How can you make engineering even more fun? Try it out with the whole family! Educators often tell us amazing stories about students that began engineering in the classroom, then took it upon themselves to bring their designs home and improve them with the help of family and friends. When students take their engineering work home, they become the experts. They can impress their families with their knowledge of engineering, technology, and the Engineering Design Process, and they might even teach their parents something new! We compiled a list of four units with simple and fun testing procedures that use materials students can find at home or transport easily from the classroom. If you’re looking for a fun, hands-on way to get families involved in students’ STEM lessons, these units are the perfect way to keep the learning going after the school day ends!
Wee Engineer | Preschool | Pre-K | Early Engineering | Tuesday, June 19
Before creating our preschool curriculum Wee Engineer, we knew that it was important to answer the question, “How will engineering support early childhood development?” Preschoolers make a lot of things, and our challenge was to channel this natural inclination of children into an engineering activity that would align with the skills they’re already developing. We conducted hours of research, consulted with many early childhood educators, and tested our activities in various early childhood settings with the goal of answering the above question.
Through this work, we identified several ways in which engineering can support children as they develop skills in these important learning domains: social-emotional, language acquisition, executive functioning, and fine and gross motor skills. Here’s what we learned.
Early Childhood STEM Education | Preschool | Pre-K | Early Engineering | Tuesday, May 29
Reading to young children sets them up to succeed in more ways than one! Stories are powerful tools that can help young children build empathy, develop language skills, discover the world around them, and learn more about the concepts they’ll learn later on in their schooling. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for great STEM books to read with young learners (3-5). These age-appropriate STEM storybooks will help make STEM accessible to them and spark an early interest in these subjects.
EiE Resources for Teachers | Tuesday, May 22
One of EiE’s design principles is to set all of our units in a real-world context to give students an idea of what engineers really do. Because of this, we’re constantly finding connections to our units in the news and in viral videos. But nothing makes us happier than hearing about EiE educators who make local and global connections in their own classrooms! We’re always blown away by the creative ways that educators inspire their students, and today we wanted to share some of their stories with you.
Early Childhood STEM Education | Wee Engineer | Preschool | Pre-K | Early Engineering | Monday, May 21
Starting engineering early sets young learners up for success in school and life. But before asking a preschooler to engage in an engineering activity, it’s important to have a reasonable expectation of what that looks like and what an age-appropriate challenge for a young child to tackle might be. To design Wee Engineer, our preschool/Pre-K engineering curriculum that will launch Fall 2018, we first broke down the practices (or habits of mind) that define engineering and asked ourselves a simple question, “What does it look like when a preschooler engineers?” After hours of observing preschoolers in various settings, reviewing literature on child development, talking with preschool educators, and testing our own preschool engineering activities, here’s what we learned about engineering practices for this young age group.