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Educational Outreach Elements

To achieve ZOOM's educational outreach goals, there have been a number of multimedia outreach efforts during the show's run. These include the ZOOMsci Activity Guide; ZOOMzones; ZOOMCamp-in; ZOOM Into Action; ZOOMlocal/national; ZOOM into Engineering; ZOOMsci: Explore Science at Home; and ClubZOOM Science and ClubZOOM Engineering.

Each outreach effort integrates its own special take on ZOOM's math and science goals. The ZOOMsci Activity Guide focuses on building kids' basic skills and interest in science and math. ZOOMzones are interactive exhibits located in museums where families can do ZOOM activities together. ZOOM Camp-in combined sleepovers at museums with the exploration of ZOOM-related themes. ClubZOOM Science and Engineering gives after-school providers the resources they need to offer fun "science and engineering clubs." ZOOM into Engineering pairs volunteer engineers with kids. ZOOM Into Action motivates kids and families to volunteer. And ZOOMlocal/national provides opportunities for public television stations across the country to add local content to the ZOOM series.

As previously mentioned, this case study focuses on the Season 5 outreach for ZOOM, all of which is designed to inspire kids to invent, build, brainstorm, tinker, design, and work together. Below are all the elements of ZOOM's Season 5 outreach activities:


Zoom Activity Guide.
View activity guide cover

  • ClubZOOM Engineering Activity Guide
    The ClubZOOM Engineering Activity Guide helps after-school providers, engineers, and other educators run a six-meeting ClubZOOM Engineering program with kids ages 8-11. The guide includes tips for leading the activities, reproducible handouts for kids, and postings to put on the ClubZOOM Bulletin Board. If kids want to continue to explore once they've finished all the activities, additional activities and resources are provided. Other components include the following:
    • ClubZOOM Training Guidelines -- These guidelines provide training information for partners to use with volunteers or their staff.
    • ClubZOOM Video -- This video contains a special welcome from the ZOOM cast, plus program segments showing the cast doing each activity.
    • ClubZOOM Membership Card -- Kids wear this reproducible membership card, which can be copied on colored paper.
    • ClubZOOM Certificate -- At the final club meeting, each kid receives a certificate, complete with the cast members' signatures.
  • ZOOM Into Action
    In Season 5, ZOOM continued to work with PBS stations and other audiences to promote ZOOM Into Action. Part of this campaign involves distributing the ZOOM Into Action booklets to partners as a tool to help motivate kids and families to volunteer. This booklet offers ideas for projects and suggestions for making the volunteering experience fun and rewarding.
View cover of ZOOMerang

  • ZOOMerang
    A ZOOMerang is a colorful, illustrated kids' booklet that contains activity ideas from the series. With its unique 6" x 4 1/2" size, each issue of ZOOMerang has 12 panels and is mailed to every child who writes to the show; current and back issues are also available on the ZOOM Web site. Several ZOOMerangs are produced each season. All the material in the ZOOMerangs (except the design and illustration) has been sent in by kids.
ZOOM Activity Sheet.
View page from ZOOMerang

  • Activity Sheets
    Each season, new ZOOM activity sheets are developed that feature instructions kids can use to do the activities from the show. This season, WGBH packaged 90 activities from all five seasons of ZOOM. These were distributed to museums, public television stations, and after-school programs. PDF versions are also posted on the ZOOM Web site.

    In addition, packets of engineering activities were developed and distributed to previous partners, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Boys & Girls Clubs of America, museums, and PBS stations to further their ongoing educational outreach.
  • Magazine Inserts
    ZOOM worked with Weekly Reader to create an insert featuring ZOOM Into Action and ZOOMlocal. These were distributed in schools to nearly 800,000 fourth graders through Weekly Reader's fourth-grade magazine. The insert was a call to action for kids across the country to send their volunteer stories to their local PBS stations. It also celebrated kid volunteers who were featured on the series by ZOOMlocal stations.

