Let Ada and her friends inspire you!
by Maria Koumouri
“Ada Twist, Scientist” is a children’s animated series based on the book with the same title. The story follows the adventures of scientist young Ada and her friends. Their love for science drives them to explore and find answers for anything they are curious about, via missions and scientific experiments.
Apart from providing basic education on scientific phenomena, “Ada Twist, Scientist” provides both kids and adults with lessons about research in STEM. Let’s explore those lessons together:
1. Science is everywhere!
How can I improve my karate technique? How can I bake a delicious cake? How can I keep plants in my garden healthy? Science has the answer for all these simple yet important questions from our daily lives! Ada and her friends are trying to understand and explain such phenomena in every episode.
2. Never stop asking why!
Ada is characterized by her unlimited curiosity. She observes everything and she constantly asks questions. Like a professional researcher who wants to learn, evolve and solve a problem, she keeps asking how and why this is happening. Interestingly, Ada says “Only by asking many tiny questions, we can answer bigger questions”. We couldn’t agree more!
3. The importance of brainstorming
After they establish what their question is, little scientists start sharing their ideas on how they are going to approach the problem. What is known as brainstorming. Τhis stage is very important during research. Brainstorming allows people to think more liberally and creatively without fearing criticism about their ideas. Ada encourages us to think outside the box, embracing that no idea is ever bad. After all, this is the only way to create novelty!
4. Collaboration and Interdisciplinarity
Physics, biology, engineering and many other subjects are part of STEM, and it is impossible for a single person to know everything. This is the reason collaborations between scientists from different disciplines are necessary. Based on the knowledge and the experiences from different disciplines, answers to more complex questions can be given. Ada does not appear in the series as a superhero, know-it-all person but works closely with her two friends Iggy (architect) and Rosie (engineer). Another key point is the good communication between the young scientists which highlights the importance of a good team.
5. Never give up!
Failure is undoubtedly part of the game. Some experiments will fail and some ideas need to be revised on a regular basis. In order to succeed though, you must keep trying and don’t let disappointment kick in. If plan A didn’t work, don’t worry, there is always a plan B if you persist. This empowering lesson is highlighted in every episode and some of my favourite empowering Adas’ phrases are “The only way to fail is by giving up” and “make failure your best friend”.
6. Work methodically!
Both the TV series and the book aim to spark the kids’ interest in science. Through the story of each episode, little scientists follow a methodology, identical to real-life research, to answer their question. More specifically, the 6 basic steps are: 1. Question, 2. Hypothesis, 3. Experimental procedure, 4. Results, 5. Conclusion, 6. Publication. By following these steps, Ada and her friends teach everyone how to work methodically for solving a research question. Is this maybe a lesson for adult scientists, I am wondering?
7. Stay excited and enjoy the journey!
The constant pressure of publications, failures and our stressful daily life sometimes make us forget that scientific research is a wonderful and exciting journey. Little Ada and her friends enjoy every mission. They have fun while keeping their enthusiasm throughout the journey and they learn so many things before reaching the final answer. Let’s not forget that and take these little scientists as a example!
7+1. Science for everyone!
Ada champions diversity, she is a girl of colour who enjoys learning and is passionate about science. This is in contrast with the classic “role-models” for girls such as Barbie dolls and Disney princesses who represent a dreamy but utopian and old-fashioned example of a girl’s idol. Ada is a strong and independent person who teaches everyone and especially children to follow their passions and dreams, away from social stereotypes and prejudice!
Finishing up this article, I am wondering whether a scientist is an adult version of a child who discovers the world. What if the road to success requires sustaining children’s characteristics such as curiosity, excitement, creativity?
A new mentor asks – an experienced mentor answers
Your career path is unique and can lead you into unlimited possibilities.
Find all our past articles chronologically organized in our archive.
Do you have ideas, questions, comments or special requests?
Would you like to highlight your research project or nominate a researcher that you would like to learn more about?
Please write to our email or fill out the form and hit “send”. We will be happy to talk with you!