Engineering in the K-12 Classroom
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Engineering in the K-12 Classroom


I think it’s actually a very interesting time for engineering education at the K-12 level in our country. We’ve decided that we’re going to include it in the education of children, but there’s still a lot of work to be done, exciting work, to think about what that looks like, develop materials, and develop professional development so that teachers can bring it in high quality ways. So there are many benefits, we found, to bringing engineering in the classroom. The kids, for the most part, get really excited. They love to create things, they love to make things. The fact that you’re allowing them to create and make, that you’re allowing them to participate in driving their own learning has been very powerful. It’s been very powerful with kids that do well in classes, but it’s been especially powerful with kids that are currently having issues in the class. Either because they are bored, or because they learn differently. Engineering gives them that opportunity to shine in a way that they maybe couldn’t have otherwise. I mean, I like to say that children are born natural engineers, and we’ve tended to educate it out of them. So if you look at young kids, they build forts, they build bridges, they build, you know, bike or ski jumps. They have this natural proclivity to solve problems and keep improving on them, and keep trying to figure out how things work. Engineering is also a great place to bring together their knowledge in many different fields. To be a good engineer, you have to understand science. You have to understand math. You have to appreciate the clients. You have to understand something about psychology. You have to understand something about art. Uh, so it, brings in many different aspects in different kids with different strengths all find a place where their strength plays out in designing this actual product. I think if folks, uh, realize that children naturally solve problems, and are very interested in new solutions, and that elementary teachers know most of what they need to know to teach engineering, that’s a good jumping off point.

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