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YouTube stars boosting STEM+X learning

STEM+X is serious business for the guys from How Ridiculous, the popular YouTube show with more than one million subscribers.

The ambitious Aussie trio behind the YouTube show, How Ridiculous, are huge online stars, with their popular videos so far garnering more than 150 million views.

The group, made up of Perth friends Brett Stanford, Derek Herron and Scott Gaunson, began filming themselves attempting increasingly difficult basketball shots, before taking on other challenges that others wouldn’t think possible.

And while their adventures may seem madcap, there’s actually a great deal of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) knowledge involved behind the scenes of every clip.

At NBN Co, we’re excited to announce that we’ve recently joined forces with the How Ridiculous team to promote the importance of STEM to school-age students around Australia, through our NBN Co STEM+X initiative.

The importance of STEM

Technology innovations have and are continuing to change the nature of many industries. Proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) disciplines is vital for Australia to compete successfully in the 21st century economy.

To meet future employment requirements, children of today need a solid foundation in STEM. And to foster a passion for these subjects, it makes a big difference if kids can witness how STEM can be applied across everyday life, as well as in the workplace.

NBN Co STEM+X initiative

The recently launched NBN Co STEM+X initiative aims to help equip young Australians with STEM skills – regardless of their geographical location.

The ‘X’ in STEM+X refers to encouraging children to participate in STEM subjects by combining them with their own interests. For example, kids who love to cook can see how science comes into play in the kitchen, while sporting children can see how data helps improve performance on the field. Through the lens of STEM+X, students will tap into their personal interests and passions to witness the role STEM plays outside the classroom.

In 2018, the NBN Co STEM+X initiative will reach out to a selection of Australian schools already connected to fast broadband to help students get to know more about STEM.

"We’ve been fortunate to have many great opportunities afforded to us and we’re stoked that this campaign is going to provide similarly great opportunities for kids in Australia."

This multifaceted program will begin with a hands-on workshop at each school. Students will then be invited to enter the ‘Futurists’ Fair’ – a virtual learning competition challenging them to use STEM+X to solve a problem faced by their community.

And, in what will certainly be a big hit with the students, Brett and Scott from How Ridiculous will form part of the Futurists’ Fair judging panel. They will also reward the winners with an in-person visit to their school to host a special STEM+X learning session.

How Ridiculous is serious about STEM+X

The team at How Ridiculous uses knowledge of science and other STEM skills to make fun and increasingly surprising family-friendly videos.

According to the team, “We love the fact that the STEM+X initiative is all about helping young Aussies, regardless of where they live, develop their skills in a variety of areas to enable them to flourish in our complex modern world. We’ve been fortunate to have many great opportunities afforded to us and we’re stoked that this campaign is going to provide similarly great opportunities for kids in Australia.”

Brett, Derek and Scott all acknowledge that they were lucky to get a high-quality STEM education from an early age – which they have used to succeed in life. They learned to work hard at their skills – both those that came easily and those that didn’t. And they also learned to think ‘outside the box’ to solve problems and to challenge themselves. This mindset has proven invaluable for How Ridiculous as the team progressed from being childhood friends to uni mates to colleagues running a successful business.

Fostering STEM+X with fast broadband

NBN Co helps facilitate STEM learning by enabling fast and reliable internet access to both metro and rural areas. Fast internet helps provide the opportunity for students to grow their areas of interest and to develop their skills as they experiment and learn.

As demonstrated by How Ridiculous, online learning provides kids with a limitless supply of inspiration from all corners of the globe. With the help of fast broadband, they can access a world of ideas to ignite their curiosity, get them thinking in new ways, and prepare them for success in the future.

How Ridiculous 'Oobleck' Experiment

Conduct a STEM experiment at home by making ‘Oobleck’ slime!

1. Mix 1 part water with 2 parts cornstarch in a bowl or container. (This is best done by slowly adding the cornstarch to the water and stirring it in as you go.)

2. Once you've mixed it all together, play around with the 'Oobleck' mixture with your hands. You will notice it acts more like a solid when you move your hand fast, and more like a liquid with slow and gentle movements.

3. Now to test it out by dropping some objects!

4. Fill up a similar container just with water and have it nearby so you can compare it with the 'Oobleck'.

5. Get a small object, like a golf or tennis ball, and drop it onto the 'Oobleck' from eye-level height. Notice what happens when it initially lands and afterwards.

6. Repeat the previous step but, this time, with the water. Note the differences between the water and the 'Oobleck'.

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