A multi-national toy company is breaking ground by teaming up with university researchers to create classroom curriculum using one of its popular toy lines, but the effort is drawing criticism.
Called Speedometry, the project comes with dozens of Hot Wheels cars and tracks and an 85-page curriculum packet that guides fourth-grade teachers on how to teach math and science lessons using the toys.
“We’re trying to find out what helps a kid learn science and math content and what gets a kid engaged in science and math so that they want to continue to do it later on,” said USC Professor Morgan Polikoff, among the researchers studying Speedometry's impact on learning.
Polikoff along with six other professors and staffers from the USC Rossier School of Education received just over $1 million in grant funds over the last two years from El Segundo-based Mattel’s nonprofit foundation. In the first year, they studied how fourth-graders in 16 classrooms learned math and science with the toy cars. Last year, they expanded their research to 65 classrooms.