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Nintendo has joined forces with the Institute of Play to kick off an initiative that seeks to use its craftable Nintendo Labo kits as a way to introduce STEAM concepts to elementary school kids.
The Nintendo Labo Classroom Program gives teachers in 100 classrooms across the US the tools to build Nintendo Labo-powered programs into their curriculum for the 2018/2019 school year.
The program speaks to the merit of one of the Nintendo Switch’s more unusual games since Nintendo Labo kits typically make creative use of the system’s stranger features to give life to things like Joy-Con robots and IR-sensor powered cardboard pianos.
So far, Nintendo has released three Labo "Toy Con" kits that each come with a stack of pre-cut cardboard, miscellaneous components, and a Nintendo Switch cartridge that either powers pre-designed Labo creations or enables players to program their own games through the Toy Con Garage mode.
Both companies are angling the program as a way to highlight the ways Labo can encourage kids to explore STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) principles, as well as build skills like communication, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
The program is still taking applications from teachers interested in taking part, and those that do will receive a Nintendo Labo Teacher’s Guide to help them work the variety craftable Labo creation kits into their curriculum.
According to The Verge, Nintendo is providing Labo kits and Switch systems for the classrooms selected to participate in the program, and the teacher’s guide itself will be available as a free downloadable document this fall.