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Science Storytelling

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Science Storytelling

Season 3 · Episode 7

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Marshall Escamilla is part of a team of podcasters who create Tumble, a science podcast for kids and their families. With a background in music and K-12 education, Marshall shares the purpose of Tumble and how his show tries to tell science stories. Hear his thoughts on how to bring podcasting into the classroom, how to combine listening with other learning activities, and how science education is inherently political today.

Our closing music is “Yes And” by Steve Combs, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Subscribe and leave episode reviews wherever you get your podcasts. Support Pios Labs with regular donations on Patreon, by purchasing digital teaching materials at the Pios Labs curriculum store, or by buying a copy of the reference book Engineer's Guide to Improv and Art Games by Pius Wong. You'll also be supporting educational tools and projects like Chordinates! or The Calculator Gator. Thanks to our donors and listeners for making the show possible. The K12 Engineering Education Podcast is a production of Pios Labs.


Pius Wong  0:00 

Talking to a science storyteller today on The K12 Engineering Education Podcast.


Pius Wong  0:12 

How can listening and storytelling help kids learn about science? Marshall Escamilla knows all about that. Marshall is a former teacher and one of the creators of the Tumble Science Podcast, an educational audio show aimed at kids. Tumble got a Best of 2016 podcast award from iTunes, and they've done stories ranging from bacteria farming to the real-life inspiration for Pikachu, that Japanese cartoon character. I'm Pius Wong. For today's episode, I got a chance to talk to Marshall across the Atlantic Ocean, and he shares how his show Tumble got started, how podcasting in general can be used in the classroom, and more. Listen up, next.


Pius Wong  1:02 

So, Marshall Escamilla, thank you for talking to me today.


Marshall Escamilla  1:05 

Thank you. Thanks for having me.


Pius Wong  1:07 

I'm in Texas, but you're all the way in Spain. That's pretty unusual.


Marshall Escamilla  1:11 

I am. Well, at least in Spain for the time being. I think there's a movement afoot to get out.


Pius Wong  1:18 

Oh, really?


Marshall Escamilla  1:19 

I'm not sure. Yeah. Pretty quickly after we moved here, there was a big push for Barcelona -- I mean, not Barcelona, the city, but Catalonia, which is the region that Barcelona is part of, to secede from Spain, and that political drama is still unfolding.


Pius Wong  1:39 

Yeah. I feel like -- Well, we'll get into it, but you're basically a team of journalists over there. I wonder if you could cover some of that.


Marshall Escamilla  1:48 

Oh, you know, it's hard because we're so ignorant.


Pius Wong  1:53 

Oh, okay.


Marshall Escamilla  1:55 

I mean, I've learned a lot about like local politics, here in the political situation and people's point of view. But, you know, there's there's much more still to be learned.


Pius Wong  2:06 

Yeah. Well, besides asking you about Spanish politics, I definitely wanted to ask you about your work in science and STEM and education. You have a podcast called the Tumble Podcast that is, as I understand it, targets kids. It's a science podcast for kids. For people who haven't heard about it, how would you describe it?


Marshall Escamilla  2:33 

Well, so you know, our tagline is that we tell stories of science discovery. And the main -- you know, for me, as an educator, the main thing that really drives me to do this podcast is, kind of, I think, correcting a perception that I think a lot of kids have about what science is, because, I know at least -- you know, my science education growing up, it was a lot of, like, here's the book. Learn all this stuff in the book, and then you know science. And I mean, to a certain extent, you know, science is a body of knowledge, right? But it's also, I think, more importantly, it's a process of how you find knowledge out. And, you know, it's constantly revising itself, and new information is constantly coming to light. And there's always just an enormous frontier of things that we don't know. And I think it's really important to communicate that to kids for a whole host of reasons, one of them being how they react to science as adults. Like, I think you see, a lot of our political conversation about science is revolving around, you know: these things are true and they're immutably true and they will always be true. And then when science revises it, people get all freaked out. Like, what, Pluto's not a planet anymore? What? You know? So I think that's one really important reason. And I think another is just to sort of convey the excitement of finding things out and just being curious and then coming up with a rigorous and concrete idea to actually answer a question.


