Iridescent Curiosity Machine Program

submission by iridescent

About Your Application

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Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

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Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


Iridescent is a STEM education nonprofit that connects families in underserved communities with scientists and engineers from academia and industry and nurtures these relationships over time with the help of technology and hands on activities.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


Iridescent proposes to provide year-long STEM hands on curriculum and support to students, teachers and parents from two selected Title 1 elementary schools in Los Angeles. Iridescent will implement a model that deeply engages and trains parents, educators and STEM mentors - to collectively support students in high quality, hands-on STEM learning.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County:

Frank Del Olmo Elementary and Western Elementary

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics? (check all that apply)

Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs

Percentage of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index* scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher education institutions, and the workforce) (Dream Metric)

Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)

Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools (Dream Metric)

Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.


Iridescent’s approach connects families in underserved communities with scientists and engineers from academia and industry and nurtures these relationships over time with the help of technology. Iridescent supports:
• Strong Parental Training & Involvement: Parents learn alongside their children to acquire knowledge and skills to support their children’s development of critical thinking and problem- solving skills.
• Multi-year access to STEM experts from Industry & Universities: STEM professionals are trained to develop and teach unique hands-on projects and provide multi-year mentorship to deepen conceptual knowledge
• Technology Platform for Scale & Multi-year Engagement: Iridescent trains parents and educators to use its online curriculum and mentoring platform
Iridescent will support up to 300/school, and will:
Support 8 educators through in-person and online training, in using the Curiosity Machine curriculum in their classroom and in out-of-school programs to increase parental involvement and build a strong learning community.
Recruit and train LA based STEM mentors (university students and/or industry professionals) to mentor students online, support educators using the curriculum in class, and lead the Curiosity Machine Course after school with students and their families.
Iridescent will support 40 parents, who will learn to facilitate hands-on STEM projects, foster a growth mindset and help children develop critical thinking skills. Parents will have access to all training modules to deepen their learning.
Support the implementation of 2 Curiosity Machine Courses at each school with the goals to inspire participants with cutting-edge innovations from industry and research, build a long-term relationship between engineers and families, model the engineering design process and effective strategies for working through failure, and introduce the Curiosity Machine platform as a resource for continued learning at home.
Iridescent was recently part of a five-year NSF longitudinal study that revealed that after its programs:
90% of the students understood science and engineering better
88% of students had a better understanding of what jobs are available in those fields.
91% of parents said they would encourage their child to pursue a STEM education or career.
94% of parents did more hands-on science projects with their children at home, demonstrating that involving parents is effective in extending learning beyond the program.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


Iridescent will evaluate program data from each stakeholder group (engineers, parents, educators and students).

Student learning gains: Based on prior results and external evaluations, we anticipate students will make gains across two main areas: interest in STEM careers and higher education, and increase in higher-order cognitive traits of persistence, creativity, curiosity and the engineering design process. Trained mentors will score projects according to evidence-based assessment rubric. A technology-based platform such as Curiosity Machine allows evidence-based assessment for each student – with efficiency and scale – instead of relying on pen and paper pre- and post- surveys.
Impact on Parents & Teachers: We will use validated surveys to assess the impact of Iridescent’s training parents and teachers. All surveys will use validated questions and are based on research on self-efficacy, STEM project based learning, parental involvement, educator efficacy and mindsets.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

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Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015