|Nothing is ever achieved without enthusiasm …
"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire." …W. B. Yeats
|A side benefit for teachers in doing the P.D. is learning how to problem solve which leads to better teaching and learning.|
How to teach
•Reflecting ( Meta-cognition )
Our approach to integrating this concept is by developing professional development for existing teachers. This can then be translated to be a supplemental course at teacher training colleges.
Our Offerings: PD Workshops
Two Hour, One day Overviews
Interested in Professional Development in your school system?
“Educating PreK-5th grade students to love learning in an exciting world of engineering and thinking skills (tools of engineering)”
This program for PreK-5th grades introduces teachers to engineering design and thinking skills (tools for engineering) in an interdisciplinary project based learning environment. The program uses the engineering design process, as defined in the Massachusetts Science Framework, as a connector between students’ literature (fiction, fairytales and history) to their mathematics and science curricula. It infuses the use of thinking strategies (including creative and critical thinking, provocative questions and meta-cognitive reflection), skills that are part of the engineering process.
This approach is based on the definition, “Engineering is about designing useful products & processes for society using all disciplines, but mainly science & mathematics”. Teachers can use the design process to engage their students while dialoguing about literature or social- studies/history.
For example, kindergarteners might respond to a common fairy tale by designing a house for one of the little pigs (or perhaps a means of blowing down a house for the wolf!); fifth graders might respond to the book Island of the Blue Dolphins by identifying needs and solutions for Karana, the marooned main character of the novel.
This program gives students the opportunity to be part of the lesson development as their design may be different then a scripted version. It engages the students in the process. It is empowering for students to have a voice in what they are creating and in how they show what they know. When we teach through interdisciplinary units, it is much easier for students to make connections and bring their thinking to a higher level. The teachers are exposed to learning about the Massachusetts Science Framework, strand 4, as well as learning about what engineers do.
It provides the following benefits to the education process:
· Promotes higher-order thinking skills.
· Invites the incorporation of instructional technology into the curriculum.
· Offers a differentiated learning environment.
· Creates rich cross-curricular possibilities.
· Integrates math and science in an important way that show students how and why they are relevant and useful in the world.
· Connects directly with improvement of living conditions/safety/health and welfare of people.
· Supports a collaborative joyful and playful creative attitude in the classroom.
How does the program teach innovation or entrepreneurship?
This program explicitly addresses innovation and entrepreneurship in a number of ways.
First: there is an explicit focus on needs finding. Students must identify with characters in in the story, and decide what opportunities might exist to help those characters. As such, the program is heavily focused on the entrepreneurial skill of opportunity identification and assessment.
Second: because the program is heavily oriented toward the kinds of thinking skills that the engineering design process requires, it includes substantial emphasis on the kinds of thinking that lead to innovation. In particular, teachers and students use divergent and convergent thinking processes and techniques (e.g., brainstorming, criteria-based idea selection) as they develop their ideas for how to respond to the needs of characters in literature.
Finally: the design of the professional development workshop is meant to lead to curricular innovation. While participants will be introduced to various techniques and the framework, the participants will be responsible for designing their own projects, and will utilize innovation-oriented design techniques to do so.
Why is this important to society?
The US is losing out to other nations who are developing the innovative and creative systems and products for society.Our PreK-5 grade education system is failing to excite our students about engineering, science and mathematics. Students need to be passionate about learning for today’s world environment so that when they enter middle school, they know they can do the engineering, sciences and
Educators can make the changes to improve learning for students in the 21st century. Understanding the past and building on new educational methods has shown that a more involved student using an interdisciplinary learning process will create an engaging and exciting environment. We can connect stories (from literature or social studies) that children are reading to math and science using thinking skills and the engineering design process to provide a collaborative learning environment. Bringing different subjects together is a natural way to provide an interdisciplinary environment that fosters a creative and exciting learning environment which allows children to see the relevance and take ownership of their learning.
Children's Engineering ... M. David Burghardt, Ph.D., P.E., is a Professor in the Engineering Department at Hofstra University
|Engineers are creative problem solvers who do not seek unique solutions, but optimum ones, the kind in which trade-offs have been made between competing factors, e.g. time, money, and materials. There are several ways to describe the design process, but all include constraints and specifications, research and investigation, brainstorming and creativity, trade-offs and optimization, testing and evaluation, and analysis applied in an iterative, non-linear fashion. In engineering education it is important to assess the process as well as the solution, as our goals are both, not either or. This is exactly the case in children’s engineering.|