Museum of Science's Engineering is Elementary Goes Global
January 12, 2012
The Museum of Science, Boston is embarking upon a groundbreaking educational initiative, called Project ENGINEER, with 25 science museums, schools, universities, and other institutions in 12 countries. Funded by the European Commission up to about 2.795 million Euro, the goal is the introduction of engineering in elementary schools and museums in Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and Israel, based on the successful Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) model. The Museum of Science will play an instructional and advisory role throughout this exciting first-of-a-kind project.
"An initiative on this scale -- involving engineering as an innovative new approach to inquiry-based science education in European Union primary schools and museums -- has never been done," says Museum president and director Ioannis Miaoulis. "Project ENGINEER will promote global awareness of Engineering is Elementary's engaging hands-on approach."
ENGINEER will adapt to new European contexts EiE's core "engineering design challenge" feature, in which students follow a five-step process to solve engineering problems drawn from their daily lives, such as designing an environment for their pets or improving a bicycle. Teams of EU science museum educators, curriculum experts, and teachers will develop 10 design challenge units, each focusing on a field of engineering (e.g., civil, chemical, food, environment, mechanical). The project will also involve using EiE teacher training materials as a model for creating their own.
Over the next three years, professional development will be provided to 1,000 teachers, and school/museum activities will reach 27,000 students, as teachers using ENGINEER's materials incorporate units into science teaching in their classes and museums offer programs to student groups and the general public. A long-term goal involves integrating engineering into primary schools and museums throughout the European Union and associated countries.