Pius Wong  4:10 

So it sounds like you're kind of trying to demystify science and the scientific process as well as inspiring kids. Is that right?


Marshall Escamilla  4:19 

Yeah, I think -- Every time we answer a question -- Every one of our episodes begins with a question from a kid. Well, not every one, but I'd say, like, 95%. And, you know, we go through and we answer their question, but we don't just say, you know, if they say like, How heavy is a beluga whale? We'll say, like, beluga whales weigh this much. But here's how we found that out. Because there's always an interesting story behind every single science fact you encounter, and I think especially in earlier science education, you don't always hear the story of how we know what we know.


Pius Wong  5:03 

Right. And I've heard other people describe your show as Radiolab for kids. So for people who listen to NPR, they might know Radiolab as that show that -- They tell stories as well. They try and do a lot of things I think that you're talking about, but more aimed at adults. So how do you address these kind of heady questions? Because they are. They're big questions. How do you address that for kids?


Marshall Escamilla  5:31 

Well, I think there's a lot in what kind of language we use. I think we steer clear of jargon as much as possible and steer clear of college level vocabulary if we can. I think there's also a degree of making it fun, and I think also always making sure that the topics we're choosing aren't too, too heavy. Like, there are a lot of great Radiolab stories that I just would not share with my son.


Pius Wong  6:03 



Marshall Escamilla  6:04 

It's just, I love the story, but, you know, I don't want to have the conversation about, you know, somebody coming back from rabies, for example. That's just too dark. It's too dark. So, you know, we try to keep it a little more fun and less -- just steer clear of those types of medical stories or things that involve a lot of death and questioning our general place in the whole universe.


Pius Wong  6:40 

Yeah, they're very positive stories. I guess the humor is in it too, because you have an episode on not just the science of dogs or cats. You have the science of poop. The titles you have are very -- If you know the RL Stine book series, your titles of your episodes remind me of that.


Marshall Escamilla  7:01 

Yeah, the Tale of the -- or the Sign of the Ninja Virus and --


Pius Wong  7:05 

Right, right. Is that a deliberate choice to kind of brand everything like that?


Marshall Escamilla  7:12 

Yeah, I'd say so. I think we have internal disagreements about the titling of episodes. Lindsay, who's the co-host, and she does most of the reporting, is very adamant that every episode should be "the Blank of the Blank." So I think that adds an element of fun. I think it also can get too complex sometimes.


Pius Wong  7:39 

Sometimes you just want to say, we're talking about cats, or something.


Marshall Escamilla  7:43 

Yeah, it's just like, Cats. That's the title. Sometimes you can spend hours figuring out what it should be called.


Pius Wong  7:54 

Yeah, but I do think the titles can draw kids in. I guess, to clarify, what age range would you say Tumble actually targets?


Marshall Escamilla  8:04 

I think we aim for like a fourth or fifth grade audience. So that's -- We try to target our language at like upper elementary. But we do have -- We've heard from listeners as young as three and as old as forty. So it's quite a range. I mean, the nice thing about targeting upper elementary is that the younger kids can still understand it, but then their parents aren't, like, jabbing their eyes out when they have to listen to the same episode six times.


Pius Wong  8:38 

Right. Okay, so you are trying to make it where parents can listen with their kids.


Marshall Escamilla  8:43 

Yeah, yeah. I think -- I don't do much of the reporting. And my role on the show is to sort of model the learner. And, you know, honestly, I learn things every episode that I never knew before. And I think that's a common experience for most adults.


Pius Wong  9:00 

Yeah. And also you mentioned your team, Lindsay, your co-host. Can you talk a little bit about who is helping you out with this?


Marshall Escamilla  9:07 

Yeah. So we're basically a team of three. Lindsay and I are married, and we co-host and do a lot of the work having to do with the show. And then we have a third partner named Sarah, who does all of our web development and also edits and does some of the reporting for some episodes.


Pius Wong  9:30 

And your wife -- Well, you're an educator, and your wife wasn't a teacher, but she's like a producer, right?


Marshall Escamilla  9:35 

Yes, she got her start in science journalism, actually. Her first professional gig was working for Earth and Sky, which I don't know if your listeners would be familiar with. It was a 90-second radio spot that aired on NPR stations. That would basically be just 90 seconds about something having to do a science.


