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Hi! I was hoping to get some advice on how to incorporate engineering into my field experience with kindergarteners. I know they would enjoy themselves but I am struggling with a good idea and motivating purpose for support. Thanks for any ideas offered!
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Have them look around and explain how they some object was built!!!
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You could use a book like Jack and the Beanstalk and have the children build a tower for Jack to climb that might be safer and stronger than the beanstalk.
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Kindergartners are natural builders and designers, so many of the things they do for play are also engineering projects. I love doing marble runs with this age. Here is an example (except that I only give the kids the pipe insulation and tape to work with in class.) http://frugalfun4boys.com/2014/02/24/build-a-marble-run-with-pipe-insulation/
You can give building challenges using things they already use- blocks, magna-tiles, k'nex or LEGO. For example: build a bridge, build a structure that can hold x number of action figures, etc.
There are a lot of other engineering ideas I've collected in this Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/shareitscience/engineering/
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I found a book that might be used to introduce kindergarten students to engineering . It comes from the Science for All. The book is Monkey with a Toolkit and the Noisy Problem . I am also including an attachment to the teacher guide developed by Kirk Robbin. I hope this is helpful.
monkey-with-a-tool-belt-lp-2-0_(2).doc (0.22 Mb)
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I think using the blocks in their stations and the idea of building something, would be a good way to show them how engineers think. They have to find what works best, and sometimes that is through trial and error for kinder babies. Hope this unit goes well for you!
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Having them build with blocks increases spatial reasoning. When we are working on perimeter and area in 4th and 5th grade, students who had very little hands on experiences building with blocks or Legos, tend to struggle with the concept of area.
I just completed a lesson in a first grade classroom with them building ramps. They loved it! Throughout the lesson we called them engineers. They were so very proud of the ramps they used. We supplied the supplies and set guidelines. We expected them to build one to see how fast they could get their car to go and then figure out how to stop the car before it hit the bottom of the ramp. For Kindergarten you could just have them build ramps, and not modify it to stop the car. That way they can be engineers! For your advanced students, you could have them figure out how to slow down the car.
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Danielle Hardin, that sounds like a lot of fun and a great lesson that will stay with them. You could use a book like, Three Billy Goats Gruff and have them explore some ideas of how the goats can get across the bridge safely. They may want to build a slide, a zipline, or a new bridge. You could have stations set up for each type of structure for them to build.
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