- Simple Machines
Guide to Web Features for Kids
The DESIGN SQUAD NATION Web site 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 the DESIGN SQUAD NATION. Let's dream big. Let's build something together.
The site homepage provides quick access to the library of content on the Design Squad website by organizing it by themes that appeal to kids (fashion, food, vehicles, animals, sports, etc.). Blog posts also highlight inspiring engineering and DIY content from across the web. The blog engages with the DESIGN SQUAD NATION community directly by including calls to action, how-to challenges, aspirational examples of kid-made content on the site, and first person video and messages from Nate and Deysi—sharing both the fun and the failures that are a part of the design process.
The Build section features hands-on projects with short demo videos and step-by-step photo instructions. Designed to be completed at home with common materials, these projects make building a social activity connected to interests that kids already have. As always, users will be encouraged to share their completed projects on the Design Squad website.
In the Share section, kids can use their PBS KIDS GO! login to contribute to the safe, fully-moderated online community. Kids can start a project by sharing an idea, or contribute to an existing project by sending in a sketch or a photo.
Kids can also join a new kind of project that encourages them to come together to express a solution to a specific challenge posed by hosts Nate and Deysi or the community, and in doing so, earn a special virtual sticker. But here’s the catch: only if a certain number of players contribute to a Team Challenge within a limited time period, will the prize be awarded. Framing this design challenge with game-like elements (time limit, many contributors, specific goal, special prize) encourages more focused action from the community, reinforces that design and engineering is something the involves many people, and provides a reason for kids to bring their friends into the action.
This section is where we're rolling out a series of contests 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 small prize.
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 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 Video Section. Like other areas of the website, videos will be 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 Everybody page is like the community bulletin board, featuring a display of high-scoring designs and editors picks. Kids can also browse through a list of community members and explore their Me pages and designs.
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.