Pius Wong  10:02 

So this is like the perfect combination of your skills.


Marshall Escamilla  10:05 

Yeah. Doing something educational and scientific and journalistic a little bit. And, you know, my background is actually primarily in music. So I get to do all the scoring for every episode, which is pretty fun.


Pius Wong  10:23 

So you have a background in music, and you taught in Texas, right? I mean, again, that points to how a podcast is perfect for you, because sound and audio sound so important. Do you think that podcasting can be used effectively to really teach all kids, or is this just kind of a creative thing that you're doing?


Marshall Escamilla  10:48 

Oh, I think it can be used effectively to teach. The downside to using it in the classroom is, of course, there's no visual element, right? So kids who will sort of like lay back and watch a video might not necessarily sit and listen to a 20 minute episode. But it has advantages, in that you can listen to a podcast while you're doing something else. Particularly I think the overwhelming majority of our listeners listen during while they're commuting. When I was in grad school -- Well, wait, this is a bit of an aside, sorry. When I was in grad school, I was taking a course online. And our professor would post lectures, and I just put the lectures on and then, like, do the dishes and stuff. And if she referred to something that I needed to see, I'd, like, stop what I was doing and go look, but it was actually -- I find that sort of a better way to learn in some ways, because a bigger part of your brain is paying attention to what you're hearing than maybe if you're watching a video. I don't know. It feels more engaging to me anyway.


Pius Wong  12:05 

That's funny that you mentioned the different places that you listen to it. My sometimes guest co-host Rachel, she was just talking about how she was looking for a new thing to listen to in the car as she brings her kids to school, and the Tumble Podcast or other educational resources sound like they would be good things to listen to. Do you find that you get your fan mail from kids or from adults? Or do people tell you where they're listening to it?


Marshall Escamilla  12:34 

Yeah, I mean, so most of our listeners are -- I think most of our listeners do listen while they're commuting or road tripping, because that's sort of -- When you're in a car, it's hard to look at a screen. You might get motion sickness. I think also a lot of parents are reluctant to just sort of, like, give their kid an iPad for like a five hour drive and then have them sit there staring at a screen for the whole time. Let's see, we just heard from a fan who listens at night before he goes to bed. We've heard from families who listen sort of like after dinner. There's there's a lot of different ways to do it. And I know I personally find, you know, just sitting and listening to something to be kind of relaxing.


Pius Wong  13:23 

It's not just meant for in school. It's definitely in students' daily lives or families' daily lives.


Marshall Escamilla  13:30 

Yeah, I mean, when we first made it, we wanted to make each episode about commute length. So each episode is like 10 to 15 minutes, which is, you know, pretty much what most people's commute is.


Pius Wong  13:45 

Hopefully. Sometimes in Austin, it takes longer for me


Marshall Escamilla  13:48 

Good Lord.


Pius Wong  13:49 

You have memories.


Marshall Escamilla  13:50 

I have to tell you I do not miss Austin traffic.


Pius Wong  13:53 

I'll have to ask you how traffic is in Spain with political unrest, if it's different. So besides just listening to educational materials -- I mean, I could see how that would be good for in different ways. But some people tell me, like, listening to something, it might be too passive. Like, learning has to take place when kids or anybody are really active or engaged. How can teachers use something like podcasting in their classroom and really get students engaged with it?


Marshall Escamilla  14:25 

Okay, so if I was going to use podcasting in a classroom, I would do a couple of different things. So the first thing you can do, and probably the easiest thing to do, is have your kids listen to an episode in class. And you know, our episodes are about 15 minutes. So while they're listening -- Teachers have done this a couple of different ways. You can either just, like, give them some crayons and a piece of paper and have them draw or sketch or write things that they hear while they're listening. And then I would suggest, about like, every -- depending on the attention span of your class -- every like three to five minutes breaking in and having a conversation about what you just heard. So that's one thing I would do, you know, to keep it active, keep talking about it, make sure that kids have sort of a free rein to digest as they're listening in terms of what they take notes on, etc. Teachers can also hand out graphic organizers to keep kids engaged while they're listening. So I'm actually working on making some of those for our teacher store. I don't know if now's a good time to do a plug.


