When we wrote the storybook Omar’s Time to Shine, the story of a boy named Omar in Egypt who designs a lighting system for his school play, we never could have imagined that it would find its way into the hands of a volunteer who leads STEAM activities in Park City, Utah’s historic Egyptian Theatre. You might call that kind of alignment “serendipitous.” Wendi Laurence certainly does! When Wendi attended an EiE Teacher Educator Institute and found the Lighten Up unit, she immediately knew that it would be a blockbuster success in the Egyptian Theatre’s YouTheatre STEAM program. Of course, the story begins a little earlier than that—with an idea and a napkin!
Implementing EiE | Tuesday, November 15
EiE storybook characters are diverse by design. There are 20 different protagonists, all from different backgrounds, races, family situations, and abilities, and it’s for one good reason: students feel inspired when they read stories about someone they can identify with.
This intentional diversity was a plus for Claudine Conover, a PreK-5 science teacher at a small school in the Bronx, as she searched for STEM lessons that would resonate with her students.
We’ve told you about how EiE meets the needs of many student populations, like English Learners and students with diverse needs, but there’s one population benefitting from EiE that may surprise you: students in gifted and talented (GT) programs. This week at the National Association for Gifted Children’s 2016 conference, EiE’s Chris San Antonio-Tunis presented his preliminary research about EiE’s impact on GT populations to a standing-room-only crowd. He shared a few reasons why real teachers from around the country love using EiE in their gifted and talented classrooms.
Implementing EiE | Tuesday, September 13
|Burke Swenson (r) in his Iowa STEM lab.|
When Iowa STEM instructor Burke Swenson breaks out the Engineering is Elementary unit Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills, he has no trouble making connections between the engineering design challenge his middle school students are about to tackle and their real-life experiences. “The state of Iowa has more wind turbines per capita than anywhere else,” he says. “Go down the interstate an hour, and you’re at a wind farm.”
Implementing EiE | Wednesday, August 24
|Nervous about teaching engineering? You know more than you think you do!|
Q: I just learned I’ll be teaching the Engineering is Elementary curriculum this year. But I don’t know anything about engineering! Help—how do I get smart in a hurry?
A: First, know that you’re not alone. Most elementary teachers have never taken a college course in engineering. Second, remember that you don’t have to master advanced engineering concepts like “axiomatic design” or “dual modular redundancy,” just familiar concepts like “systems” and “processes.” Here are four fast ways to learn more about classroom engineering.