Engineering is Perfect for K–5 Project-Based Learning

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 12/6/16 11:00 AM

Kids designing parachutes
These students designed parachutes to land a space rover on another planet!

Check last month's education news and you'll notice third graders at a school in Cleveland designed a restaurant, middle schoolers in Cincinnati were tending beehives, and sixth graders in Michigan strategized about how to protect Earth from the damaging effects of solar flares. These somewhat offbeat activities are part of a wider trend to make project-based learning a fundamental aspect of the school day.

Read More

Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education

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.

Read More

Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education

Creating an Engineering Design Process for the Preschool Classroom

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 8/16/16 11:00 AM

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

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.

Read More

Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education

Five Sessions You Won’t Want to Miss at the NSTA STEM EXPO!

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 7/26/16 11:00 AM

NSTA STEM Forum Logo
See you at the NSTA STEM Forum!
The National Science Teachers Association holds its annual STEM Forum and Expo later this week in Denver. A team from Engineering is Elementary will be there, and we’d love to see you. Find us at booth #527 in the exhibit hall, and check out five sessions featuring hands-on EiE in-school and afterschool activities. Review the list below and mark your calendar today!

Read More

Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education

“LinkEngineering” Connects K-12 Engineering Educators

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 6/7/16 11:00 AM

LinkEngineering Logo

Have you been charged with integrating engineering into the curriculum at your school or afterschool program? Are you wondering how the heck that will work? Help is at hand.

When the Next Generation Science Standards were first released in 2013, the National Academy of Engineering quickly recognized that many educators could use some support addressing the new expectations around engineering education. The Academy mustered a committee of prominent K-12 engineering educators (including EiE’s founder and director, Dr. Christine Cunningham) to brainstorm a solution, sought input from teachers across the country, and, a little less than a year ago, launched LinkEngineering, a new website that’s expressly designed to help educators start teaching engineering.

Read More

Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education

Your Seat is Reserved at a Special STEM Film Festival

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 5/17/16 11:00 AM

EiE's 2016 entry
The EiE video takes you inside a D.C. classroom where every kid is an engineer!

The National Science Foundation (NSF)’s second 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 150 NSF-supported projects, all sharing short videos that showcase their work in STEM education. A production by Engineering is Elementary’s talented videography team is one of the entries . . . and there’s a “people’s choice” award. So please visit, view, and vote!

Read More

Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education

Teacher Appreciation Week

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 5/5/16 11:00 AM

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week! Personally, I‘m sending retrospective appreciation to my mom, a first-grade teacher who made a big difference to lots of kids. Back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Mom taught at a Title I school in Massachusetts . . .  where she was considered a renegade for insisting that science be an important part of the school day. Her students grew seedlings, hatched baby chicks, and engineered a lunar lander from a refrigerator box. 

Read More

Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education

Heeding the Call to Support Early STEM

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 3/29/16 11:00 AM

The curriculum team
Designers at work! Our development team has started work on a new PreK-K curriculum.

In 2009, President Obama launched “Educate to Innovate,” a campaign to improve K-12 STEM education. Then, in 2013, he advocated for high-quality preschool for every child. Now these initiatives are connecting: earlier this month, the White House put out a call to support America’s youngest students with early STEM education.

The Engineering is Elementary project is already on board. This winter, we started work on a PreK-K engineering curriculum for ages 3–5 that is modeled after our award-winning EiE curriculum for ages 6–10. The three-year, $425,000 PreK-K initiative is funded by entirely by the EiE project at the Museum of Science, Boston.

Read More

Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education

Charting a Course to Early Childhood STEM

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 6/16/15 11:00 AM

2015.06.16_CEMSE_Shadow-300x192-1When the Engineering is Elementary curriculum was first being developed, one skeptic told EiE director Christine Cunningham, “You’re crazy. It’s impossible to teach engineering to elementary students!” Today, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have made K - 5 engineering mainstream. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is thinking about even younger engineers.

The President has made early childhood education a priority, including—at the urging of the National Science Boardearly STEM education. But what does “quality Pre-K - K STEM education” look like? And how do you help teachers expand early STEM education nationwide? EiE’s director, Christine Cunningham, is one of 14 educators pondering such questions as part of the Early Childhood STEM Working Group, meeting this week in Chicago. 

Read More

Topics: Early Childhood STEM Education