The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation TV Poster Image
Smart STEM series celebrates invention, inspires curiosity.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational value

Very educational in the sense that it shows viewers how a single idea can inspire people to make positive changes through innovation. The results of STEM learning are on full display, including concepts like coding. In some segments, inventors talk about their creative process and offer advice and encouragement for budding visionaries.

 

Positive messages

Series shines a spotlight on innovators who are solving problems and enriching people's lives with their inventions. Viewers also see exhibits of American inventions from The Henry Ford museum, learning about their inspiration and how they revolutionized some part of history. The show is educational and inspiring, and aims to stimulate viewers' curiosity and creativity. There's diversity among the featured guests.

 

Positive role models & representations

Featured inventors are using their foresight and skills to make a positive impact on some aspect of human life. They're self-motivated, resourceful, and able spokespersons for the value of STEM learning, and it shows in what they produce. More than that, though, they are curious about identifying problems and addressing them for others.

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism

The innovators' work -- including products, services, apps, etc. -- get visibility from the show, as does the Detroit-based museum, The Henry Ford.

 

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation (also called Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca) is a STEM-themed series that spotlights human ingenuity by way of modern inventions that are helping solve problems and inconveniences. Each episode introduces three inventions currently in the works, with host Mo Rocca and a team of correspondents conducting interviews with the innovators to learn about their inspiration and creative process. In other segments, Rocca explores the fascinating exhibits at The Henry Ford, learning about their role in American history and progress. This superb series celebrates human ingenuity and STEM concepts and their real-life applications, and aims to inspire a new generation of visionaries.

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What's the story?

THE HENRY FORD'S INNOVATION NATION introduces viewers to modern visionaries who are solving problems and filling needs with their inventions. Hosted by Mo Rocca, each episode spotlights new products like levitating light, microscopic windmills, and an app that allows people to interact with their pets from remote locations, with the inventors explaining how and why their creations came to be. There also are segments that give insight into exhibits in The Henry Ford's Archive of American Innovation and the impact these noteworthy products had on how people lived in the past.

Is it any good?

This award-winning series is a true gem, exceedingly entertaining and educational for viewers of nearly any age. In the course of one episode, viewers meet a handful of inventors and learn about their creations, get a brief but exclusive tour of a notable feature of the acclaimed Detroit museum, and get to hear inspiring words and advice from visionaries already on the job of solving problems and improving lives.

There's the small matter of Innovation Nation inadvertently doubling as a marketing device for those products and software that are featured on the show, but the intent clearly is to educate and inspire, not to promote. This show is an excellent pick for the whole family, presenting STEM concepts on a learning level appropriate even for youngsters and encouraging viewers to give new thought to solving problems with science and technology.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what effect, if any, the featured inventions in Innovation Nation have on their own lives. Have you seen the products in use, or do you reap the benefits of them indirectly? What problems do they help solve?

  • Kids: What STEM concepts interest you the most? How does knowledge of science and math help you in your everyday life? Are technological advances always a positive thing, or are there instances in which they cause new problems?

  • What challenges do innovators face when creating or trying something new? Do you get discouraged when you fail at something the first time? How do you stay motivated to try again?

  • Families can talk about curiosity. Why is it an important character strength

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