Educational GoalsAnimals can take you anywhere in science.
The educational goals of Wild Kratts aim to:
- Teach six to eight-year-old viewers natural history and age-appropriate science by building on their natural interest in animals.
- Develop and strengthen basic skills of observation and investigation that children will use increasingly as they continue their study of science.
- Build excitement in science that will remain with them throughout their lives.
Wild Kratts takes the natural appeal of animals and harnesses it towards the goal of teaching science concepts to children ages 6- 8. Educationally, Wild Kratts is timely, focusing on science just as educational indicators show an alarming trend of low performance and interest in science in today's students in international comparisons (NSF Indicators 2004). The smart, fun, confident, enthusiastic characters of of this show provide role models that are culturally diverse to ensure that a wide range of viewers can identify with, and thus learn with, the characters in the show.
The Wild Kratts science content is always seamlessly integrated with the stories. As they learn about the world and science through animals, the characters actively apply their new knowledge to achieving their goals and completing the mission – whether it be finding out who's eating all the flies in the bog or foiling the troublesome Shlegbee's plans to sell Wormy Fries to all the world's kids! New understandings or questions are closely tied to plot points that send the characters in new directions in their adventures of mystery, discovery, and rescue.
The science content of Wild Kratts is focused to support curriculum standards as laid out by the National Science Education Standards (NSES) from the National Academy of Sciences and with the Benchmarks for Science Literacy from American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Of primary importance for this age group is to provide an inquiry-based educational approach: encouraging viewers to ask questions, complete investigations/observations, answer questions, and present results. This process is modeled by the characters and is central to each and every story. The fact that our successful heroes use an inquiry-based approach to life and learning, and our perpetually unsuccessful villain does not, sends a clear message to children about the inherent value of this critical thinking skill.
Episodes have been selected from each of the core assessment areas mapped within the National Science Education Standards. Each episode will have a clear and singular focus of one age-appropriate science message. Our aim is to clearly address that single idea in a meaningful way, rather than address every science concept that a certain animal's life touches. Often, however, there is some integration of concepts found in the standard. For example, we might stress the importance of a moist environment for a particular organism (Organisms and environments) because if it didn't have that moist environment it would dry out through evaporation (Properties of objects and materials). Episodes will cover, but not be limited to, the mapping structure of the K-4 NSES below:
Latina engineer Aviva provides opportunities to explore age-appropriate technological concepts. At the most basic level, the team at Triple S models the very fact that understanding science concepts promotes technological advancement (science as process, technology as design). In much the same way that the person who invented Velcro was inspired by the seed burrs from plants or the Wright brothers modeled their planes on the structure of bird wings, Aviva and the gang are inspired by nature and model science concepts through their inventions. Sometimes, there will also be opportunities to explore age-appropriate technological content like levers, catapults, or pulleys.
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