Nintendo and the Institute of Play teamed up to bring Nintendo Labo kits into elementary classrooms nationwide, combining the play patterns of Nintendo Labo with the basic principles of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM).
Nintendo will provide Nintendo Labo: Variety Kits and Nintendo Switch systems to participating classrooms to reinforce skills such as communication, creativity, and critical thinking. The program aims to reach approximately 2,000 students ages 8 to 11 during the 2018-2019 school year.
Nintendo Labo kits provide the tools to make DIY creations called Toy-Cons, including a fishing rod, piano, and R/C car, then play games using these Toy-Con creations and the Nintendo Switch.
The Institute of Play, a nonprofit that works with teachers and schools to develop play-based learning experiences, will help build curriculum for the program.
The Institute of Play is currently conducting a pilot program with schools in the greater New York area. Nintendo and the Institute of Play will use these pilot classes to develop a Nintendo Labo Teacher Guide, which will include sample lesson plans and learning modules dedicated to basic elements of STEAM and the Make, Play, and Discover components of Nintendo Labo. The guide will be available for free later this fall to anyone who wants to incorporate Nintendo Labo into their classrooms or homes.
Arana Shapiro, co-executive director of the Institute of Play, says teachers in the pilot program have already seen Nintendo Labo as a natural fit for the classroom.
Once the pilot is complete, the program will expand to approximately 100 schools across the U.S. Schools that wish to take part in the program can apply here. Each participating school will receive Nintendo Switch systems and Nintendo Labo: Variety Kits, as well as the Nintendo Labo Teacher Guide. The in-classroom program will run through March.
This program is part of a broader North American initiative to introduce Nintendo Labo in different educational settings. In Canada, Nintendo is partnering with Actua, Canada’s leading education-outreach organization for STEM topics.