The Nobel Explorers Constructive Colonel Badge

Think back to a time when your colleague or classmate has done something you didn’t like. Did you struggle with how to handle it? Is there a way to tell them you disagree without hurting their feelings? The alternative is to say nothing, but potentially risking the future of the whole project.

Providing your teammates with actionable and constructive feedback is a skill we hold very high in our soft skills training for all Explorers. This means you learn how to provide feedback that is results-oriented and offers concrete suggestions on what can be done to improve the project.

Let’s illustrate this. Instead of saying “I don’t like the colors on our website,” – which can be perceived as judgmental and less useful for the feedback recipient – you could try saying “I think we have done a great job organizing parts of our website so far. One thing I would change is the color of the background. That yellow color makes it hard for me to look at the website for a long time. How about we change it to a darker shade of blue? It would be more comfortable to look at, and it matches our topic of ocean life better.”

Our Nobel Explorers have a chance to start practicing this skill as early as the mini project or intro class, and as they go on we dedicate more and more attention to this complex but important skill.

We believe that we all grow through real, constructive feedback, that comes from a good place. Our program is organized in a way that supports and promotes collaboration, so providing feedback is inevitable and valuable!

Asking and providing feedback is something you can practice as well! Leave a review on Facebook, Google and let us know what you enjoyed and what you like to see more of! Book a session with me, Daria, for personalized feedback on your Explorer’s improvement and growth journey!

Learn more about Daria.

Five STEM Movies that Inspire

We’re all aware that STEM careers are and will be in demand. So how to get young people excited about STEM? We suggest watching movies! Movies are great entertainment, they can teach us about life, and at the same time, be a source of educational information. Below you can find five inspiring STEM movies we believe everybody should watch. We chose movies that not only preach STEM but also depict STEM-related issues, such as STEM equity.

The LEGO Movie

Do your kids love movies about saving the world? Then this is just the one for them! It’s about a very ordinary LEGO mini-figure who’s mistakenly identified as extraordinary and the key to saving his LEGO world. Throughout the movie, children can see the engineering design process in action – things are built and rebuilt over and over and over again.

Apart from showing us how engineering is fun and awesome, the movie also illustrates that the combination of engineering, creativity, and teamwork are crucial today.


The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game is based on the true life story of Alan Turing, the British mathematical genius. Turing cracked the seemingly unbreakable German Enigma code during World War II, with the help of an innovative computer he built. Thanks to using math, engineering, and still-to-be-invented computer science, he helped turn the tide of the war and save countless lives!

Can machines think? This question is addressed by Turing in the movie and his arguments and analysis teach us about artificial intelligence.

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures is the true story of three African-American mathematicians, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson, known as the human computers, who worked for NASA. They were given the task of calculating the launch of John Glenn into orbit and guaranteeing his safe return.

The movie highlights the ongoing legacy of women and minorities in STEM and demonstrates how these women fought for their rights (and won!). It can teach your kids a lot about STEM equity and can inspire young women to explore STEM for themselves. 

The Theory of Everything

Love story? Fighting for life? STEM? Success? The Theory of Everything has it all. It is an inspirational story about the most celebrated theoretical physicist of our time, Stephen Hawking. The successor to Einstein, as he was called, wrote his thesis on black hole dynamics, in which he proposed that a black hole created the universe in a Big Bang, that it will emit heat, and that it will end in a Big Crunch (yikes!).

His accomplishments were even more remarkable considering that he was fighting motor neuron disease for much of his life. His example teaches us that we can achieve a great deal despite challenges we may encounter in life.


You probably wonder what’s the connection between one of the superheroes and STEM. Well, here’s why we’ve chosen this movie.

Peter Parker got his powers from a radioactive spider bite. After the accident left him super-strong and super-spidery, Parker himself invented most of the outfits and gadgets that he uses day-to-day! We believe that this was possible thanks to the knowledge he acquired in STEM high school (this was revealed in Spider-Man: Homecoming). So if your kid is a superhero/Spiderman fan, getting them interested in STEM will be no trouble!



Women in STEM: Five Inspirational Stories

Have you ever been negatively stereotyped for being a young woman in STEM? Unfortunately, you’re not the only one. The old stereotype of girls being bad at STEM is as alive as ever. A great way to put an end to this is to provide young women with role models who can motivate them to be persistent and succeed.

On this Business Women’s Day, we’re celebrating women in STEM who empower and motivate all girls and women who work (or dream about working) in STEM. We’re sharing the stories of five remarkable women who changed the world with their stories. We hope they’ll inspire you as they inspire us!