Pius Wong  15:41 

Yeah. I was going to mention that. I saw that you have transcripts available, for example, for some of your episodes, so they could follow along if they wanted.


Marshall Escamilla  15:50 

Exactly. I'm right now working on sort of more fleshed out and detailed curriculum packages to go with each episode. So that would include things like vocabulary worksheets to deal with vocabulary we use in the episode. Also, listening comprehension questions, questions asking about the material covered in the episode. I'm blanking on the education jargon name for this, but when you give out notes with blanks in them, that has a name.


Pius Wong  16:24 

Oh, I'm sure the teachers listening -- I'm the wrong person. I definitely don't know all the education jargon, as well. Engineers have their jargon, but teachers do, too.


Marshall Escamilla  16:35 

We definitely do. We definitely do. I forget what that's called. But basically a fill-in-the-blank. And then also, you know, I've been working on developing graphic organizers to go with their episodes as well.


Pius Wong  16:50 

What's a graphic organizer?


Marshall Escamilla  16:51 

What's a graphic organizer?


Pius Wong  16:53 



Marshall Escamilla  16:54 

Well, it's basically just a way to organize student notes as they're listening. So it could be something as simple as like a mind map. It could also be, you know, a page with  three columns with different prompts on each column. Like there's the fact question response organizer is one that I've used, right?


Pius Wong  17:21 

Okay. So it's an alternative to just writing paragraphs. It's some other way of organizing.


Marshall Escamilla  17:26 

Just like a way to like guide the students in organizing, which you can use something like that, or you can just give them a blank sheet of paper. There are lots of ways -- I think it is important, if students are listening in class, to make sure they're doing something with their hands while they're listening, because I think it's a big ask to ask a kid to just sit there quietly and listen to something, without having some other way to keep them engaged.


Pius Wong  17:59 

You're bringing back memories of when I was a kid, I remember in music class, we did kind of that exercise. And I guess you as a music teacher probably have more ideas with this, but they would play some orchestral piece for five minutes, and the lights were off, which is the worst thing to do. And we were supposed to imagine what visual ideas or whatever the music would evoke. And then we would talk about it afterward. I could see where they were going with that, but the lights-off method of us just sitting there for five minutes probably was not the best way to keep us engaged.


Marshall Escamilla  18:34 

Yeah, certainly as a music teacher, I would never to take that approach. I wouldn't want to knock anyone else's work. But that's sort of --


Pius Wong  18:46 

No, that's all right. She was a nice music teacher. I really liked her, but I remember getting tired in those moments.


Marshall Escamilla  18:53 

You get tired, or you start -- Especially, you know -- I was a middle and high school teacher. So that was sort of the age where they're getting really very interested in each other in a major way. So if your expectation is that they're going to sit there and be quiet and not talk to each other, that's just going against every fiber of their being.


Pius Wong  19:21 

Well, that's why you've created nice materials for students to work on while they're listening.


Marshall Escamilla  19:26 



Pius Wong  19:26 

And I'm just looking at the store. What's the website that teachers can go to, to find this stuff?


Marshall Escamilla  19:33 

Our website is sciencepodcastforkids.com, or you can go to tumblepodcast.com. They both end up in the same place.


Pius Wong  19:43 

If you go to sciencepodcastforkids.com today, not only are you going to find their podcast episodes and transcripts, but you can also click on their teacher store that Marshall mentioned, which has just recently launched. There you can find curriculum materials on different episode topics, like whale shark food web worksheets, or an original song about the solar system. And in this short break while you're checking out Marshall and Lindsay's podcast and site, I just want to say a quick thank you to the amazing Patreon supporters of this podcast. You're the best. Now, let's get back into the conversation.


Pius Wong  20:28 

Marshall, what are some of the engineering episodes and projects that you all have featured?


Marshall Escamilla  20:34 

Well, our most recent one was an episode called Mission CO2 to Mars. Basically a listener sent in not so much a question but more sort of an idea where he was basically asking: Would it be possible to send all of the CO2 that's causing climate change in Earth's atmosphere to Mars and help terraform Mars for future colonization. And then so we went through in the episode and talked to a couple of experts and got expert opinion on how his idea would or would not work.