    As part of the arrangement, Weekly Reader featured ZOOM activities in Science Spin magazine throughout the 2003 season.

The ZOOMlocal/national initiative, established in Season 4 and continued in Season 5, enables public television stations to insert local content into designated segments of nationally broadcast ZOOM episodes. For example, a ZOOMlocal station can create opening "Welcomes" that feature kids from their communities and identify their station's call letters. They can also create local WhatZup, ZOOM Into Action, and good-bye/production credits. In addition, ZOOM creates and provides customized local openings for all ZOOMlocal stations and gives stations small grants to help cover their production and other related costs for participating in this initiative.

Zoom Zones.

ZOOMzones are exhibit spaces in museums and other institutions around the country where kids can visit and do activities from the ZOOM series. New zones are expected to open in Tucson, Ariz.; Wilmington, N.C.; and Spokane, Wash. ZOOMzones already exist at the following locations:

Little Rock, Ark.
San Jose, Calif.
West Hartford, Conn.
Atlanta, Ga.
Alexandria, La.
New Orleans, La.
Boston, Mass.
North Easton, Mass.
Albuquerque, N.M.
Horseheads, N.Y.
Dayton, Ohio
Mansfield, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio
Providence, R.I.
Chattanooga, Tenn.
Fort Worth, Tex.
Houston, Tex.
San Antonio, Tex.
Danville, Va.
Everett, Wash.
Casper, Wyo.


Zoom Homepage.
View Web site -- Through an average of 16,000 e-mails per week, 540 letters per week, and 32,000 visits per day, kids send activity ideas, recipes, poems, jokes, and other materials to fuel the more than 20 features that make up the site. Highlights from the site include the following:

  • CafeZOOM -- Yummy snack recipes
  • WhatZup -- Kids tell ZOOM what they think!
  • ZOOMdo -- Arts and crafts activities
  • ZOOMgames -- Games from the show
  • ZOOMphenom -- Cool tricks that seem like magic, but aren't
  • ZOOMsci -- Science and math experiments
  • ZOOMvid -- Videos and animations from kids across the country
  • ZOOMzinger -- Challenges to strain your brain and bend your body
  • Zoops -- Embarrassing moments, as told by ZOOMers around the country

The adult section of the site, ZOOMtoo for Parents & Educators, includes information and resources on various ZOOM themes, such as ZOOM into Engineering, ZOOM Into Action, ZOOM into Science, printable activity pages, and preschool activities.

Person-to-Person Activities

  • ZOOM trained the following individuals to use the ClubZOOM Engineering Activity Guide:
    • 100 4-H Council staff
    • 25 Girl Scout leaders
    • 150 pre-service teachers and teacher mentors in the Greater Boston area
    • 250 staff from Boys & Girls Clubs of America nationwide
    • 100 staff members from 21st Century Community Learning Center program
    • 250 engineers from the RE-SEED program of Northeastern University, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
    • 150 Massachusetts and Connecticut science teachers
    • 20 museum professionals at the Museum Institute for Teaching Science (MITS)
  • ZOOM participated in the following events:
    • ZOOM into Engineering Day at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. (5,000 visitors)
    • Museum of Science ZOOM into Engineering event, held during National Engineers Week (13,000 visitors)
    • Taste of Arlington (Va.) (5,000 visitors)
    • Capitol Hill Day (shared ZOOM resources with Hill staff and their families)
    • WGBH Ice Cream Fun Fest
  • ZOOM conference participation
    • National Center for Outreach (NCO) -- co-presented with DragonFly TV and Cyberchase
    • Education Summit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America -- unveiled and disseminated the ClubZOOM Engineering Activity Guide
    • National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
    • Massachusetts Science Teachers Association

Next > Outcomes

In this section:


    Mister Rogers'

    Sesame Street


        Goals & Audience

>      Educational
        Outreach Elements


        Challenges &
        Lessons Learned

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