A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that All-American Makers is a Shark Tank-style series that features scientists and inventors pitching products in the hopes of getting funding. The show underscores the importance of STEM education by showing how science, technology, and math play a role in developing commercially viable products. (Making lots of money also is a major theme.) There's some iffy language ("piss," "crap"; curses bleeped). On occasion, some product testing goes slightly wrong (with no major injuries), but the process is a solid way for science-minded kids to see how ideas turn into products.
What's the story?
ALL-AMERICAN MAKERS is a series that features scientists and inventors trying to get funding to further develop and mass-market their products. Each episode features teams pitching what they believe are commercially viable inventions to robotics expert Brian Roe, inventor and entrepreneur Brook Drumm, and venture capitalist Marc Portney. Drumm and Roe then take the prototypes to their workshop to deconstruct the science behind and the design of each product. They also test each one to see how well they work. After Portney narrows down the list based on these reports, focus groups are conducted to test each remaining prototype's functionality and retail potential. He then makes the final determination about what products (if any) he wants to invest his own money in and attempts to make some deals.
Is it any good?
This Shark Tank-like show, which has been recognized by the White House for its support of STEM education, shows how an idea can be developed into a commercially viable, and potentially highly profitable, product with the help of science, engineering, and math. The accessible explanations and demonstrations of each invention also make the journey from idea to product entertaining.
Inventors and engineers of all ages will certainly be inspired by the positive messages (hard work, creativity, perseverance) featured here. But even the non-scientist will benefit from some of the less obvious lessons, including the need to clearly and concisely articulate your goals and the importance of having passion for your idea. Most of all, it underscores the importance of believing in what you're creating, even if no one else does.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it takes to turn a cool idea into an actual product. Do reality shows such as this one really offer an honest look into what goes into the process?
What is STEM education? Should everyone study science, technology, engineering, and math? Are subjects such as literature and the arts equally as important?