New Tools for Supporting Learning in Promise Neighborhoods: Plum Landing and Design Squad Global

03 Aug 2018 |

Over the past five years, PBS Kids and Promise Neighborhoods have been on a learning journey to better understand how online programs can support students as they build STEM skills and foster a global mindedness. In June, PNI co-hosted a webinar with WGBH/PBS Kids highlighting two new online learning platforms available to Promise Neighborhood sites to support project-based learning- Plum Landing and Design Squad Global- as well as opportunities to implement the platforms in Promise Neighborhood schools.

Plum Landing: WGBH Boston, in collaboration with EDC’s Center for Children & Technology and in partnership with outdoor health and education programs across the country, has developed a new collection of resources, the PLUM LANDING Explore Outdoors Toolkit, based on the award-winning PBS KIDS digital project PLUM LANDING. . The PLUM LANDING Explore Toolkit was designed via an iterative research and design process among informal educators, families, and developers (including media producers, game designers, and editorial staff), and researchers, as well as collaborative testing with two outdoor prescription pilot sites, and other informal learning organizations (including several Promise Neighborhoods site staff, who served as reviewers).

The mission of the Toolkit is to get kids and families—with a focus on those who live in urban areasphysically active and engaged in environmental science exploration, and to bring outdoor science learning activities to programs that serve youth and families. Materials are available in English and Spanish with guides for both parents and educators. Explore dozens of activities to get kids excited about exploring science in their neighborhood. Activities are divided into afterschool, educator-led, and self-guided categories, so no matter what type of programming you offer, you’ll find activities to suit it. Help your educator staff boost their skills with PLUM LANDING’s new training videos which feature best practices for organizing and leading outdoor science activities. Set up your own PLUM outdoor program to help kids ages 6 to 9 and their families get outdoors and have fun learning science with the entire PLUM LANDING Explore Outdoors Toolkit suite of resources!

You can view the Toolkit here. Please contact Brianne Keith with any questions at


Become a PLUM study partner site! WGBH/PLUM LANDING is seeking programs that offer guided programming and events for families with kids ages 6-9 and/or afterschool programming for kids ages 6-9 from across the US to try out new PLUM LANDING activities and resources. Each parent or educator/guide that participates in the field test will receive a $25 gift card and any afterschool program that participates will receive a donation of $100. Programs should be based in an urban setting, serve families with kids ages 6-9, and be able try out the activities in Summer or Fall of 2018. Field testers will be asked to distribute & collect surveys to and from parents, and participate in a web-based or phone survey. Contact Dr. Christine Paulsen [] to participate.

Design Squad Global: Through Design Squad Global (DSG), kids ages 10–13 are connected to out-of-school-time programs around the world! In DSG clubs, kids explore engineering through fun-packed, high energy, hands-on activities, such as designing and building an emergency shelter or a structure that can withstand an earthquake. Through DSG, kids also get a special opportunity: the chance to work alongside a partner club from another country. Partner clubs share their experiences by exchanging design ideas, photos, and videos. Along the way, they develop their global competency by learning more about each other’s cultures, communities, and lives.

You can join other Promise Neighborhoods who have launched DSG and register to become a partner club. Choose between two options (a 6-week or a 12-week program) and you’ll be matched with a different school site. Learn more about starting a club here: There are two upcoming rounds, so register now!

Club Dates: September 15th-December 15th, 2018

Registration : August 15th, 2018

For any questions, or to register to start a club, please contact Saranya Sathananthan at