WGBH News and Media Relations


October 5, 2016

WGBH’s Design Squad Global Launches Clubs for Kids


New Program Helps Children Tackle Real-World Engineering and Invention Projects While Connecting with Kids in Other Countries


October 5, 2016 (Boston, MA) – WGBH’s Design Squad Global, the Emmy® Award-winning PBS KIDS website, is set to launch its global Clubs initiative, where kids in after-school programs around the world engage in a multi-week program designed to increase their understanding of engineering and expand cross-cultural engagement. Club Leaders worldwide—from South America to the Middle East to the US—will lead kids ages 10-to-13 in real-world engineering projects that are meaningful and relevant to their communities.

Created by WGBH Boston and made possible with support from the National Science Foundation and The Lemelson Foundation, DSG Clubs build on Design Squad’s proven track record of providing kids with the opportunity to explore real-world engineering. With DSG Clubs, kids can gain first-hand experience in engineering and develop global competency through collaboration with people who have different cultures, perspectives, and concerns.

Starting October 15th, DSG Clubs in 16 states (Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) and six countries (Botswana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Jordan, Malawi, and South Africa) will be matched to learn about each other while collaborating on engineering projects. The Clubs are provided a guide that includes fun-packed, high-energy, hands-on activities; training; and professional development videos—all pilot tested to give Club Leaders the tools they need.

“Results of the Clubs’ field-tests in the U.S. and southern Africa were tremendously positive,” said Marisa Wolsky, DSG’s Executive Producer. “Activities had a measurable impact on kids’ understanding of engineering, their interest in people and places around the globe, and confidence to solve problems and create change.”

All the Clubs launching in October will be doing the same activities each week, like designing and building an emergency shelter or a structure that can withstand an earthquake. Partner clubs will share their experiences by exchanging design ideas, photos, and videos.

 “There is a growing awareness that technical skills alone aren’t enough to compete in a global economy,” says Terry Fitzpatrick, WGBH VP for Children’s Media and Education. “Design Squad Global is a kid-centric, tested way to both inspire the next generation of engineers and increase kids’ global competency.”

DSG Clubs are being disseminated through a coalition of strategic partners, including FHI 360 (which also provided training and technical assistance to pilot Clubs in Southern Africa), Girl Scouts USA, YMCA of the USA and Global Centers of Excellence, DiscoverE, Sister Cities International, National Girls Collaborative Project, Society of Women Engineers, and Every Hour Counts. 

DSG Club resources can be found on PBS LearningMedia as well as the Design Squad Global website, where kids can also play games (like the flood prevention simulation Don’t Flood the Fidgits!), and take on global challenges (inventing a way to use less water). Fun videos feature kid engineers, along with DSG hosts and role models Deysi Melgar and Nate Ball. Deysi—future aerospace engineer and professional salsa dancer—and Nate—engineer, pole vaulter, and beat boxer—draw on their experiences to dispel stereotypes and inspire kids to explore engineering.

Online registration is now open for afterschool programs and educators to host the next round of Design Squad Global clubs in early 2017. 


About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a major supplier of programming for public radio, and oversees Public Radio International (PRI). As a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom, WGBH supplies content to PBS LearningMedia, a national broadband service for teachers and students. WGBH also is a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors. More info at www.wgbh.org.


About FHI 360

A nonprofit organization with a rigorous evidence based approach, FHI 360 is dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways, through cutting-edge research, locally-driven solutions, and projects that range from health and nutrition to education, economic development, environment, and civil society. With 4,000 staff, FHI 360 serves more than 60 countries via work that is reinforced by partnerships and focused on strengthening the capacity of individuals, local organizations, and national governments. A commitment to local ownership, capacity, and sustainability underpins each of FHI 360’s projects.



PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, digital platforms and community-based programs.  Kidscreen and Webby award-winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including digital games and streaming video. PBS KIDS also offers mobile apps to help support young children’s learning. The PBS KIDS Video App is available on a variety of mobile devices and on platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One and Chromecast. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.


WGBH Media Relations

Emily Balk

Catherine Burke