My name is Nam-Joon Cho and I am currently a post doc at Stanford Medical School. I would like to introduce to you a project that my wife and I have developed. It uses toy and animation characters inspired from chemistry and biology as new science education tools for kids. Our project, called TripleZ, will be introduced in the Stanford science magazine. I have attached this press material that I have prepared on the character line called B-Characters as well as some potential graphics, including some prototype images below.
The basic philosophy behind the project is to bring fun science to young kids instead of more traditional, textbook-based methods. In my opinion, the most important thing at a young age is to stimulate interest in a subject and the education will naturally follow. The most interesting thing about “B-characters” is that individual characters have their own unique personalities and background stories based on their scientific properties. By playing with the B-character toys and understanding their stories, children can be naturally drawn to science while most importantly having fun. For example, the main character ZunZun-Zzang whose nickname is Triple Z, is created from the lipid headgroup ethylphosphocholine. In scientific terms, ethylphosphocholine is a positively charged headgroup, which is rare among phospholipids. It is commonly used as a transfection agent to inject life (transfer DNA) into cells. Based on its lively and positively electric scientific properties, Triple Z’s personality is quite charming. He is bright-eyed and makes the world around him exciting. Strutting around with an infectious optimism, he is smart, funny, cool, and popular, a rare combination just like his scientific character. You will find other example characters in the attached file.
We are in the middle of developing new education materials including books and toys for basic science education in the same spirit of the B-Characters line. However, since we are not experts in youth education, we are very eager to hear your perspectives on it. Specifically, we would like to learn if our approach can be actually effective and beneficial to kids and how we can employ our approach to the real-world education field.