Pius Wong  21:15 

I love that you're taking actual ideas that kids might have and kind of really explore that. Do you have like a team of experts that you rely on for stuff like that? You just know a bunch of engineers and scientists who can talk?


Marshall Escamilla  21:31 

Well, I mean, usually -- In doing research for an episode, we'll find a couple of experts who have relevant expertise. Like for the CO2 to Mars, we found a scientist who's working on carbon capture and storage from the Czech Republic, who happened to be in Barcelona for a conference. So Lindsay went and interviewed her, and then we also talked to somebody at NASA about, how to capture and how to ship captured CO2 to a distant planet.


Pius Wong  22:12 

Yeah, awesome question.


Marshall Escamilla  22:14 

Yeah. It was a really interesting episode and fun to do. Spoiler alert. It's not feasible.


Pius Wong  22:26 

Sometimes it's wonderful to hear.


Marshall Escamilla  22:28 

Yeah. It basically comes down to the cost of sending things into space. It's very expensive, unless we come up with a better way to leave Earth's gravity.


Pius Wong  22:41 

You know, it strikes me that -- I mean, Lindsay has a lot of expertise in finding these experts, but it's one of those skills that I know engineering teachers want to teach their kids: how to go and find information. So if teachers wanted to have their students do some science reporting or make their own podcasts for whatever class that they're teaching, what do you think about that? Is that too much work? Is it worthwhile?


Marshall Escamilla  23:08 

I think it's totally worthwhile. In fact, one of the things we're going to put on the teacher store is sort of the Tumble guide to making a podcast with your class. And, you know, we're also going to include downloads of all the music that I've made for our show that you can use in your show. Because music just makes everything better, including podcasts. So, I'll say making a podcast with kids, I think it's a great idea. It's certainly doable. I think we have a one-sheet about how to interview a scientist and an episode about that, that you can download off of our feed. It turns out, you know, scientists and experts are everywhere. You don't have to be interviewing, like, the foremost expert in the world. You can just -- you know, if you know someone down the street who's a doctor, doctors are scientists, and engineers or scientists.


Pius Wong  24:11 

Then what are some of the biggest challenges in doing something like that?


Marshall Escamilla  24:16 

With kids, or just in general?


Pius Wong  24:18 

Well, you know, maybe both. I guess in the classroom, what do you foresee is a challenge that people should watch out for?


Marshall Escamilla  24:25 

Yeah, I think the biggest challenge for doing it with kids is, I think you have to decide as a teacher in advance how much you want the process of making the product to be part of what you're teaching. So what I mean by that is, you know, you can easily spend a whole semester teaching the skills related with to audio journalism. That could just be a whole semester class, no problem. So how much of your project, if you're going to do a podcast project, do you want to be about teaching those skills, and how much you want it to be about, you know, whatever Next Generation Science Standard or TEK or whatever you're you're working on. So I think that is a -- That's what I foresee as being probably the biggest challenge for teachers wanting to do that in their classroom. And I think you have to decide, like, here's the limit of podcast-relevant skills I'm going to spend time teaching. And I would set that limit pretty low, actually, unless, you know -- We heard from a teacher who is doing a design thinking project with her, I think it was third grade class, where they were designing a podcast recording studio, and I know that aligns very well with some of the Next Gen Science Standards around engineering. So if you're going to go that route, then definitely set the bar a little higher. But that's just something you need to decide before you even begin thinking about using a podcast as an assessment.


Pius Wong  26:09 

Yeah, it brings to light similar conversations I've heard amongst science and engineering teachers, because their students already have to write reports. And the conversation always comes up. How much do they teach writing, versus teaching science or teaching engineering?


Marshall Escamilla  26:24 



Pius Wong  26:24 

Like you said, they could have a whole other class on just English or just radio production or just whatever.


Marshall Escamilla  26:30 

Right, which I mean, hopefully, when it comes to English, they do have a whole other class.


Pius Wong  26:35 

Hopefully. I guess the teachers I've spoken to say that there's a lot of required collaboration that's needed to help bring up the writing skills of students, too. But I guess that's what's cool to me about the idea of doing podcasting in the classroom. It actually integrates all of that, the writing and the technical side, depending on what you're studying. Have you seen or -- I guess you gave one example of one teacher doing that. Is it pretty common that podcasting is in the classroom?


