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Free online video program encourages students to start STEM studies earlier

Union Leader Correspondent

February 15. 2016 11:19PM
Willow Forbes, of Portsmouth, is a star of “STEM from the START,” a free online video series for pre-K to second-grade students. (Courtesy photo)

DURHAM — New Hampshire Public Television and Learniverse LLC have partnered together to create a free online video learning program that encourages young children to get into science, technology, engineering and math.

Those involved with the project say that STEM studies are a key to success for children today. Recently, the United States Department of Labor listed the ten most wanted skill areas. Eight of them require degrees in STEM fields.

Lauren Provost, director of science and technology outreach at Dartmouth College, says students have already formed ideas about math and science by the third grade, and it is important to target pre-K through second-grade learners so they do not fall behind in their STEM studies at an early age.

“When we miss struggling students, we miss talent and innovation,” Provost said.

“STEM from the START” features kid-friendly animated characters called QUINKS, which are aliens from outer space with a mission to learn about all of the Earth’s sciences. Learniverse came up with the concept of the QUINKS, and provided funding for the program.

During the videos, which are meant for use by teachers, parents and after-school providers, the QUINKS visit with people working in STEM fields. They also work to solve problems such as sorting items by their physical properties. Adults can pause the video for a “Discovery Break” to drive the lessons home.

The science lessons used are fully compliant with Next Generation Science Standards.

Provost, who also works on the Governor’s STEM Task Force focusing on recruiting girls into STEM studies, understands the inequity in early learning, and feels a personal responsibility to get “STEM from the START” into the hands of as many people as she can.

“I have struggled as a first-generation college student, hispanic female, single mother and surviver of domestic violence to complete a degree in a STEM area. All children, regardless of life circumstances, deserve every opportunity to go after the best and most rewarding careers. I feel responsible for supporting all statewide efforts that support children’s success in STEM,” Provost said.

“STEM from the START” was officially launched in Durham on Friday. More information about the program can be found at

Education Technology Durham

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