Fifteen years ago teaching engineering to elementary students was considered impossible. Many people thought engineering concepts were too complex for elementary students to understand, but EiE’s Founding Director Christine Cunningham thought differently. She welcomed the challenge to develop age-appropriate engineering design challenges. Through this endeavor, she saw an opportunity to transform the way STEM subjects are taught overall. She formed a team here at the Museum of Science and dedicated countless hours to researching, testing, and designing engineering curricula. Now, she has published a book Engineering in Elementary STEM Education: Curriculum Design, Instruction, Learning and Assessment that builds upon the tremendous work of her team. Recently, I sat down with Christine to learn more about why she wrote this book and how she hopes it will help educators.
Before you start raising funds to implement a new or existing STEM program in your district or school, you'll need to identify your needs, priorities, and goals. To help make this process easier, we're here to help! The planning questions below will help you focus and organize your efforts.
EiE Teaching Tips | Tuesday, March 27
Within STEM, adults and children are often confused about the differences between science and engineering, especially with regard to how the two connect in elementary school. Both subjects require students to manipulate and test materials, engage in arguments based on evidence and work in teams, but there are crucial differences between the two fields. Before, during and after children engage in an engineering design challenge, it’s important to help them understand what makes each field distinct. These four questions can help you frame your explanation of the differences between engineering and science.
EiE Teaching Tips | Engineering for All | Thursday, March 15
With our society becoming increasingly dependent on technology and STEM literacy, it’s becoming even more imperative to close the drastic gender gap that exists within STEM fields. A recent study by Microsoft found that girls and young women tend to lose interest in STEM fields as they age. By the time they finish high school, their interest drops significantly. Microsoft's study reinforces what we’ve known at EiE for many years: We have to start early. As our founder Christine Cunningham articulated last fall during an AtlanticLive event, “We have to [reach students] before they’ve been socialized [to believe] that they can’t do it.” We need to empower all learners and help them see the value of science, technology, engineering and math. These strategies can empower young girls to discover their inner engineer.
EiE Professional Development is excited to offer two free webinars this month that can help you improve your teaching practice. Both "Effective Questioning Strategies for Your STEM Classroom" and "Getting Started with EiE: Materials Management" are suitable for elementary teachers of engineering and STEM specialists, as well as professional development providers and administrators who want to learn more about meaningful integration of STEM subjects and effective questioning strategies. You don’t need previous experience teaching the EiE curriculum to benefit from these engaging webinars. Learn more about the webinars below and register today!