Each Thursday on the EiE blog, we offer tips for teachers and answer your questions.
Q. I'm a homeschool teacher and I can only afford the EiE Teacher Guide, not the Materials Kit. But I really want to teach EiE! Can I still use your curriculum?
A. Yes! EiE activities are designed to use easy-to-find, inexpensive materials. So it's easy (and inexpensive) to put together your own kit.
What Do I Need for Classroom Engineering?
Go to the landing page for the unit you plan to teach and download a complete materials list. Or look in the front of your Teacher Guide; you'll find a materials list on page 20 in the “Overview” section.
Notice that the Teacher Guide is a three-ring binder, so you can open the binder, remove the list, and take it with you to the store. (Or make a photocopy to mark up!)
Each list specifies what you’ll need for a class with 30 students. As a homeschool educator, you can adjust those numbers downward to match the number of students you teach.
Engineering with Everyday Items
You probably have many of the materials you need for K-5 engineering in your home . . . everyday items like empty juice cartons, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and drinking straws for the Designing Plant Packages unit, or plastic bags, masking tape, permanent markers, and coffee filters for the Designing Parachutes unit.
For materials you might not have on hand—like an inexpensive calculator, a big piece of posterboard, or safety goggles—check your local office supply store, discount department store, craft store, or home improvement store. Dollar stores also have some good deals on classroom engineering supplies!
If you have difficulty finding an item you need for an EiE activity, please contact us at email@example.com and we'll help you locate an online vendor.
Inexpensive by Design
By the way, our advice that “you don’t HAVE to purchase the kit” applies to classroom teachers, too. If your school is on a tight budget, you may achieve some savings by putting together your own EiE kits, depending on where you live and what unit you plan to teach.
But please know that we receive bulk discounts on the items in our kits, and we pass those discounts along to you. As a nonprofit organization, we’re absolutely dedicated to keeping our prices as low as possible, to make our materials as accessible as possible.
Get more answers to EiE questions on our FAQs page, or share YOUR tip for teaching EiE! If we use it on the blog, we'll thank you by sending the EiE Teacher Guide of your choice.