Engineering for Allby: Pamela S. Lottero-Perdue, Sarah Lovelidge, and Erin Bowling

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As calls for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at the elementary level become more vociferous, elementary teachers may be wondering whether engineering is meant for all students. However, the authors assert that engineering can be taught in inclusive environments. It may be especially empowering for those who struggle with traditional subjects. Here they describe how the core practice of engineering and its design process was taught in a third-grade inclusive classroom in which students used this approach to design windmill blades.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (6)
  • on Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:45 PM

It is hard to know what is good and what is not when learning different strategies to teach. This can be especially hard when you are working towards your degree because you do not have the means to try out these different strategies. However, I feel like this article did a great job of explaining how it is beneficial for all students, not just those who do well in science and reading. They had prior knowledge about the windmill design by making the sail design before. This set the students up for success and I really liked how they step by step helped the students through the lesson without telling them exactly what was correct. They let the students struggle with the concept and improve their ideas as they went. Overall, I feel like this article was great and had real-life implications.

Madison H  (Waverly, IA)
Madison H (Waverly, IA)

  • on Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:32 AM

This article gives detailed instructions for a classroom activity in which students design and test a windmill that pulls up a cup. While learning about science concepts such as friction, force, and kinetic energy; students are also experiencing engineering design. Engineering activities have been around the science classroom since the beginning of science instruction. It just wasn't called "engineering design". With STEM coming to the forefront, engineering is heard more in classrooms.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:50 PM

Although, this article was written using information gathered from a third grade classroom, it can be used with modifications at any grade level. The first thing it points out is a national program, Engineering is Elementary (EiE), that has created elementary-level engineering units that link to the national science education standards. Using one of the units, "Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills", the article models a five step engineering design process (Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, & Improve). Each step of the process was described and a chart with the steps and descriptions is included in the article. This article is an extremely good article to use as a template when planning a STEM activity. I recommend this article to K-8 teachers.

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia

  • on Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:56 PM

I enjoyed reading this article. The students were engaging in an actvity of making windmill blades. The use of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics were quite evident in the experiment. Students of all ability levels were able to complete the task and learn from their experiences. Use this to improve your classroom science through the use of STEM. Love it!

Susan Grandick
Susan Grandick

  • on Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:25 PM

Engineering design is not a difficult process but for teachers and students who have not embraced this technique it can be initially challenging. This technique is essential for a true STEM curriculum. These authors provide and explain through a chart and with example the five steps of the EiE (Engineering is Elementary) national program. The steps include the following: ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve. This is a great article and a great website.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:48 PM

Building a "stem-ified" school is not an easy process; however, in the article, Engineering for All, teachers are able to walk their students through the process. As an educator, the idea of (STEM) can feel like one more added tasks to our do list. But, the authors believe that all learners can participate in "engineering" as a part of the learning process. STEM is often defined by people as a project and/or career. Yet, it is the process that we go through shifts our mindset. These processes include ask, imagine, plan, create, and revise. These skills are essential for student to grasp the ideas engineering. More than that, engineering is a skill that all students can participate in. Historically, cool projects and tasks were reserved for "gifted" and on grade-level students. So, I enjoyed reading how these teachers incorporated engineering (STEM process) in the class where all students could participate. Great Read!!!

Vanshelle Turner  (Lithonia, GA)
Vanshelle Turner (Lithonia, GA)

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