Thursday, February 18, 2016

Children, Learning, and Engineering

The Virginia Department of Education and the Governor have designated February as CTE (Career and Technology Education) Month. AND February 21-26th 2016 is Discover Engineers Week. What do these things have in common? STEM and PBL



The Virginia Department of Education has supported the Children’s Engineering program for 20 years under the Instruction: Career and Technology Education Division. The Children’s Engineering program is full of engineering experiences for elementary students that will bring STEM (and more) into your classroom that aligns at the Adaptation and Infusion levels of the NKCPS Instructional Framework.


Quoted from the Children’s Engineering, Teacher resource guide: “Each experience is intended to reinforce specific VA Standards of Learning. Additionally, these experiences have been correlated to the Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology. The experiences promote critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and they build upon a child's capability to retain content described in the Standards of Learning.”


Students get the opportunity to “engineer” a solution to a problem. All of the example experiences have been reviewed and practiced by teachers in Virginia and each free experience requires the students to solve a problem using the engineering design process, with minimal materials!


Check out grade level lessons such as:

Kindergarten: How does your Garden grow?https://goo.gl/dGeqch
1st grade: Clean it up!  https://goo.gl/A3Bkjd
2nd grade: Symmetrical Creatures https://goo.gl/0iC18A
3rd grade:  Geometric Creatures https://goo.gl/Sw48dZ
4th grade: Coal Train  https://goo.gl/V8XguO
5th grade: Extreme Fraction Makeover  https://goo.gl/8ZYrwV


These are just a few examples, there are more at this link: Children’s Engineering
Whole School Membership in the Children’s Engineering Council is available until August 2016 for $125.00. All teachers in the school will have access to the Children’s Engineering Journal and more activities provided by the membership. Look at this example of the “Bag Portfolio” project for 5th grade English SOL 5.3 and 5.7 https://goo.gl/EWPSwn


AND MORE Free Resources:

NASA educators website:
How do we incorporate this with our already stretched too thin time?


  • Ask for parent volunteers to help gather supplies
  • Create a STEM box to keep all the supplies in
  • Do a “STEM” indoor recess
  • Ask students to brainstorm the solution and Ask for help.


Take the Challenge!


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