Monday, November 12, 2012

New Science Unit: Rocks and Engineering

Our class is beginning an engineering unit called Materials Engineering: Replicating Artifacts, which is part of the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) curriculum developed by the Museum of Science, Boston.  EiE is a curricular program that integrates the science students are already learning in school with engineering design. Through this unit students will use what they learn about the science of rocks to design and improve a replica of an artifact. The unit will begin with a story about twin girls from Russia who solve a similar engineering design challenge.

There are many reasons to introduce children to engineering in elementary school:

  • Engineering projects integrate other disciplines. Engaging students in hands-on, real-world engineering experiences can enliven math, science and other content areas.
  • Engineering fosters problem-solving skills, including problem formulation, iteration  and testing of alternative solutions.
  • Children are fascinated with building and with taking things apart to see how they work. By encouraging these explorations in elementary school, we can keep these interests alive. Describing their activities as "engineering" when children are engaged in the natural design process can help them develop positive associations with engineering, and increase their desire to pursue such activities in the future.
  • Engineering and technological literacy are necessary for the 21st century.  As our society increasingly depends on engineering and technology, our citizens need to understand these fields.
If you have expertise about the science, field of engineering, or have any general questions or comments about the engineering and design unit we are about to begin, please let us know.