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EiE Teaching Tips | Tuesday, October 3

Materials Management Tips for Hands-On Learning

Effective materials management is key to the success of a hands-on, inquiry-based program like EiE. In each teacher guide, our curriculum team included tips to help educators prepare student workstations and organize their classrooms. We developed many of these tips based on the teacher feedback we received during the development process. But we’re always listening to and responding to educators’ feedback, even after the development process is done. In our quest to make teachers’ days easier, we developed additional resources to guide them as they teach EiE. Check out these three resources to make materials management a breeze this school year!

EiE Resources for Teachers | EiE Teaching Tips | Tuesday, August 29

EiE Teacher Tip: Our How-To Videos Make Lesson Prep a Breeze!

A picture is worth a thousand words. A video is worth even more, when it saves you time and energy! That’s why Engineering is Elementary offers “How-To Videos”—short segments you can stream from our website. Each video walks you through some lesson prep for the unit you’ll be teaching.

EiE Teaching Tips | Tuesday, May 23

"Can I Just Teach Lesson 4?" The Power of Scaffolded STEM Learning

Elementary teachers are under tremendous time pressure, especially with the current emphasis on preparing for standardized tests. Working through the four lessons in an Engineering is Elementary unit takes about six to ten hours of class time. When I facilitate EiE workshops, teachers often ask me: “Do I HAVE to teach all four lessons? What if I just skip to Lesson 4?" . . . which is the engineering design challenge, where kids design, build, and test a technology, such as a solar oven or water filter.  

In our Teacher Educator Institutes, we ask participants to skip to Lesson 4 deliberately, as a learning experience. I recall one workshop where we started with Lesson 4 from our “Designing Submersibles” unit; the challenge is to make a model submersible from small plastic vials that contain sand, beads, or marbles.

EiE Teaching Tips | Monday, August 12

You’ll Go Wild for These Four Animal-Themed Engineering Activities

At EiE, we’ve learned that the best way to get kids interested in engineering is to connect to a subject they care about. Every kid is different—some might be interested in transportation technologies, while others would rather learn about ice cream. But we know that many kids share a common interest: caring for and protecting animals. Engineering can play a big part in the care and keeping of animals, and we’ve seen how much that can motivate kids to design and improve technologies. In honor of National Pet Day, check out these storybooks and in- and out-of-school-time curriculum units, guaranteed to be a wild success in your classroom or OST program!

EiE Teaching Tips | Tuesday, February 21

EiE Teacher Tip: How to Ask Good Questions!

Happy 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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