"Can I Just Teach Lesson 4?" The Power of Scaffolded STEM Learning

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 5/23/17 11:00 AM

2015.07.02_EiE_Blog_Lesson_4Elementary teachers are under tremendous time pressure, especially with the current emphasis on preparing for standardized tests. Working through the four lessons in an Engineering is Elementary unit takes about six to ten hours of class time. When I facilitate EiE workshops, teachers often ask me: “Do I HAVE to teach all four lessons? What if I just skip to Lesson 4?" . . . which is the engineering design challenge, where kids design, build, and test a technology, such as a solar oven or water filter.  

In our Teacher Educator Institutes, we ask participants to skip to Lesson 4 deliberately, as a learning experience. I recall one workshop where we started with Lesson 4 from our “Designing Submersibles” unit; the challenge is to make a model submersible from small plastic vials that contain sand, beads, or marbles.

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Topics: EiE Teaching Tips

We Want To Hear From You!

Posted by EiE Team on 5/18/17 11:00 AM

We’re looking for feedback from everyone who reads our blog or newsletter—that means you! If you fill out the short form (it should take no more than 10 minutesbelow, you’ll automatically be entered to win the EiE teacher guide of your choice. You can view the full selection of EiE units hereYour feedback is extremely valuable to us and will help us produce the content that you are most interested in. This survey will close at 5 PM EDT on Thursday, June 1, 2017. 

If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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You're Invited to a Special STEM Video Showcase!

Posted by Annie Whitehouse on 5/15/17 11:00 AM

The National Science Foundation (NSF)’s third annual “STEM for ALL Video Showcase” opens today, and you’re invited. This event is like the Sundance Film Festival for STEM education research: it includes more than 170 NSF-supported projects, all sharing short videos that showcase their work in STEM education. We submitted a production by our talented videography team. There’s a “people’s choice” award. So please visit, view, and vote!

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Teaching Ethics: It's More Important Than Ever

Posted by Kate Sokol on 5/11/17 11:00 AM

Today’s guest blogger is Kate Sokol, a curriculum designer for EiE.

EIE 2015 JR_1105 resized.jpgAs a curriculum writer for Engineering is Elementary, I’m always thinking about developing activities that promote engineering habits of mind. Many habits of mind; like “collaboration,” “communication,” and “creativity”; naturally integrate with the type of hands-on engineering activities that we develop, and are often used to describe the work of engineers. Other habits, like the call for “ethical considerations,” require deliberate reflection to fully integrate into the K-8 classroom. The idea of ethics in engineering may seem like a daunting topic to navigate with students, but the power of critical thinking and the opportunity for students to consider the impact of their decisions has never been more important.

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Topics: Engineering Habits of Mind

Congrats, Christine!: EiE Director Wins Esteemed McGraw Hill Award

Posted by Annie Whitehouse on 5/9/17 11:00 AM

CC McGraw horizontal.pngWe have exciting news to share: our founder and director, Christine Cunningham, has been awarded a Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education—one of the most prestigious awards in the field! Christine is being recognized in the U.S. K-12 Education category for “pioneering a curriculum that is transforming education by introducing engineering concepts and practices at the elementary level.” Christine has worked tirelessly to bring engineering education into elementary classrooms for the past 14 years, and we’re thrilled that she’s receiving this well-deserved recognition.

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Star Wars Day: 3 Ways to Incorporate Star Wars Into Your Engineering Activities

Posted by Hannah E. on 5/4/17 11:00 AM

C-3PO_droid.pngIt may not surprise you to learn that there are a few Star Wars nerds on the EiE staff. We wanted to celebrate Star Wars Day EiE style, so we started brainstorming the ways in which our units connect with the Star Wars universe. It goes beyond rockets and rovers: the Star Wars films feature levitating devices and high-tech helmets, too! Star Wars scholars have written books about the scientific virtues of Star Wars, and no one can deny how much of a catalyst it is for STEM enthusiasts’ imaginations. It has inspired NASA engineers to chase their dreams, robotic engineers to design R2-D2-style robot companions, and Australian scientists to design holograms! If your class loves Star Wars as much as we do, they’ll love these out-of-this-world connections.

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Blog Roundup: Early Childhood Education

Posted by Hannah E. on 5/2/17 11:00 AM

AH0A1750RAW_1 Students ED and YC.jpgWe are so excited about our upcoming early childhood curricula—and we know you are too! Every time we post an update, we hear an enthusiastic chorus of “That’s so exciting! When will it be available?” Both Wee Engineer and EiE for Kindergarten have tentative release dates of summer 2018. To tide you over until then, we compiled our most informative early childhood curriculum updates from the last few years to give you a comprehensive view of our process so far. Read on and make sure you visit the original posts to learn about the origins of our early education initiative and to read our favorite anecdote about smiley face erasers.

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Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education

Congratulations to Our Spring Scholarship Recipients!

Posted by Annie Whitehouse on 4/27/17 11:00 AM

AH0A1701.jpgOur team is always looking for more ways to support elementary science and elementary teachers. We listen closely to teachers, and we hear them express their need for financial support to underwrite the costs of professional development and materials. So we are pleased to invest some of our project funds in a new round of professional development scholarships . . . and today we’re delighted to announce the names of 49 elementary teachers from 21 states who will receive awards!

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Becoming Part of Museum Magic: An Internship With EiE

Posted by Hannah Schulze on 4/25/17 11:00 AM

Today’s guest blogger is Hannah Schulze, EiE’s research and evaluation intern.

AH0A6555-1.jpgI am currently a junior studying Biomedical Engineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology, and since January, I’ve been working as an intern at the Museum of Science, Boston. When I began my internship search, I knew I wanted an opportunity that would allow me to combine my love for engineering and my passion for social justice work. That’s why I was thrilled to see a posting for an internship through the Museum of Science for Engineering is Elementary. I was one of those kids who visited the museum and thought the whole thing was magic. Almost like Disney World—but better, because the Museum of Science wants everyone in on the magic together. Everyone has the chance to discover and explore. Engineering is Elementary, in particular, spoke to me because of my connection to its mission: fostering engineering and technological literacy among children—including those students who are traditionally underserved or underrepresented in STEM fields.

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Seven Superfun Eco-themed Engineering Activities

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 4/20/17 11:00 AM

2016.07.19_Engineering_Everywhere_logo.jpgHappy Earth Day! Are you looking to incorporate some eco-themed activities into your afterschool or summer camp curriculum? Here are seven superfun curriculum units from EiE's afterschool programs Engineering Adventures and Engineering Everywhere, all with a focus on protecting our planet! Lesson plans are FREE to download—just click the links below.

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Topics: Out-of-School time