Teacher Tip: Simulate an Earthquake with Easy-to-Make “Shake Table”

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 4/7/16 11:00 AM

Every Thursday on the EiE blog we offer teaching tips or free resources

EA's Earthquakes unit

This week’s engineering teacher tip is for out-of-school-time educators who use Engineering Adventures (EA), our elementary afterschool curriculum—specifically the unit Shake Things Up: Engineering Earthquake-Resistant Buildings. This unit introduces kids to the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010; the challenge is to engineer a model building that can withstand a quake.

Read More

Topics: Out-of-School time, EiE Teaching Tips

Photo Journals Connect English Language Arts and Engineering

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 3/17/16 11:00 AM

Every Thursday on the EiE Blog, we share classroom-tested teaching tips or answer your questions.

Student photo journal cover
Boost literacy skills with this photo journaling activity.

Today's Engineering is Elementary teaching tip comes from Michelle Sedberry, a K-12 science specialist and EiE professional development provider from Lubbock, Texas. Lubbock has a high proportion of English Language Learners (ELL); Michelle developed this fun photo journaling activity with their needs in mind. It helps to connect English Language Arts and engineering.

Read More

Topics: EiE Teaching Tips

EiE Teacher Tip: Get a Leg Up on Knee Braces with EiE How-to Video

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 2/18/16 11:00 AM

Every Thursday on the EiE Blog, we bring you useful tips for teaching classroom engineering.

Using a goniometer
Measuring range of motion with a goniometer.

The Engineering is Elementary curriculum unit "No Bones About It" gives students a chance to apply their science knowledge to a real-world engineering challenge: designing a knee brace to support an injured knee. To do the challenge, students need a model leg with a knee that really bends!

You make this model in advance using cardboard mailing tubes and a wiffle ball. Your teacher guide has detailed directions for how to do it, but if you're not the "crafty" type, you might want a little extra help. That's why we also have a short "How-to" video that breaks the task into easy-to-understand steps.

Read More

Topics: EiE Teaching Tips

Two Tips for Teaching EiE Acoustical Engineering Activities

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

Do you teach the EiE unit "Sounds Like Fun: Seeing Animal Sounds"? Our professional development collaborators at the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) have a big list of handy tips for teaching the acoustical engineering activities in this unit. Here are two of our favorites.

Read More

Topics: EiE Teaching Tips

EiE Teacher Tip: Digital Thermometers Make Data Collection a Snap

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 1/28/16 11:00 AM

Each Thursday on the EiE Blog we offer helpful teaching tips or answer your questions about classroom and materials management.

2016.01.22_EiE_Solar_Oven_Testing_Temperature.jpgAre you planning to teach the Engineering is Elementary unit “Now You’re Cooking: Designing Solar Ovens”?  Here are two handy tips from EiE professional development provider Jason Brewer for Lesson 3 (“What’s Hot and What’s Not”).

Read More

Topics: EiE Teaching Tips

Cleaning an Oil Spill? Replicating an Artifact? EiE Classroom Videos Help You Prepare

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 1/21/16 12:00 PM

http://www.eie.org/eie-classroom-video2016.01.21_EiE_Classroom_Videos.jpgDo you teach the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) unit "Solid as a Rock: Replicating an Artifact" or “A Slick Solution: Cleaning an Oil Spill?" You’ll want to check out the brand-new Classroom Videos for these units.

If you haven’t taught an EiE unit in a while, Classroom Videos are great for a concise refresher. They help you see what each activity looks like when real kids are working through it. Use the helpful reflection questions that accompany each video to identify highly effective pedagogical practices you can put to work in your own classroom.

Read More

Topics: EiE Teaching Tips

The Power of Learning by Explaining

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 12/3/15 11:00 AM

2015.12.01_EiE__Outbreak_Alert.jpgIf you’ve spent any time with young children you know they love to ask, “Why?” When a patient adult answers with a thoughtful explanation, that’s a wonderful learning experience!

But depending on the circumstances, there's also great value in deflecting the question back to the child. I got a dramatic reminder of this principle at our Engineering is Elementary (EiE) staff retreat last year.

Read More

Topics: EiE Teaching Tips

Five Fast EiE Teacher Tips for Engineering "Marvelous Machines"

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 11/24/15 9:49 AM

2015.11.24_EiE_Simple_Machines.jpgIf you’re teaching “Marvelous Machines: Making Work Easier," EiE's industrial engineering unit, our collaborators at the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) have some tips for teaching Lesson 4 (“Improving a Factory Subsystem"). The lesson calls for kids to use what they’ve learned about simple machines in science class to design a model “loading dock” that helps a potato chip factory run more smoothly. Try these five fast tips to save time, reduce classroom chaos, and most importantly, enhance your students’ learning!

Read More

Topics: Classroom Organization, EiE Teaching Tips

Ask EiE: What to Do About Engineering Fails

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 11/19/15 11:00 AM

Each Thursday on the EiE Blog, we bring you tips for teaching elementary engineering. Today's guest blogger is EiE professional development provider Elissa Jordan.

A teacher works with students on the EiE acoustic engineering challenge.When I work with teachers who are just starting to implement Engineering is Elementary, I often see resistance to the idea that failure is highly valued in engineering.

When a student designs a technology that doesn’t work as intended—say, a model maglev train that doesn’t levitate, or a solar oven that doesn’t get hot enough—it’s distressing! We want students to have positive, affirming experiences in school, not be discouraged.

So it's tempting to “help” kids who seem to be making ineffective design choices by purposefully leading them to better ideas. It seems like a supportive strategy. But in fact, it can be counterproductive.

Read More

Topics: Engineering Habits of Mind, EiE Teaching Tips

Ask EiE: Do my student engineers HAVE to work in teams?

Posted by Chantal Balesdent on 11/12/15 11:00 AM

Every Thursday on the EiE Blog, we bring you tips and tricks that help you teach your best.

A team of happy teachers at an EiE workshop.During every Engineering is Elementary (EiE) professional development workshop, we ask teachers to wear their “Student Hats” while they work through the hands-on engineering activities, just the way their students will. Afterwards, they put on their “Teacher Hats” to reflect on the experience. Recently, during the “Teacher Hat” debrief, one teacher raised her hand, looking concerned. “Do my students HAVE to work in teams?” she asked. “I think there’ll be too many behavior issues. It will detract from the content of the lessons.”

Great question. SHOULD you allow your students to work through EiE activities independently?

Read More

Topics: EiE Teaching Tips, Implementing EiE