Many education experts believe that coding will soon be an essential skill for young people entering the workforce. At the same time, there is growing concern about the increasingly sedentary lifestyles of children. Unruly Studios takes on both issues with a product that makes learning and movement accessible and engaging. The company’s debut product, Splats, consists of two sturdy, interactive floor tiles (or “splats”) that can be pushed, tapped, and even stepped on, as well as a codingapp that uses a simple visual coding language to let children aged 6 and up create games to play on the tiles. The app, which connects to the splats via Bluetooth, features colorful, drag-and-drop boxes of code that children assemble to create their own games. Users can tell the program what to do when the splat is pressed—they can control the device’s lights and sounds, and tally players’ scores, among other functions. The app comes with a few prewritten games, such as a version of Whack-A-Mole that challenges players to press the splat as quickly as possible whenever it lights up in a specific color. As they become more comfortable with coding, children can modify these games—for example, changing the target color or tweaking the timing. Splats will be available in October 2018. A pack of two splats and access to the app will cost $149.99; packs with four tiles ($269) or ten tiles plus a curriculum ($829) will also be available.
SageModeler is an intuitive modeling tool being developed at TheConcord Consortium and the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University for middle school and high school students to build their own models and validate their model design using real-world data.
TechGirlz is a program of Creating IT Futures, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit of CompTIA, which inspires middle school girls to explore the possibilities of technology to empower their future careers. To achieve its mission, TechGirlz has created engaging, interactive “TechShopz” led by industry professionals, community leaders, and students.
You do not have to go far from home to travel somewhere amazing. Every state hosts natural and technological marvels that you may never have seen. Popular Science magazine suggests 50 science-y destinations that are well worth a visit—each is within a drivable distance from the state’s largest population center.