Earlier this month Project MC² premiered on Netflix. While you are right to be skeptical of any program based on a pre-existing or concurrently released line of toys, there are other things to argue in favor of Project MC² as another means of helping young people discover more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Here’s the trailer:
(Yes, the toys and the program are marketed to girls, but I wouldn’t shoo away a boy interested in the program or in the toys – especially the ones where you’re making something and/or conducting an experiment. But that’s me.)
The program focuses on a group of four teen girls who use science, math and technology to help save the world as secret agents. There are three episodes in the series (though additional episodes may be developed). Each episode is slightly under 30 minutes in length. You might have spied (pun intended) Danica McKellar in the trailer. She plays the girls’ contact at the intelligence agency. Her code name is The Quail. The first batch of episodes focuses on protecting a young prince in the United States to prepare for a space mission.
There is also a website with discussion boards and missions for visitors to complete, an app, and even a Wikia (though it could use more contributors). While I think the strong commercial tie-in may make adoption in schools problematic, I think the show – with enough episodes – could reach young people that might not otherwise think about STEM. That it might require selling some toys to do so would literally be a cost of doing business. Spend some time with the program, and see if you’d be okay with it.