

Iridescent proposes to provide year-long STEM hands on curriculum and support to students, teachers and parents from two selected Title 1 elementary schools in Los Angeles. Iridescent will implement a model that deeply engages and trains parents, educators and STEM mentors - to collectively support students in high quality, hands-on STEM learning.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South LA
  • Frank Del Olmo Elementary and Western Elementary

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

Iridescent’s approach connects families in underserved communities with scientists and engineers from academia and industry and nurtures these relationships over time with the help of technology. Iridescent supports: • Strong Parental Training & Involvement: Parents learn alongside their children to acquire knowledge and skills to support their children’s development of critical thinking and problem- solving skills. • Multi-year access to STEM experts from Industry & Universities: STEM professionals are trained to develop and teach unique hands-on projects and provide multi-year mentorship to deepen conceptual knowledge • Technology Platform for Scale & Multi-year Engagement: Iridescent trains parents and educators to use its online curriculum and mentoring platform Iridescent will support up to 300/school, and will: Support 8 educators through in-person and online training, in using the Curiosity Machine curriculum in their classroom and in out-of-school programs to increase parental involvement and build a strong learning community. Recruit and train LA based STEM mentors (university students and/or industry professionals) to mentor students online, support educators using the curriculum in class, and lead the Curiosity Machine Course after school with students and their families. Iridescent will support 40 parents, who will learn to facilitate hands-on STEM projects, foster a growth mindset and help children develop critical thinking skills. Parents will have access to all training modules to deepen their learning. Support the implementation of 2 Curiosity Machine Courses at each school with the goals to inspire participants with cutting-edge innovations from industry and research, build a long-term relationship between engineers and families, model the engineering design process and effective strategies for working through failure, and introduce the Curiosity Machine platform as a resource for continued learning at home. Iridescent was recently part of a five-year NSF longitudinal study that revealed that after its programs: 90% of the students understood science and engineering better 88% of students had a better understanding of what jobs are available in those fields. 91% of parents said they would encourage their child to pursue a STEM education or career. 94% of parents did more hands-on science projects with their children at home, demonstrating that involving parents is effective in extending learning beyond the program.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Iridescent will evaluate program data from each stakeholder group (engineers, parents, educators and students).

Student learning gains: Based on prior results and external evaluations, we anticipate students will make gains across two main areas: interest in STEM careers and higher education, and increase in higher-order cognitive traits of persistence, creativity, curiosity and the engineering design process. Trained mentors will score projects according to evidence-based assessment rubric. A technology-based platform such as Curiosity Machine allows evidence-based assessment for each student – with efficiency and scale – instead of relying on pen and paper pre- and post- surveys. Impact on Parents & Teachers: We will use validated surveys to assess the impact of Iridescent’s training parents and teachers. All surveys will use validated questions and are based on research on self-efficacy, STEM project based learning, parental involvement, educator efficacy and mindsets.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach