Phoenix Business Journal
The UpTake: Rebeca Rodriguez wanted to inspire kids to love the math, science and technology that had served her well as an engineer. So she started Xplore Box, a subscription service delivering STEM games and activities.
Rebeca Rodriguez wanted to send her love of science and engineering to kids by mail.
The former aerospace engineer from Illinois said she wanted to engage kids with hands-on challenges so they could see what engineering is all about.
“Some kids thought engineering was boring and too hard,” said Rodriguez, who has an aerospace engineering degree from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in space management from the International Space University.
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“For me, growing up, I made model rockets and Pinewood Derby cars,” she said. “I felt a big disconnect because there weren’t enough hands-on activities in schools. I want kids to see the big picture.”
Rodriguez started Xplore Box last August with hands-on STEM projects for kids 8 to 12 years old. She chose the monthly subscription model because she saw it work in different industries.
“I thought it would be convenient for parents to do these science projects with their kids,” she said. “Each box has three projects, and includes most of the items needed besides basic household items.”
Xplore Box was chosen to be a part of Seed Spot’s incubator venture program last fall. Rodriguez still works out of Seed Spot’s midtown Phoenix office, putting the boxes together there and at her Phoenix home.
Started: August 2013
Boxes offered: Hands-on science, technology, engineering and math projects for kids ages 8 to 12
Membership prices:$29.95 per month and $323.40 per year
Members: 75 Revenue: Would not disclose
Contents of a recent box: The boat- themed Xplore Box contained material to make and experiment with a plastic bottle ship with an underwater motor, as well as an air-powered catamaran. Another item was a diving submarine, which required the kids to fill a plastic submarine with baking powder and observe as it sank and floated. Also included were a rubber band-propelled boat, a “Blast from the Past” sticker book and a pencil.