Nation's First Comprehensive Elementary Engineering Curriculum Now Complete
July 12, 2011
The National Center for Technological Literacy® at Museum of Science, Boston has completed the first edition of its Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) curriculum. The nation's largest elementary engineering curriculum, EiE is the first to focus on engineering and technology, to reinforce science concepts, and to collect data on both student and teacher learning. All 20 curricular units will be available in Fall 2011.
The EiE project began in 2003 as an innovative pilot involving eight Massachusetts teachers and 200 students. After 60,000 hours of development and rigorous field-testing, EiE has grown into a vibrant, robust curriculum that has served 26,744 teachers and 1,833,755 students nationwide.
Focus on Problem-Solving
Integrating lessons in engineering with science, language arts, social studies, and math, EiE makes the subject engaging by introducing children in grades 1 - 6 via storybooks narrated by child characters from around the world who face community-based problems. Students in the books and in class use creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork to engineer solutions to real problems via hands-on design activities. The curriculum spans the design of water filters and knee braces to cleaning up an oil spill. Each unit includes a storybook, teacher guide, and materials kit.
Promising Early Results
Data indicate that children who participate in EiE learn more about engineering, technology, and science concepts when compared with a control group. Teachers also consistently report higher levels of engagement for all types of learners. EiE's design and inquiry-based approach fosters open-ended learning where there is no single correct answer. Kris Exline, a fifth-grade teacher at North Carolina's Rachel Freeman School of Engineering, says students "have gained a greater ability to problem-solve, think deeply with critical questioning," and do "not give up on difficult problems."
Ahead: Engineering Adventures
In response to requests for a hands-on curriculum for out-of-school settings, Engineering Adventures (EA) is being created for after-school and camp programs. Similar to EiE, EA engages children in design challenges that focus on a field of engineering and ask children to use creativity, teamwork, science, and engineering.
Interested in EiE professional development? Contact Val Costa, firstname.lastname@example.org.