Xploration FabLab

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Xploration FabLab TV Poster Image
STEM-based series spotlights people making the world better.

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

Educational Value

Kids see practical applications of science and math concepts at work in the featured projects and products, but the content is meant more to inspire viewers than it is to teach them anything specific. Even so, the hosts and the subjects impart some basic knowledge, and pop-ups add statistics and other related information as it's appropriate.

Positive Messages

By focusing on applications of science that improve people's lives, safety, and the environment, for example, the show encourages viewers to look beyond their own experiences and identify where other needs exist. Passion, curiosity, and compassion drive the subjects' work, inspiring others to exhibit the same. Though the various causes often have emotional sides (disabled people, injured or endangered animals, and hungry populations, for instance), the show focuses more on the science of making improvements. Some concepts can be seen as controversial (global warming, for instance), but the show doesn't delve into controversy. Featured experts are ethnically and gender-diverse, and the hostesses outnumber the host three to one.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Every person whose story is told in the course of this series deserves praise for using STEM learning to make a positive impact on the world. Their accomplishments weren't easily earned, but the finished products represent their determination, their problem-solving skills, and their STEM knowledge.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The series promotes its Twitter account and website with prominent screen blurbs. Sponsors (Motorola, Ally Bank, Samsung, and so on) receive mention at the end of each episode.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Xploration FabLab is an educational news show whose subjects' advances in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields have made the world a better place. The series is geared toward tweens and teens and looks to inspire them to identify areas of need and work to improve them. Stories range from a teen's seven-year crusade to protect orangutans and their natural habitat to a woman's work creating prosthetics on a 3-D printer for disabled animals. There's an emotional component to each tale, but the show focuses more on the positive results than on the circumstances that necessitated the change. Project sponsors such as Motorola and Samsung are recognized, and prompts encourage viewers to check out the show's website and Twitter page.

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What's the story?

XPLORATION FABLAB turns the spotlight on inventors, activists, and everyday people who have used STEM knowledge (science, technology, engineering, and math) to make a positive impact on the world around them. Each episode features accomplishments related to a particular global issue, from deforestation to helping the disabled, and introduces people whose accomplishments have contributed to improvements for the people and places involved.

Is it any good?

This STEM-themed series looks to win tween and teen fans with its four hip hosts (one even has a lip ring) and a bevy of youthful subjects whose achievements are rightfully applauded. In every case, their work was inspired merely by observing a need, whether in their own communities or halfway across the world. Many of the issues will be familiar to viewers and their kids, but some might stand out as something you've never given any thought to. Either way, Xploration FabLab will inspire you to think beyond the identification of a concern and consider how it might be helped.

While the show doesn't impart actual STEM education, it does touch on how certain concepts and technological advances contribute to the activism and products featured. This keeps the focus on the bigger picture of bettering the world rather than on the nuts and bolts of how exactly to go about it, which makes it more enticing to kids who look to TV more for entertainment than for learning. In any case, it raises numerous topics you can discuss (and perhaps act on) with your kids after the episode's end.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what inspires people to change the world for other people (or animals). How does it feel to help someone else, even without anything gained for yourself? Can you be equally inspired to support a cause that doesn't involve people's needs? Does Xploration FabLab inspire you?

  • Kids: Do you like STEM learning? If so, what aspect is your favorite? What applications of it do you recognize in your daily life? How have technological advances improved our safety? Our health? Our overall quality of life?

  • What causes do you support as a family? How do they reflect your values? Could you do more, either for those causes or for another issue about which you're passionate? Which needs exist in your community? In your state? In your country?

  • How does Xploration FabLab promote curiosity? Why is this an important character strength?

TV details

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