Meet Common Core Standards: Add Engineering to the Mix

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 3/21/17 11:00 AM

Common Core logo

A total of 42 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics and English Language Arts. An engaging and effective way to meet these standards is through classroom engineering—and Engineering is Elementary offers convenient CCSS Alignment Guides to help you make the connections.

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Topics: Implementing EiE

Celebrating Women’s History Month: 6 Role Models for Your Problem-Solving Students

Posted by Annie Whitehouse on 3/16/17 11:00 AM

girlsworking-resized.jpgWe can’t overemphasize the importance of positive role models. They show young engineers that their dreams are achievable. In some instances, an effective role model can spark a young girl’s interest in engineering: ASME reports that women only make up 18-20% of the engineering workforce, and posits that “The stereotype that links masculinity to technology is, unfortunately, still prevalent and difficult to overcome.” We always hope that our EiE storybook characters serve as role models for kids in all classrooms. They solve real-world problems for themselves, their friends and families, and their communities. This Women’s History Month, we want to shine a light on some incredible problem solvers whose tenacity and ingenuity inspire us to create strong role models for your students.

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Spring Forward, Fall Back

Posted by Hannah E. on 3/13/17 11:00 AM

Have you remembered to “spring forward" yet? If you were up very early on Sunday morning, you might’ve noticed the clock on your phone suddenly jumped an hour into the future—don’t forget to reset your watch, too! This leap marked the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, the period from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November when clocks are set one hour ahead of Standard Time. While the extra hour of sleep gained during the return in the fall to Standard Time is quite popular amongst night owls and college students, this biannual time adjustment is also responsible for plenty of headaches. One of the complications it creates is also an interesting engineering problem—how do you make sure everyone is “on time”?

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Topics: Out-of-School time

New Online PD Scholarship Opportunity

Posted by Annie Whitehouse on 3/9/17 11:00 AM

EiE-Online-Logo-transp.pngWe’ve been very excited to roll out our new online professional development offerings over the past few months—we’ve conducted webinars about habits of mind and engineering in out-of-school time and we’ve had some amazing discussions with educators around the country about STEM integration and ELA connections. Now, we’re ready to take online PD to the next level with the very first online workshop series this summer. We’re looking for a small group of highly motivated teachers to help us pilot test this new experience. If you are selected, you’ll receive a scholarship that includes:

  • three online professional development sessions
  • an EiE teacher guide of your choice
  • the EiE materials kit for the unit
  • a classroom set of 24 storybooks for the unit
  • a $150 stipend for your feedback about the experience
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Topics: Professional Development

Real World Connections: Women’s History Month

Posted by Hannah E. on 3/7/17 11:00 AM

One of the EiE staff’s favorite classroom engineering moments from our video entry to the NSF 2016 Video Showcase is when young engineer Max says to his classmate Charley, “Before this, I didn’t know Charley was a genius about this topic!” Charley responds, “I didn’t know I could even say that much or learn that much,” to the well-deserved compliment. This vignette perfectly illustrates one of the engineering habits of mind we hope all EiE learners develop: to see themselves as engineers and as problem solvers. In addition to engaging students like Charley and Max in engineering activities, we’ve learned that exposing them to positive role models they can identify with can also help accomplish this goal. So, in honor of Women’s History Month, we hope you’ll share these role models to inspire your own “genius” moments.

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Spring 2017 Conference Preview

Posted by Annie Whitehouse on 3/2/17 11:00 AM

nsta stem attendance.jpgMarch is an exciting time here in Boston—the snow is melting, spring is nearly here, and we’re ready to hit the road for conference season! We love meeting EiE educators, answering your burning questions, and finding out about the amazing things you’re doing in your own classrooms or districts. And when you come visit us at a conference, you’re guaranteed to have fun and learn something new. Find our booths to check out our new materials kits or ask us about a new project you’re excited about (like early childhood engineering or digital storybooks). And visit our hands-on sessions, where you’ll get the chance to get your hands dirty and dive deep into some of our tried-and-true (and brand new) engineering design challenges. Check out our spring schedule to find out where and when we’ll be in your area, and let us know if we’ll see you there!

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Two New OST Units for Sale

Posted by Annie Whitehouse on 2/28/17 11:00 AM

concept1.jpgHave you tried our afterschool curricula, Engineering Adventures and Engineering Everywhere? These out-of-school-time (OST) units challenge kids to solve real-world problems using the engineering design process. Educators are always welcome to download these units for free and source the materials, but we also offer printed binders and materials kits in our store for easy implementation. Check out the two newest units available to purchase—Music to My Ears: An Acoustical Engineering Challenge and Growing Up: Engineering Vertical Farms.

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Creating an Engineering Design Process for the Preschool Classroom

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 2/23/17 11:00 AM

EiE Play Dough
Engineering = hands-on play in a framework

Happy National Engineers Week! This week on the blog, we're celebrating by highlighting our favorite engineering tool: the Engineering Design Process!

When our son was three, he would spend hours playing with wooden blocks, making a highway for toy cars, a pen for toy animals, or just the highest tower he could stack. We didn’t think of it this way, but he was engineering.

Early childhood educators have always recognized how building with blocks (and similar hands-on activities) help children develop motor skills while at the same time exercising their creativity. But these activities can also be framed as authentic engineering. That’s something the EiE curriculum team is working on right now: a framework for preschool engineering.

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Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education

EiE Teacher Tip: How to Ask Good Questions!

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 2/21/17 11:00 AM

EIE 2015 JR_1062.jpgHappy National Engineers Week! This week on the blog, we're celebrating by highlighting our favorite engineering tool: the Engineering Design Process!

Imagine this scenario. Your students have worked carefully and enthusiastically to design a technology . . . only to discover that it doesn’t work as planned. When that sailboat doesn’t sail, or that model maglev train fails to levitate over the track, it’s a teachable moment. You want to be ready, not with answers, but with questions that help students do their own troubleshooting.

Education journalist Steven Hastings once calculated that a typical teacher asks 400 questions a day, or roughly one question a minute. That extrapolates to 70,000 questions a year, or 2 to 3 million questions over the course of a teaching career. But not all questions are created equal. Certain questioning strategies are particularly effective; here are four of our favorites.

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Topics: EiE Teaching Tips

Helping a Boy in Haiti: Engineering Makes Real-World Connections

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 2/16/17 11:00 AM

Presenting our EDP
California teacher Camie Walker has become an advocate for elementary engineering.

When Camie Walker chose an EiE activity for her fifth-grade classroom two years ago, she was thinking about how the lessons would complement her plans for English Language Arts instruction. She never expected that the real-world engineering design challenge would help her students become more resilient in the face of failure . . . or move them to meaningful social action on behalf of a young boy left destitute by a natural disaster.

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Topics: Implementing EiE