Marshall Escamilla  27:06 

From what I've heard, there's a lot of interest in it. Whenever I've talked to teachers about podcasts in the classroom -- you know, I mentioned, like, here's a way you can use other podcasts in your classroom, and they're like, oh, cool. But when I mentioned, like, making them as an assessment tool, people's eyes just light up. So it seems like there's a lot of interest and energy around making that happen. I think from what I can tell, there's not a lot of knowledge about how.


Pius Wong  27:42 

So you reminded me of another question I wanted to ask you. Speaking of other podcasts, do you have other favorite podcasts for this type of goal, this type of education goal? Do you have other resources in general that you really like?


Marshall Escamilla  27:57 

Yeah, well, there are a bunch of great podcasts for kids out there. There's one called Brains On, which we really like, which is produced by I think Minnesota Public Radio. They do some really cool stuff, they're a little more -- I don't know quite how to put it -- maybe more journalistic than we are. They are not necessarily as directly focused on an educational mission in the way that we are. We're really trying to communicate a specific thing to our audience about a specific topic, whereas I think they're more just broadly looking at making learning fun. Other things out there that inspire me. You know, I spend a lot of time listening to political podcasts. At the moment, those aren't so inspiring.


Pius Wong  28:56 

Yeah, I was going to say, everyone says it's pretty much a downer.


Marshall Escamilla  28:59 

Yeah, one thing that's nice about being very far from the US is being able to unplug a little from US politics. Or at least get some emotional distance from it.


Pius Wong  29:11 

Yeah, you know, let's let's talk about a little bit of that, too. So you are in Spain, because I understand even though you are a teacher, you're taking a break from teaching to do this podcasting full-time. Why would you want to do that?


Marshall Escamilla  29:28 

Well, you know, our goals in coming here were -- There were a few of them. The first was: our son is three. And we wanted to give him the experience of living in another culture, of living in another country, and sort of just exposure to a second, or in his case, second and third simultaneously language, because in Barcelona they speak Spanish, yes, but the primary language spoken here is Catalan. So his school is all in Catalan, which is, you know, it's a Romance language, but a different one from Spanish. I'd say it's as different as Italian. So, you know, language acquisition for our son was part of it. I think language acquisition for ourselves. I think we wanted to kind of challenge ourselves to get better at speaking Spanish. You know, I've been, I want to say, like a 70% Spanish speaker for the better part of the last decade. And I'd like to get -- bridge the rest of that gap. And then, you know, just having a different experience, and I think we always wanted to live abroad. So, you know, we were looking at places that had those things that would give us access to Spanish, and it turned out we have friends of friends who lived here in Barcelona who were willing to help us make the transition. So that's that's what we ended up doing. Yeah, it was pretty amazing.


Pius Wong  31:10 

Are opinions towards education over there, is it different from in Texas?


Marshall Escamilla  31:16 

I would say so. Let me say, it's always hard to say  how much is just our experience at our specific school and how much is about sort of the broader culture. I think, you know, speaking as a former teacher, and one who did a lot of extra-scholastic events, the standard of, like -- The expectation for teacher-to-parent communication is very different. So basically, just to give an example, our son had a -- his school had like a holiday singalong concert, where they all sang -- Basically every single grade at the school sang a Christmas tune, most of them in Catalan, but some were actually in English. And we found out about this concert, which was happening all day Saturday, the Monday before. That was the very first communication we received, and it was like a note stuffed in his backpack. It was like, Oh, this thing is happening. And like, it didn't say what time you're supposed to arrive. It didn't say, you know -- It said like, here's when they're performing, and it's like, Okay, do we need to be there before? Should we be -- Should they be wearing anything? It was just all very, like, this is just happening. And I'm, you know, with my music teacher hat on, I can't imagine the amount of flack I would have gotten if I had communicated that vaguely and that late in the game.


Pius Wong  33:01 

Right, because the school districts here -- They're probably more regimented, and more parents would be complaining.


