THE BIG-BRAINED SUPERHEROES CLUB
"How Does Science Work?"

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The BBSC recently rolled out a prototype field trip request form, which asks our young BBSes what they want to learn on their desired field trip. Our very first question comes from a 10 year-old BBS: “How does science work?”. The very second question from a 12 year-old BBS: “How do science and math work together?”.

This is what the kids these days are asking. And sadly, while the places we go may be equipped to effectively communicate some science facts, science processes are another matter entirely. Making our field trips yet another way in which we’re reminded that focusing on process (a true Big-Brained Superhero imperative and moving up our priority list almost daily) is still a fringe ideal. Hopefully, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos reboot will help us out:

In the meantime, Hank Green can lay down some scientific method on us:

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Our new BBSC video is really a study in the art of “just go with it”. All the best bits were totally instigated by our young Big-Brained Superheroes with our volunteer sidekicks just going with it. Tapping into hidden strengths!

UPDATE: Please consider voting for The BBSC in this year’s Project for Awesome: http://www.projectforawesome.com/charity/the-big-brained-superheroes-club/awesomebigbrainedsuperheroes! #P4A

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Thanks so much to Seattle Met Magazine for granting The Big-Brained Superheroes Club their Light a Fire “Purely for the Love” award!

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The Willpowerometer lives! Thanks once again to the superpowers and Propeller prowess of BBS Volunteer Mr. Measurement Man, we now have a graphical representation (version 1.0) of how well we’re exercising our Willpower as it pertains to sound production. The closer that we—as a group—get to our desired decibel level, the more green the display and the higher the point count. The farther we get from our preferred decibel level, the more red the display and the lower the point count.

In this video, our Willpower goal was to reach a count of 50. SPOILER ALERT: We did it. And in the two weeks since the Willpowerometer was rolled out, we’ve come to love it tremendously.

Technology! Who knew?

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Persistence is a Roller Coaster

It may not seem like much, but this roller coaster has been several weeks in the making. Thanks to a K’Nex set on loan from Jigsaw Renaissance, we’ve been toying with building one of these for a while. The idea seemed interesting to our young BBSes, but the Persistence just wasn’t there. When faced with a huge pile of tiny pieces and no clear path to a finished product, giving the project a miss can quickly become the obvious choice for them. For everybody. So, BBS volunteers debated…

Given that there’s no clear path from K’Nex roller coaster to world domination, is this exercise even worth all of us exercising our superpowers on? Maybe we should give this project a miss and offer our young BBSes something with quicker, more direct results. And yet, we Persisted. Why? Because we have this zany idea that our Persistence and Empowerment superpowers are inextricably linked and that the more often we—as a group—create something tangibly complex, the more confident we’ll feel that we can create anything, no matter how messy the beginnings or how unclear the path.

So, how did we get it done? Leadership, Teamwork, all the biggies. We BBS volunteers decided we were going to make it happen and that, if our young BBSes would work with us, they would be appropriately rewarded (aka Big-Brain Bucks). And how did it turn out? Well, for starters, we got it done. And more importantly, we engaged in quite a bit of problem-solving and superpower exercise along the way. But most importantly, we found that our zany idea about the connection between Persistence and Empowerment seems to have some legs. We didn’t even have time enough to get decent photos of our creation before our young BBSes decided to tear it down and begin building a bigger, better one. Looks like we’ll have to start scrounging for even more tiny pieces…

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Big-Brained Superheroes Invade Seattle City Hall

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On Wednesday afternoon, several Big-Brained Superheroes exercised their Sense of Adventure superpower by invading Seattle City Hall to profusely thank Seattle for our Technology Matching Fund grant award. Or as our young Big-Brained Superheroes would see it:

We came…

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We saw…

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We ate.

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Oh and there might have been some other stuff in there too…

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Thanks so much, as always, to all the hardworking folks at The City of Seattle, Asfaha Lemlem of Rectech at Yesler Community Center, Brown Paper Tickets’ Maker-Doer Advocate Tamara, Big-Brained Superheroes and their caretakers, and the entire amazing community of nerds with a purpose! Extra thanks to BBS volunteer and photographer Mr. Measurement Man (aka Michael).

A couple of other projects in the C.D. about which we’re super excited are: The Young Geniuses at UmojaFest P.E.A.C.E. Center (we had serious nerd-envy over some of their work!) and Hollow Earth Radio. Check them out and see what serious nerds can do!

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Big-Brained Superheroes vs. Problem-Solving

Like many before us, The Big-Brained Superheroes Club has finally succumbed to the siren song of the popsicle stick. While stick bombs and chains are not entirely new to us, the more we work with them, the more we value their potential. Spatial reasoning, mechanical energy awareness, eye-hand coordination are all there. However, it wasn’t until this week that we’ve tried using the lowly popsicle stick to teach us such lofty skills as reverse-engineering and problem-solving. Unfortunately, those sticks didn’t fly. Yet.

We set out a short cobra-woven stick chain onto the table along with a bunch of loose sticks, and asked one of our most self-aware Big-Brained Superheroes to “make that”. And oh, did he seem to want to make that. But as for those reverse-engineering and problem-solving skills we were hoping he would show us…well…protesting is a problem-solving skill of sorts. He was not having it. Not even trying. “I just want you to teach me,” was the one recurring refrain.

The thing is, this big-brained superhero already possessed all the technical skills he needed to solve this problem and then some. As we mentioned, stick bombs and chains weren’t a wholly new activity for us.  This wasn’t a “how many golf balls can fit in a 747”-type question to a kid who has likely never seen a golf ball or been inside of a 747. He had this. And yet he didn’t. Without even trying, he ran away.

No doubt that, in other areas and in other contexts, our young hero has solved all kinds of problems more complex than this one. He did, at one point, learn to walk, after all. And he’s played video games and solved math problems. But if he’s not transferring those skills and that Empowerment to other, simpler problems, then he’s not going to go running after the big problems that desperately need his big brain and superpowers. Instead, he’s going to be waiting around for someone to teach him the steps. Which means, he’s going to be spending his life solving problems that have already been solved.

Needless to say, we’re going to have to solve this.

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In this video, we see the current state of a project we discussed many moons ago here. Unsurprisingly, it takes time to tell time. Well…it takes time and Persistence and Adaptability and Willpower and

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This oddly compelling Iron Man vs. Tesla video demonstrates that STEAM and superheroes were pretty much made for each other.

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