For Chicago’s Diverse-Needs Students, EiE Works

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 10/25/16 11:00 AM

Marys Classroom-resized.jpgBack in the 1920s, the Christopher School was built to serve students with disabilities, including many affected by polio. Today, this Chicago public school serves an unusually diverse student population. “Our mission statement is “Teach ALL, Reach All, Include All,” says Mary Meade, the school’s middle-school science coordinator. “Regular education students learn alongside students with severe and profound physical and cognitive disabilities.” 

Like every teacher, Mary needs lessons that help every student learn. She also looks for lessons that relate to the real world. That’s how she discovered Engineering Everywhere (EE), EiE’s out-of-school-time curriculum for ages 10–12.

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Topics: Out-of-School time

Learning from Failure

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 10/20/16 11:00 AM

Failure is Not an Option is the title of Gene Kranz’s autobiography. The phrase expresses how Kranz, a NASA flight director, and his team approached problems of all kinds—most notably, how to get the Apollo 13 astronauts home safely after a disastrous explosion in the service module. When I was fresh out of school and working my first job, I had a coffee cup with this slogan. The idea is common in American culture: in the workplace, in relationships, in schools. Both students AND teachers can learn from failure!

For the Apollo mission, a no-failure mindset was exactly what the team needed to find a solution, and fast. But framing success as the only option is a problem in schools, especially in the elementary classroom—and especially if classroom instruction is focused on getting the one right answer.

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Topics: Engineering Habits of Mind

EiE Releases Guide to Learning Trajectories for K-8 Engineering

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 10/18/16 11:00 AM

table-1.jpgThe idea of integrating engineering with traditional K-12 subjects is still pretty new. If you’re a teacher looking online for age-appropriate engineering lessons, you may find what’s on offer is too challenging­—or too simplistic—for your students.  And if you’re a curriculum developer, you won’t find many resources to show what kinds of engineering kids are capable of at different ages. That’s why EiE’s research team has developed a concise set of Engineering Learning Trajectories for ages 3–12.

Understanding How Kids Learn

The new learning trajectories draw on EiE’s extensive research on “how children learn engineering.” “Kids who are twelve have different skills and abilities than kids who are three,” says EiE director Christine Cunningham. “That may seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook.”

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Topics: EiE Research Results

The EiE Customer Service Team’s Top 5 Questions

Posted by Annie Whitehouse on 10/13/16 11:00 AM

If you’ve ever called or emailed EiE, you’ve had the pleasure of speaking to our customer service team. Our customer service representatives have an encyclopedic knowledge of all aspects of EiE, from big-picture ideas about unit implementation to the minutia of magnet sizes. They’re always happy to offer a helping hand and share their infinite wisdom—and today, we’re sharing some of it with you. Here are five of the most frequently asked EiE questions, according to the people who know all the answers!

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Topics: EiE Teaching Tips

Meet Our Illustrator: Ross Wiley Brings Engineering Stories to Life

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 10/11/16 11:00 AM

Ross at EiE
Ross reviews his work, displayed at the EiE offices.

This fall EiE welcomed a special visitor to our Boston offices: illustrator Ross Wiley. If you’ve been entertained by the offbeat adventures of India and Jacob, the traveling teens who host Engineering Adventures, or fascinated by the exploding corncob on the cover of Plants to Plastics, you have Ross to thank! He created all the illustrations for our two out-of-school-time curricula, along with the cover art and illustrations for eight EiE storybooks and teacher guides.

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Topics: Profiles

What Do You Learn at a Teacher Educator Institute?

Posted by Annie Whitehouse on 10/6/16 11:00 AM

Building a tower
Build your knowledge.

One of EiE’s crowning achievements is our Professional Development (PD) program. Elementary educators who come into our workshops knowing almost nothing about engineering leave feeling like EiE experts. But as much as our PD staff would love to show every single teacher the best practices to implement EiE, they can’t be everywhere at once. So when a district or school needs to prepare many teachers to implement EiE and provide the long-term support they know their teachers need, they send their professional development providers to one of our Teacher Educator Institutes.

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Topics: Professional Development

Math Lessons Go Better With Engineering

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 10/4/16 1:00 PM

The Common Core State Standards for math are pushing elementary educators to re-think how to teach math. How do you go beyond skills like adding and subtracting or the times tables to help kids develop a deep understanding of math concepts? Engineering activities are an ideal framework for meeting this challenge. 

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Topics: Engineering Habits of Mind

EiE Teacher Tip: Our How-To Videos Make Lesson Prep a Breeze!

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 9/29/16 11:00 AM

How-To Videos

A picture is worth a thousand words. A video is worth even more, when it saves you time and energy! That’s why Engineering is Elementary offers “How-To Videos”—short segments you can stream from our website. Each video walks you through some lesson prep for the unit you’ll be teaching.

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Topics: EiE Resources for Teachers, EiE Teaching Tips

Guest Post: Kindergarten Design Workshop is EiE-Inspired!

Posted by Melanie Flores on 9/27/16 11:00 AM

What happens when you direct the energy and imagination of a kindergartener into the engineering design process? That’s the question my colleagues and I set out to answer last year at Kingsley Montessori School in Boston when we decided to develop a Kindergarten Engineering Design Workshop. One source of inspiration was the Engineering is Elementary curriculum.

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Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education

New from EiE Online PD: Effective Questioning Strategies for the Engineering Classroom

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 9/22/16 11:00 AM

So you’re teaching engineering to your elementary students. And today they’re designing a technology—perhaps a solar oven or a water filter. One group comes up with an unusually
A teacher examines a windmill
What can you say when a windmill doesn’t work?
creative design . . . but it doesn’t quite work as expected. Now what?

For maximum learning impact, you want to be ready with prompts that help your students do their own problem solving. In other words, you need effective questioning strategies! You can learn more about these strategies when you attend a new interactive online learning session from Engineering is Elementary, scheduled for October 13, 2016.

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Topics: Professional Development