Engaging Students in Hands-On Inquiry Most people have abandoned the old metaphor of students as vessels into which teachers pour knowledge. Educator


Engaging Students in Hands-On Inquiry


Fourth graders engaged in the model membranes unit

Most people have abandoned the old metaphor of students as vessels into which teachers pour knowledge. Educators and STEM business leaders advocate a new paradigm for the 21st century that emphasizes information-processing and problem-solving skills and fosters curiosity, persistence, collaboration, creativity, and communication.

This approach, which is at the core of the EiE curriculum, students take an active role in constructing their understanding. Engaging students actively in interesting hands-on problem solving is key to motivating them to do so. This is why teachers love EiE: the meaningful stories and interesting challenges draw them in, get them excited, and get them thinking.

In this video, fourth-grade teacher Jean Facchiano takes advantage of her students’ high level of engagement to involve them in valuable critical thinking and communication as they make predictions.


Engineering is Elementary Goes to Camp

New Project Targets Middle Schoolers

Teachers keep telling us they wish EiE had curriculum for middle school students. Generous funding from i2 CAMP helps us grant that wish.

The New York City-based educational enterprise is supporting creation of 10 curriculum units for middle school summer camps. EiE will also design modified versions for out-of-school time programs.

i2 CAMP founder Ethan Berman says the project was inspired by his own children. “Many summer camps focus on sports,” says Berman, “but two of my three kids prefer science to kicking balls around.” Looking for a way to support other kids with that viewpoint, Berman connected with our team.

“Middle school is when kids start to think about careers—what they like to do, what they’re good at,” says EiE director Christine Cunningham. “i2 CAMP will help them explore a field that’s too often overlooked.”

The first four i2 CAMP units will be implemented this summer at the Roxbury Latin School in Massachusetts and the Chapin School in New York City. Stay tuned!


Val's Hack

Our Resident MacGyver Shares Tips and Tricks

Are you using our The Attraction is Obvious: Designing Maglev Systems unit? Would you like it if you didn’t have to create the intersection every time you teach lesson 2? No problem! You can create your own portable intersection that can be used year after year like the one our PD team brings to workshops.


Get a large tarp, (ours is 12'x16') and lay it out in a large space like a gym or parking lot. Now, using the directions on page 59 of your teacher’s guide, follow the same steps to tape down the intersection onto the tarp (we used yellow duct tape). Once you are done, you will have a portable tarp that can be used for the class and then folded and put away—or easily shared!

Check the tarp to make sure the tape is still secure from use to use. If stored properly, only minor repairs should be needed.


Upcoming PD Opportunities

Join us at the Museum of Science, Boston for some exciting Professional Development opportunities. Click on the links below for more information or to register:

Everyone Engineers!

A 2-day hands-on workshop designed to introduce educators to the EiE curriculum and prepare them for implementing EiE in the classroom.
* April 4-5, 2013
* July 10-11, 2013
* August 8-9, 2013
* October 10-11, 2013

Teacher Educator Institutes

Our intensive three-day trainings for educators who want to provide EiE professional development to other teachers.
* December 5-7, 2012
* January 30-February 1, 2013  Just added!
* March 13-15, 2013
* May 8-10, 2013
* October 23-25, 2013
* December 4-6, 2013


Help Spread the Word!

If you're making the case for EiE to colleagues, our new brochure might help. For printed copies or other marketing needs, contact Jeff (jodell@mos.org).


Notes from the Field

We'd love to hear from you! Send questions, tips, and stories that might interest your colleagues to EiEnews@mos.org. We'd love to provide a forum for sharing strategies for building support for EiE, student "a-ha" moments, and your clever adaptations.

Photographs we can share would be wonderful (but please download our photo release form, have it signed for all kids in the photos, and send them in with the photos): there's nothing quite like seeing other teachers and students in action.

EiE Logo

Engineering is Elementary® is part of the National Center for Technological Literacy (NCTL) at the Museum of Science, Boston.