Empowering learners to create a STEM-focused webpage about biodiversity in their neighborhoods

TASCasaurus is a pilot project for engaging kids in fourth to eighth grades to re-mix websites and research STEM content. It was implemented in six New York City after-school programs in 2011 and was a partnership between Hive NYC, The After School Corporation (TASC) and MOUSE. The project was inspired by the Hackasaurus curriculum and web-making workshops piloted by Hive NYC and MOUSE in 2009. In this instance, after-school coordinators were trained to use the free, open-source tool X-Ray Goggles through professional development. The coordinators then lead a series of workshops for youth, applying their disciplinary knowledge to their new skill set. In these workshops, students were given a brief introduction to HTML and CSS in relation to a final STEM challenge that varied from school to school.

The three main goals of TASCasaurus were to:

1. Use technology to engage 200 underrepresented youth from 10 schools in a project that will increase both their digital literacy and their interest in STEM.

2. Prepare and motivate community educators to deliver technology-enabled, student-driven learning activities.

3. Establish a turnkey model that can be quickly disseminated among established after-school networks..

A curriculum was developed and shared publicly. It enabled participants to understand that:

  • “Hacking” has always been a key element in the creative process. It is a constructive, collaborative activity, not a destructive one.
  • What the code behind a website looks like; how they can change the site using the X-Ray Goggles; and how a website changes when its code is altered.
  • The Web is made out of building blocks that they can rearrange to create new things through an iterative process.
  • HTML is a language used to tell computers how to build webpages so that humans can consume them
  • CSS means cascading style sheets
  • Parts of a webpage include HTML, CSS, graphic assets and text content that an element is the combination of an opening and closing tag and the content in between
  • Biodiversity is the variety of life on our planet and why it’s important to humans

and enables learners to :

  • Use the browser to remix content found on the web.
  • Tweak or enter a URL
  • Switch between browser tabs
  • Use keyboard shortcuts (i.e. for copying and pasting)
  • Right-click and scroll with the mouse
  • Use the Goggles to replace both text and images on a site
  • Share a hacked page with peers
  • Use a search engine to find specific content
  • Find the content he/she was looking for
  • Revisit hackasaurus.org or the MDN for resources
  • Create text on a webpage using basic HTML tags
  • Recognize HTML and CSS
  • Install the X-Ray Goggles
  • Upload a picture or drawing for insertion in a website
    use direct observations and online research to create a website

Curriculum is below:

This project was funded by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in 2012.

Lead Organization:
The After School Corporation

Partner Organizations:

Project Goal:
Prepare and motivate community educators to deliver technology-enabled, student-driven learning opportunities using X-Ray Goggles and other Webmaker tools.

Project Tags:
Media Literacy & Production, STEM, Webmaking

Project Portfolio