- Simple Machines
- LESSON PLANS
- Electricity and Circuits
- Engineering Design Process
- Green Design
- Helping Others
- Simple Machines
Guide to Web Features for Kids
The DESIGN SQUAD NATION website is a destination for creative tween and teens, promoting the message: You are creative and can solve problems. You can make things that help people. We want you to join DESIGN SQUAD NATION. Let's dream big. Let's build something together.
In the Design section, kids can use their PBS KIDS login to contribute to the safe, fully moderated online community. Kids can start a design project by sharing an idea, or contribute to an existing project by sending in a drawing.
Kids can also join a new kind of project that encourages them to design solutions to global problems, and in doing so, earn a special virtual sticker. Hosts Nate and Deysi pose each challenge and offer contextual support in the form of design tips and submission highlights, serving as mentors to the online community.
Build It Better
In this series of special design challenges, kids are encouraged to improve the design of everyday things, and vote for their favorite solutions posted to the community. The integration of everyday items allows kids to connect the work they do as part of the challenges to their daily lives, fostering an engineer’s perspective and sparking ideas, future work, and potential career paths.
The Build section features hands-on projects with short demo videos and step-by-step photo instructions. Kids can browse projects by theme, or narrow their search using the Stuff Spinner. Designed to be completed at home with common materials, these projects make building a social activity connected to interests that kids already have. Kids are encouraged to share photos of their completed projects on the Design Squad website.
In this interactive feature based on popular search tools found across the web, kids can choose their favorite interest (like toys and vehicles) and building materials (like balloons and cardboard), then spin the Spinner to see hands-on projects matching their choices. Kids are introduced to fresh and unexpected ideas that will encourage further exploration and deeper engagement with science topics such as force and energy, materials science, or tension and compression.
This section is where we're rolling out a series of special challenges that asks kids to build a small project at home and submit it to the site. The top entries will be shared with the community for a final vote, and the winner will receive a special virtual sticker.
A series of new video shorts starring hosts Nate and Deysi will hook the YouTube generation with engineering stunts, amazing do-it-yourself projects, and the chance to get their own questions answered and designs prototyped by our hosts on camera. The message is that with a little engineering know-how, you can do some amazing things. These shorts, in addition to our catalogue of full-length episodes and engineer profiles, are made available in the Watch Section. Like other areas of the website, videos are organized by themes that appeal to kids.
Design Squad's "Fidgit Factory" provides a playful introduction to electrical circuits. First, players build their "Fidgit Factory" by making a circuit to power a variety of machines that control Fidgit character's attributes, such as color, antennae, and accessories. When the orders start rolling in, the player will have to act fast, getting those Fidgits customized before the battery power runs out. Each level requires the player to add on to their circuit with more machines, more batteries, and then use them to make more Fidgits.
DESIGNit, BUILDit, FIDGiT
In this multiplayer game, players employ their problem-solving and engineering skills to save small, cute creatures called Fidgits. They design rooms with various configurations of objects to help get the creatures to safety. Players can also exchange these rooms with friends and work on them together. FIDGiT's overarching goal is to help kids strengthen and build their engineering design process skills while learning along the way that engineers rarely solve a problem on their first try.
This interactive feature lets kids exercise their musical talent while learning about the physics of sound and string instruments. Changing the tension, gauge, and length of each string changes the pitch that it makes. Once all the strings are in place, you can add a beat and play it back!
The Me page is the personal profile, and displays all the items a user has submitted to the site, shows the rank, points, and stickers they have earned, and allows them to unlock and select new Profile Pic icons. Users can also be "fans" of other member's work, and see those who have become fans of them. This is a simple, safe, way for community members to show support for one another.
The blog features inspiring engineering and DIY content from across the web and around the world, with new posts added every week.
In this interactive feature, kids can use the points they’ve earned to get virtual stickers they can give out to projects in the online community that have been submitted by other players (unlike their real-world versions, these virtual stickers never run out!). As kids contribute more to the site, they earn more points, and move up in rank from “Newbie” to “Phenom.” The goal: to frame the design process as a game, encouraging a virtuous cycle that gets kids to continue sharing their own ideas while cheering on others to do the same.