Colorwheel Toys

Interview – Karin Forssell

Posted on: January 31, 2012

We spoke to Karin Forssell about educational research in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). She recommended several good books and papers to read, discussed research that had been done, and her own personal experiences and feelings about raising a daughter who is going through the “pink phase.”

Books/papers to read

  • Unlocking the Clubhouse, by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher
  • The research of Yasmin Kafai:  “As part of her policy work, she wrote Under the Microscope: A Decade of Gender Equity Interventions in the Sciences(2004)”

Key Learnings

  • Though girls go through a “pink phase” and play with toys like barbies and Lego Friends that might be worrisome to parents, what is important is the quality of the play. Do they stay on the toy company’s script or do they go off script and use their imagination?
  • Children like teaching. You can get children thinking by having them teach Kermit the Frog something. After children teach Kermit they are more willing to try a new task than before they taught Kermit. Additionally, in her personal experience, Karin said that kids love teaching other kids or their parents new concepts.
  • For children that are interested in STEM fields to be successful, it really helps to have one or both parents work in a STEM field. Would there be a way to recreate that support in our toy?
  • We should make sure our toy is an appropriate match between the abilities of the girls and the level that they expect to be challenged at.

Other toys to look at:

  • Topobo, “a construction kit with kinetic memory”
  • PicoCricket, “invention kit that integrates art and technology”
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