"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Engineering is Elementary?

While the Department of Education in the Philippines continues with a basic education curriculum that does not have a formal subject of Science in the first two grades, a team from the Museum of Science in Boston has been working hard for the past ten years developing engineering lessons for young children as early as kindergarten. The program called "Engineering is Elementary" introduces activities that connect engineering concepts with science topics currently taught in elementary classrooms in the United States. These activities make use of readily available materials. The theme covers the cyclic process in engineering, which consists of the following steps; Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create and Improve. There are currently twenty units:

Visit http://www.eie.org/the-20-units to view the above units

Each unit took 3000 hours of staff time to develop. Each one was based on research and extensive pilot studies. There are four lessons in each unit with the following flow:


Lesson Plan Structure
The EiE curricular materials and lesson plans follow a similar structure that consists of a Preparatory Lesson and four Unit Lessons.
Preparatory Lessons (20-30 min): The preparatory lesson is designed to prompt students to think about engineering, technology, and the engineering design process. If teachers have done little with engineering and technology in their classrooms, we suggest that they start an EiE unit with this short introductory activity.
Lesson 1, Engineering Story (90-120 min, 2-3 sessions): The first lesson sets the context for the unit through an illustrated storybook. A series of questions to promote student reflection before, during, and after the story encourage students to reflect upon the story and its engineering components and reinforce literacy skills.
Lesson 2, A Broader View of an Engineering Field (40-60 min):The second lesson focuses on helping students develop a broader perspective on the unit's engineering field of focus. Through hands-on activities, students learn more about the types of work done by engineers in these fields, and the kinds of technology they produce.
Lesson 3, Scientific Data to Inform Engineering Design (1-2 sessions or 40 min): The third lesson is designed to help students understand the linkages between science, mathematics, and engineering. In this lesson, children collect and analyze scientific data that they can refer to in Lesson 4 to inform their designs.
Lesson 4, Engineering Design Challenge (1-3 sessions of 50 min): The unit culminates with an engineering design challenge. Following the steps of the engineering design process, students design, create, and improve solutions to an engineering problem. Design challenges are used as the final project because they allow students with varying academic abilities to succeed; they are easily scaled to meet the needs of all students.
Most of these lessons can be introduced as early as first grade. The following is an introductory video of this program:












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