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin with microscope

Image: Jenifer Glyn/Wikimedia Commons

Rosalind Franklin studied physics and chemistry and later earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry, which enabled her to travel and teach around the world. While working at King’s College, Cambridge, she spent hours studying DNA structure with X-ray diffraction. It was she who took a photo of DNA and proved it was a double helix.

Sadly, her achievement wasn’t acknowledged at that time. You wonder why? There is some controversy indicating that Francis Crick and James Watson used Franklin’s findings as theirs in their own publications. It was quite some time until she emerged from the shadow of these two powerful men and her contribution was fully recognized.

Radia Perlman

Radia Perlmand with book

Image: Wikipedia

We couldn’t imagine the world today without the internet, right? Well, if it weren’t for Radia Perlman, we might not have had it. The Mother of the Internet, as she’s called, developed the algorithm behind the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), which is fundamental to the operation of network bridges. She also invented TRILL (TRansparent Interconnection of Lots of Links) to correct the limitations of STP.

A wildly creative thinker, Dr. Perlman even developed a child-friendly programming language. She authored a textbook on networking and network security and holds more than 100 issued patents.

Mae C. Jemison

Mae Jemison jumping

Image: NASA

As a little girl, Mae Jemison loved science and stargazing and dreamed of going into space. That dream came true on September 12, 1992. She became the first African-American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. There she conducted experiments on motion sickness, weightlessness, and bone cells.

As if that weren’t enough, Jemison is a dancer and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. In 1993, she resigned from NASA and began her teaching career. Today, she is founder and president of two technology companies and focuses on improving healthcare in Africa and advancing technology in developing countries. Is there anything Mae can’t do? She’s truly inspiring!

Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton next to the pages of code

Image: Draper Laboratory

Talking about space, we mustn’t forget Margaret Hamilton, whose software sent Apollo 11 to the moon. Also, when errors occurred, the software she created managed to save the lives of the Apollo 11 astronauts – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. Besides that, she was one of the first computer software programmers. She also coined the term software engineer.

Hamilton was a director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, and later became the founder and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, Inc. Hamilton was the recipient of various honors, including NASA’s Exceptional Space Act Award (2003). You’ve probably already seen the picture of her alongside Katie Bouman, when Katie took a picture of the black hole this year.

Cynthia Breazeal

Cynthia Breazeal with the robot she made

Image: Jibo

After seeing “Star Wars” for the first time as a young girl, Cynthia Breazeal began to dream of building personal robots. Guess what? She did it! Breazeal is a pioneer in Social Robotics and Human Robot Interaction.

She’s developed some of the world’s most famous robotic creatures – ranging from small hexapod robots to embedding robotic technologies into familiar everyday artifacts, and creating highly expressive humanoid robots and robot characters. Jibo, Kismet, and Leonardo are only some of the famous social robots she’s made.

And, one more thing…

Finally, we have one piece of advice for you or every young woman with dreams and goals seemingly out of reach. Never underestimate yourself! Arianne Hunter, a woman in STEM, explained her early self-doubts:

If I would’ve told myself five years ago that I  would have the number of publications, awards, and honors… I would have probably laughed hysterically. I would’ve thought it was impossible for a black female scientist to do those things.

And yet, today she holds a doctorate in Organic Chemistry/Molecular Pharmacology, is the founder of the nonprofit, “We Do Science, Too,” and has been recognized and awarded for her advocacy work for women and minorities in STEM.



What’s Wrong With STEM Education In Schools: 4 Ways to Fix It

STEM is all the hype right now: parents want their kids to get into STEM education, kids want to get into STEM education – heck, we wouldn’t be surprised if even their dogs secretly wanted them to get into STEM education! You might consider that last one a bit  ‘barking mad’ but you get the point.

And while that’s all great, one thing’s been proven time and time again: in their current state, schools can’t provide the kind of STEM education necessary for kids to succeed.

We want to see every single kid nail it, so without further ado – here are the top 4 reasons why that’s not happening in education right now.

  1. Students are Initially Interested in STEM – But Not For Long.

This is a depressing notion, but one we have to consider and work hard to change. We just mentioned that kids want to get into STEM, so what’s going on here?  Are they interested or not?

It’s true that kids start out very enthusiastically.  After all, what’s not to like? They can create amazing things with STEM, and have a great future while doing what they love!

And that’s where the problem arises: in a school context, they aren’t creating great things. They aren’t getting a chance to express themselves creatively, or inspired to do something innovative. As with the rest of our school curriculum, they’re expected to simply follow instructions and remain inside the box.