Marshall Escamilla  33:09 

Yeah. I mean, the parents would be definitely up in arms. I think maybe, families in the US are a lot busier generally. So I think, you need to get get things in more often. I will say, I think it seems like kids here have a lot more unstructured time.


Pius Wong  33:33 

Play time.


Marshall Escamilla  33:34 

Yeah. Play time. Just sort of like pretty much every school is right next to a plaza, which is just like an open public space. And so every school, if you go to a plaza from like 4:00 to 6:30pm, you're just going to see, you know, 200 children just all playing, and they will play until they go home for dinner at around -- Well, everybody eats dinner at like nine, but they'll go home at seven. And so every kid has, like, just three hours of completely unstructured play time built into their day for the most part.


Pius Wong  34:16 

Is there this attitude over there that we sometimes have here in Texas and in the US that all people really should be studying STEM more. That's a big trend right now. Do you feel that it's like that in Spain?


Marshall Escamilla  34:29 

Yeah, I think so. I think so. I know -- Our son is three, and he could be taking robotics class right now at his school.


Pius Wong  34:42 

Whoa, I know robots for, like, five year olds, but three is -- Tou don't know what it is, do you? Like the details of it?


Marshall Escamilla  34:48 

I really don't. All I know -- I mean, all the business at his school is conducted in Catalan, which I don't speak. There was a presentation about what kinds of things they do in the robotics class, but it was all in Catalan. I sat through it. I can tell you the teacher seemed like a very nice man who smiled a lot.


Pius Wong  35:15 

Well, that's really neat. I feel like that's a whole other conversation. I guess one final question related to that: Are you interested in merging science and politics somehow? Like, do you even think that they go together?


Marshall Escamilla  35:27 

Well, I mean, part of our educational mission, I think, is at least implicitly political. I'd say unfortunately so, just because there are so many politicians who are just straight-up anti-science. So I think, you know, part of our long-term dream is if, you know, every child in the US listens to Tumble on on a regular basis, they won't grow up and vote for anti-science candidates. That's our dream. I don't know if we'll ever get to the point where every child in the US is listening to Tumble, but you know, you can hope. But if kids have a solid understanding of what the scientific process is and how science is used to gain knowledge, and just the basics of -- I think every topic that is taught in elementary and middle school science, I think you need to also teach how people found out about that thing. And I think if that happens, then there's less confusion about what people mean by, the evidence says this is happening. There's scientific consensus that this is happening. I mean, people say like evolution is just a theory. Well, you know, if you really understand what that means in science, that won't be a statement that means to you that evolution is therefore a flawed model, just because it's just a theory. So, you know, I think there's definitely that political goal that we have.


Pius Wong  37:19 

Which might be enough.


Marshall Escamilla  37:20 

Yeah. I mean, I think if that actually -- If we actually accomplish that, I think that would be a dramatic transformation in just our whole political system, especially around science-related issues.


Pius Wong  37:35 

Well, alright, thanks, Marshall. And once again, if people want to find out more about the podcast or everything else that you've got up there, the website is sciencepodcastforkids.com, correct?


Marshall Escamilla  37:47 

That is correct.


Pius Wong  37:49 

All right. I just wanted to say thanks again for talking.


Marshall Escamilla  37:53 

Oh, well, thank you so much for having me.


Pius Wong  37:57 

That was Marshall Escamilla, co-creator of the Tumble Podcast, a science podcast for kids. Check out the show notes for links to Tumble or for links to other topics mentioned today. You can also find these notes at our podcast website, k12engineering.net. Subscribe to the podcast right away. Find us on iTunes, SoundCloud, PRX, or your favorite podcast platform. In fact, starting this week, you can now also listen to the show on Radiopublic, if you've got that app. Review and share the show to help others get into the engineering education mindset. Find us on Twitter: @K12Engineering. And you can tweet me: @PiusWong. Get more show notes and more transcripts at the podcast website: K12engineering.net.


Pius Wong  38:44 

Our closing music is from the song "Yes And" by Steve Combs, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License. The K12 Engineering Education Podcast is a production of my independent Studio Pios Labs. Support Pios Labs with regular contributions by going online to patreon.com/pioslabs. You can also just buy me a coffee. Links on how to do that are on the podcast website and in the show notes. Thank you all for listening, and please listen in next time.