- Celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world
- Increase public dialogue about the need for engineers
- Bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents”
DiscoverE website has an excellent self-guided tutorial for volunteers and educators, with tips and advice on leading a hands-on engineering experience for children ages, and inspiring photographs of children involved in engineering activities. The advice includes:
- Do the activity yourself before you introduce it.
- Identify learning goals.
- Make modifications if necessary.
- Think of ways to extend the challenge.
- Emphasize the value of brainstorming and exploration, rather than right and wrong.
- Use open-ended questions to guide.
The website has a selection of activities in case you don’t yet have an engineering curriculum. Use the “More filters here” tab (a bump on the left side of the horizontal blue line) to search for engineering activities for elementary and early childhood, such as, “Curious George Sailboat,” and adapt any that are above the level of your children.
To borrow from author Laura Numeroff…If you give children an engineering problem to work on, they are going to brainstorm a solution. If you give them materials to try build their designed solution, they are going test it and then re-design their solution…Once you and your students get involved in engineering, you will probably want to use resources to expanding the curriculum. DiscoverE suggests:
Science and Children, the National Science Teachers Association’s (NSTA) elementary journal, publishes “Engineering Encounters,” a column on engineering. Searching for “engineering” on the Science and Children page brought up 43 articles, including several “Teaching Through Tradebooks” columns. The October 2013 issue focuses on engineering. Use the NSTA resources to develop a curriculum that aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards which have a strong emphasis on engineering design.
Share your favorite engineering resource by commenting below!
I am looking forward to the 2014 USA Science & Engineering Festival in the nation’s capital on April 26-27, 2014. Held indoors at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., it has booth after booth of activities for all ages. I wrote a post about the 2012 Festival.
While I wait for April to come, I’m going to check out the websites of all the Festival’s partners. There are many interesting organizations that promote the understanding of science and engineering concepts.