It may not surprise you to learn that there are a few Star Wars fans on the EiE staff. We wanted to celebrate Star Wars Day EiE style, so we started brainstorming the ways in which our units connect with the Star Wars universe. It goes beyond rockets and rovers: the Star Wars films feature levitating devices and high-tech helmets, too! Star Wars scholars have written books about the scientific virtues of Star Wars, and no one can deny how much of a catalyst it is for STEM enthusiasts’ imaginations. It has inspired NASA engineers to chase their dreams, robotic engineers to design R2-D2-style robot companions, and Australian scientists to design holograms! If your class loves Star Wars as much as we do, they’ll love these out-of-this-world connections.
Out-of-School time | Thursday, April 12
The world faces grave environmental challenges—climate change, pollution, overpopulation, loss of biodiversity, or ozone layer depletion—that we can address only with STEM knowledge and skills. That’s why the National Environmental Education Foundation created Environmental Education Week (EE Week) to promote environmental learning for kids in grades K – 12. This year's Environmental Education week starts Monday, April 23rd through Sunday, April 29th. How will YOU celebrate? We’re pleased to share seven curriculum units from the EiE afterschool programs Engineering Adventures and Engineering Everywhere that fit perfectly with the themes and goals of EE Week, call for inexpensive materials you probably have on hand already, and are super fun!
Out-of-School time | EiE Teaching Tips | Thursday, August 30
Real-world connections are a fantastic way to get kids excited about engineering. The Winter Olympics begin on February 9th, so it's the perfect time to harness kids’ excitement and show them how engineering shapes everything from an athlete’s safety gear to the design of a bobsled course. Below, check out a few Olympic modifications to our in-school and out-of-school-time units that are sure to be a hit in your classroom or afterschool program.
Out-of-School time | Afterschool | Afterschool/Summer Camp | Engineering Adventures | Tuesday, September 11
Imagine this scenario. You’re doing an Engineering Adventures activity with the kids in your afterschool program. They’ve been working hard designing and testing . . . only to discover that their technology doesn’t work as planned. When that bubble wand doesn’t produce any bubbles, or the toy car made from a soda bottle doesn’t roll, don’t despair: this is a teachable moment.
Football season is in full swing and the EiE staff is excited to root for their favorite teams—and to toss around the personalized football that we were happy to receive from our friends at Colorado STEMworks! If the middle schoolers in your afterschool program also have football fever, we have a timely engineering activity for you to implement. Our Engineering Everywhere unit Put a Lid On It: Engineering Safety Helmets introduces youth to the field of biomechanical engineering—a field of engineering that combines mechanical engineering and biology—as they explore the design and construction of helmets. We’ve found that youth are most engaged with engineering when they’re working on problems that connect to their own lives, and Put a Lid On It is the perfect opportunity to engage your kids with compelling real-world connections to football—one of the most popular sports in the United States.