NCTL Middle School Engineering Units to Feature PBS's Design Squad
July 09, 2011
Recognizing the critical need for middle school engineering instructional materials, the Museum of Science's National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) is collaborating with the PBS kids TV show and website Design Squad, which is produced by WGBH Boston. Targeted to students in grades 6-8, Engineering Now is made up of ten classroom units, each focusing on a particular technology industry or field, such as manufacturing, aerospace, agriculture, energy, and communication. After engaging students with a Design Squad episode, the units will continue with hands-on design challenges that link learning about engineering to science and math. Additional multimedia materials, including short Lab TV "webisodes" of real engineers and scientists at work, will make career connections for students.
The first unit -- on agricultural engineering -- is being tested this summer in Massachusetts. For more information, please contact Peter Wong, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Design Squad features interactive games, engaging video, and hands-on activities for middle school aged kids. The project's goal is to increase students' understanding of the technological world, deepen their understanding of the engineering design process, improve their ability to design innovative solutions to real problems, and increase their interest in pursuing Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) at the high school level. Design Squad offers real world examples of engineering and sparks kids' interest in exploring STEM concepts on their own or with an adult.
In partnership with Tufts University, the Museum's NCTL has already developed another award-winning middle school curriculum. Called Building Math and published by Walch Education, this three-book series encourages students to develop algebraic thinking as they solve engineering challenges on imagined adventures to Mount Everest, the Amazon, and the South Pacific.