Why am I thrilled?
The new common core is interweaving engineering throughout the science standards. It is like a dream come true. I love teaching stuff like that, and now I get to do just that without feeling liking I am missing a day of instruction for the upcoming tests.
The following is a quote from the common core for science website.
"One of the most important messages of the Next Generation Science Standards for teachers, parents, and students is that science is profoundly important in addressing the problems we face at the beginning of the 21st century. The purpose of science education, broadly expressed as STEM literacy, is to equip our students with the knowledge and skills essential for addressing society’s needs, such as growing demand for pollution-free energy, to prevent and cure disease, to feed Earth’s growing population, maintain supplies of clean water, and solve the problem of global environmental change. Just as these grand challenges inspire today’s scientists and engineers, the intent of the new standards is to motivate all students to fully engage in the very active practices of science and engineering."
We had better be working on training our children to think like engineers or we could be in real trouble. We have many many challenges that they will need to solve. They addressed only a few of the issue facing this next generation.
I love the following paragraph also from the website. Children are natural engineers.
In some ways, children are natural engineers. They spontaneously build sand castles, dollhouses, and hamster enclosures, and they use a variety of tools and materials for their own playful purposes. Thus a common elementary school activity is to challenge children to use tools and materials provided in class to solve a specific challenge, such as constructing a bridge from paper and tape and testing it until failure occurs. Children’s capabilities to design structures can then be enhanced by having them pay attention to points of failure and asking them to create and test redesigns of the bridge so that it is stronger. Furthermore, design activities should not be limited just to structural engineering but should also include projects that reflect other areas of engineering, such as the need to design a traffic pattern for the school parking lot or a layout for planting a school garden box.
Children ARE natural engineers. Don't you think we need to let them have more of those opportunities to plan, think, build, test, adjust, test again and solve real world problems on a regular basis.
I will do my best over the course of this next semester to add some lesson ideas for incorporating engineering into you lesson plans.