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Engineering Habits of Mind | Thursday, October 20

Learning from Failure

Failure is Not an Option is the title of Gene Kranz’s autobiography. The phrase expresses how Kranz, a NASA flight director, and his team approached problems of all kinds—most notably, how to get the Apollo 13 astronauts home safely after a disastrous explosion in the service module. When I was fresh out of school and working my first job, I had a coffee cup with this slogan. The idea is common in American culture: in the workplace, in relationships, in schools.

For the Apollo mission, a no-failure mindset was exactly what the team needed to find a solution, and fast. But framing success as the only option is a problem in schools, especially in the elementary classroom—and especially if classroom instruction is focused on getting the one right answer.

Engineering Habits of Mind | Thursday, May 11

Math Lessons Go Better With Engineering

The Common Core State Standards for math are pushing elementary educators to re-think how to teach math. How do you go beyond skills like adding and subtracting or the times tables to help kids develop a deep understanding of math concepts? Engineering activities are an ideal framework for meeting this challenge. 

Engineering Habits of Mind | Thursday, March 31

Join EiE at #NSTA2016 to Learn About "Engineering Habits of Mind"

Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Christine M. Cunningham, founder and director of Engineering is Elementary.

Not long ago, engineering was an academic subject mainly reserved for college students. But as states put new science standards in place, many elementary teachers face the expectation that their students must learn engineering concepts and skills. Can you really teach engineering to very young students? I’ve been working in the field of K-12 engineering for more than a decade; based on my own research and that of others, the answer is a resounding yes.  I’ll be talking about this today at 3:30 at the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Nashville (Davidson A1, Music City Center). Here’s a sneak preview of my presentation.

Engineering Habits of Mind | Assessment | Tuesday, March 15

How Do You Measure Engineering Learning?

The new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are bringing engineering into elementary classrooms. They're opening the door to new ways of learning, but these standards also pose a challenge when it comes to assessments. Engineering is a team effort, but most assessments are designed to be taken by individual students.

When kids work in a group, what can you say about each individual student with respect to level of engagement? Performance? Learning progress? EiE is developing new assessments that address these questions as component of E4, an NSF-funded study that compares the effectiveness of two elementary engineering curricula.

Engineering Habits of Mind | Tuesday, March 8

Collaborating is an Engineering Habit of Mind

Read any help-wanted ad these days. Chances are, the job requires someone who’s a “team player.” As the EiE Blog continues to explore how early experience with engineering helps develop “ engineering habits of mind” (ways of thinking that support learning across the curriculum), let’s take a look at a valuable skill in school and at work, the habit of collaborating.
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