Message in a Bottle is a STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) writing activity for primary/elementary school aged children. Its purpose is to foster a love of reading and an interest in STEAM subjects, introduce creative writing and storytelling skills, and provide a safe and fun platform where students can practise writing and critical, creative thinking.
Introducing the Torres Twins
While holidaying on a cruise ship, Filipino-Australian twins Nina and Jake Torres have fall overboard. Normally such an event would spell disaster, but the Torres twins are resourceful, brave, and curious—the perfect combination of characteristics for adventurers.
Nina and Jake end up castaways on a small uninhabited island in the Pacific. Certain mum and dad will eventually find them, they make the best of their new circumstances, working hard to turn their island into a safe refuge and fun adventure.
Nina and Jake solve every-day problems with applied science, engineering, design and creativity. They explore:
- survival and building skills
- communication techniques
- food and water sources
- the island’s flora, fauna, resources & marine life
- the stars, the moon and the tides
- and more!
As the twins encounter challenges, they share their learnings, questions and dilemmas to “castaways on other islands” i.e., primary/elementary aged participants. “Messages” (stories and reports) are sent in “bottles” (initially via parents’ emails and later via an app).
Beginnings & Future Directions
The author, Ali Stegert, provides a customisable Message in a Bottle workshop for primary/elementary school-aged children. Ali and the children read and write messages in bottles, create characters, and discover the fun of creative writing and wonder of STEAM topics.
While this project is in development, Ali is seeking parents and children to participate and give feedback. Children’s online safety is of utmost importance; therefore, parents are required to participate with their children. Only parents’ verified emails will be used in the development stage.
As the project develops, the twins’ adventures will feature in books and then in a story app. Each episode will feature a challenge, brainstorming, solutions, and recommended reading (age appropriate fiction and non-fiction titles on similar subjects). Participating children’s input will be included (using the student’s avatar, not their real name).
Although Ali is excited by the digital possibilities, she is wary of creating another device-based program in this age of the ubiquitous screen. As an author and life-long reader, her first love is old-fashioned books. Books, she believes, are good for children’s minds for a slew of reasons. She would love to see the Message in a Bottle project end up as a series of STEAM books with the digital platform as an enhancement to the print materials.
For parents (and educators) who are interested in enrolling their students, please read fill in this information and permission form. Ali will be in touch shortly thereafter. In the meantime, if you have questions, you can get in touch via the form below.