June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
11.692.1 - 11.692.9
How do you Teach Engineering in Kindergarten and First Grade?
Abstract As part of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program titled “K-6 Gets a Piece of the PIEE (Partnerships Implementing Engineering Education),” graduate fellows and undergraduate students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Worcester, MA have implemented a technology and engineering curriculum in kindergarten and grade one in the Worcester Public Schools (WPS) System. This follows successful implementation of the technology and engineering curriculum in the first two years of the program in grades two through six. This project is also part of the NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program, the goal of which is to involve engineering graduate students with K-12 science and engineering education. Massachusetts is one of the few states to have mandated the teaching of engineering and technology topics from kindergarten through grade twelve. Needless to say, the approach to teaching engineering that is suitable for the university, high school, middle school, or fifth and six grade levels is unworkable in kindergarten and first grade. For example, the students cannot read or write! Nevertheless, concepts such as creative design, materials selection, and proper tool use can be effectively taught if approached in the appropriate way. Graduate fellows have written and illustrated a set of picture books that provides a particularly effective introduction to these topics. Curriculum plans, representative lessons, program successes, and lessons learned, are described below.
Introduction This project, titled Partnerships Implementing Engineering Education (PIEE), is part of the NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program, the goal of which is to involve engineering graduate students with K-12 science and engineering education. Massachusetts is one of the few states to have mandated the teaching of engineering and technology topics from kindergarten through grade twelve. The PIEE project team at WPI consists of two principal investigators, three faculty/staff members, six graduate fellows, and fourteen undergraduate students. In the Worcester Public Schools (WPS), it consists of three principals, twenty seven teachers, and over four hundred elementary school students. More specifically, the kindergarten and grade one team is staffed by one WPI faculty member, two graduate students, four undergraduate students, and four elementary school teachers. More than eighty kindergarten and first grade students participate. Principal investigators oversee the project as a whole, manage teams at each grade level, and coordinate WPI/WPS relations. Other members of the WPI faculty and staff advise undergraduate students as they complete their service learning projects and provide support to graduate fellows. Graduate fellows devote full time in the summer and half time in the academic year to their K-6 activities, which include substantial time in the elementary classrooms and with elementary school teachers as they design and often deliver units, lessons, and lesson materials on engineering topics. In addition, the fellows work closely with undergraduate
Bush, K., & Gray, J., & Holmes, M., & Kosinski, K., & Orr, J., & Razzaq, L., & Rulfs, J. (2006, June), How Do You Teach Engineering In Grades K And One? Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--702
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