Now imagine if Elon Musk never thought outside the box. Do you think he’d ever have sent a Roadster into space? Hardly. Yet, that’s exactly what’s lacking in schools. Kids aren’t being taught to think in a way that requires creativity and problem-solving: they’re being told to memorize algorithms and rules. And not much else.

Is it so strange then  that their initial fire fizzles out after they discover it’s nothing like the fantastic thing they were looking forward to?

  1. STEM is Much More Than a Set of Hard Skills.

To be successful in STEM, kids need to be fluent in all kinds of cognitive and soft skills, some of which we’ve already mentioned. For example, if they’re working on a project with a couple of other people, understanding the basics of teamwork – giving feedback, asking questions, managing time in a good way – are crucial. Now the lack of technical skills can be bridged. If your child doesn’t know something, another one can show them – but the lack of teamwork and leadership skills is what leads to projects failing.

Here’s an example: all the tasks are chosen and an equal amount is given to each team member. Now, John needs to finish the basics of the website before Nancy can apply the design to it. The trouble is – John keeps on being late with his tasks due to his poor time management skills. Nancy is frustrated, but she doesn’t know how to approach the situation, so she lets it be. The whole thing ends with an unfinished website, poor design, and the lack of kids’ interest (see reason #1) in STEM. And none of it is because these kids lack the technical skills: it’s because they lack people skills.

Even Google thinks these skills are a must if you want to have any chance of succeeding in the 21st century. That’s another thing we pride ourselves in: Nobel Explorers STEM Camp is based on the idea that hard skills aren’t enough, so our educators make sure kids learn how to properly work in and lead teams as well.

It’s the full package.

  1. STEM Career Centers Aren’t Easily Accessible to Everyone.

We rarely hear about people outside large urban areas achieving something in STEM, but it’s hard to believe that not a single person from a smaller town or even a village is interested in STEM.

The sad truth is: there are people who are very interested, but centers for that kind of education are too distant from them, so they have to make do. Making do in this case usually means having an even less structured STEM education. If large towns that get the lion’s share of the budget can’t get it right, what can we expect of smaller places where schools are barely making ends meet? And with such a gaping hole in their knowledge, students can’t get into colleges that would allow them to prosper.

It’s a vicious cycle.

We were well aware of that when creating Nobel Explorers, which is why our Online Global STEM Camp is accessible to anyone with a stable internet connection, no matter where on the planet they are!

  1. Project-Based Learning? What’s That?

Project-Based Learning or PBL is an approach in which students learn by doing. It sounds very logical when you put it that way, doesn’t it? Try explaining to someone how to ride a bike, without letting them try it. Or how to tie their shoes! They could be really smart but …

But for some reason, our school curriculum seems fixated on the idea that theoretical knowledge, basically rote learning, is the be-all and end-all of education. Not so much. You can memorize any number of great poems, but that won’t teach you how to write a masterpiece of your own. That takes experimenting with words and trial and error.

With STEM, it’s even more difficult, because students need to understand how each line of code ties into the next one, by – you guessed it – trial and error! It’s the only way they can be able to a) see the bigger picture and start experimenting, and b) (even more important, if you ask us) get motivated to continue learning.

Imagine if you were never able to see the fruits of your labor, nor understand what the point of your hard work is in the first place. You’re told to move some boxes around and nothing else. What’s in the boxes? Is that work important? What are you contributing to? These are all things you’d want to know if you’re to be motivated to keep on working. Otherwise, you’d be just  doing it robotically, all the while looking for a better job.

Now imagine sending your kid to a STEM class. They’re writing these codes, they know in theory what they do, and then they’re graded for it. They don’t create anything, nor are they allowed to participate in choosing the project, the topic, the way it’s all going to look.

PBL allows them to do exactly that, and not only learn better by doing it, but get excited about what they’re doing, and get motivated to learn more! Just take a look at these awesome websites our amazing interns created in only a week, without any prior STEM knowledge! It looks insane – but it’s all about teaching them the right way.


STEM may be all the hype right now, but research shows that including it in school education isn’t yielding the expected results. Due to its poor implementation and the lack of soft skills and PBL, as well as the whole situation being even more complicated for kids who come from smaller cities, students are lacking the excitement and knowledge to keep on pursuing it. But thanks to Nobel’s amazing STEM rockstars, we’ve come up with a solution. If you want your kid to be successful in STEM and life in general, sign them up for one of our many projects. Until our school curriculum is fixed, it’s the only way they’ll get that.

Me waiting for our school curriculum to get STEM right