Engineering In Elementary Stem Education – Spelling the ‘E’ in STEM: Why Technology Matters to Your Child As interest in technology grows, here’s what parents need to know about this changing STEM profession
Editor’s note: Science, technology, robotics, engineering, art and math: STREAM is in demand more than ever in our schools and communities. However, only one-third of eighth-graders earn a “proficient” grade in math and science. In this ongoing series, we’ll explore how schools and organizations are approaching STREAM in groundbreaking new ways. Read more episodes here.
Engineering In Elementary Stem Education
How do you solve the challenges of longer space missions with reduced payloads? How does an astronaut work in microgravity? Just ask Thomas Salverson and Emily Takara, winners of the October 2016 Future Engineers Think Outside the Box competition. Salverson used 3D printing technology to create expandable pod storage containers that help reduce storage issues in space, while Takara created a “Space Anchor” that helps. Astronauts avoid getting stuck while floating in microgravity.
Science & Technology (stem)
The Mars Medical Challenge is the fifth in a series of space innovations as part of the Engineers of the Future Think Outside the Box Challenge. Challenge: K-12 students must create a 3D digital model of a medical or dental facility that an astronaut could use on a three-year mission to Mars. Documents will be accepted until January 25, 2017. More details here.
Admire? you must Salverson is a freshman in college. What about Takara? He is in high school. Both are engineers who are changing the way we think about technology.
The Future Engineers Think Outside the Box Challenge is the fourth in a series of engineering challenges presented by a trio of organizations: NASA, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the online education platform Future Engineers (FE). Since 2015, the FE Challenge has challenged students aged 19 and under to come up with their ideas to solve big questions using 3D printing technology. Current topic: Mars Medical Challenge (details at right).
The contest is co-founded by mechanical engineer Deanne Bell (you may recognize her from the CNBC reality series).
The Importance Of Stem Education In Primary Schools
). For Bell, the value of the FE problem is that it allows students to create useful objects. All these students need is a good problem to have—which the abundance of technology offers, he says.
To encourage students of all abilities, FE challenges are deliberately kept open, meaning children can use a wide range of skills and have no limitations in creating, designing and building. “For example,” Bell says, “a younger student might build a box to collect samples for a mission to Mars, [an older] student might build a hydroponic growth chamber for plants.” The goal, he says, remains the same. “My mission is to make engineering more accessible,” he says. As for the students, “they are fearless.”
Organizations like FE are pushing the boundaries of engineering — the “E” in the much-discussed science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education — but is it enough to quench the nation’s thirst for STEM-oriented jobs? Already, nearly half of companies surveyed report a STEM skills gap, meaning they lack the workforce skills needed to compete effectively in the near future.
Unfortunately, this gap is not easy to overcome. While Salverson and Takara provide inspiring examples of students embracing STEM in the form of engineering, many struggle to understand what an engineer is. In a 2005 report by the American Society for Engineering Education, more than half of the students surveyed said they thought engineering jobs—including repairing cars, installing cables, powering machines, and constructing buildings—were a far cry from the modern engineering profession.
What Is Stem For Kids
Noha El-Ghobashy, ASME’s Executive Director and President of Engineering for Change, says. He says students need to understand the power of engineering and that it’s not just for students who excel in math and science.
“We want to add the concept of engineers as humanists,” says El-Ghobashi. “For example, what are engineers doing to solve global poverty? What are engineers doing to improve the human condition around the world?”
Engineering, he says, is about “understanding the world and the universe around us.” Helping students understand this concept is an important step in encouraging them to study engineering. A 2008 report published by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) states that “encouraging young people to make a difference in the world through engineering careers is more engaging than emphasizing the difficulty of math and science skills.” .
El-Ghobashy says that it’s not just students who need to understand this. The same is true for teachers, whose interaction with engineering in traditional educational programs may be limited. “They don’t really understand what [engineering] really means, so I talk about critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and innovation,” says El-Ghobashi. He says it resonates with teachers and students alike, and is slowly but surely changing perceptions of what engineering is and why it can be a viable career path.
Stem Words All Elementary Engineering Teachers Need To Know
The National Academy of Engineering’s LinkEngineering program also helps dispel misconceptions about engineering. Launched in 2015, the three-year project provides K-12 students with engineering resources and connects teachers with other educators who teach engineering. One of the goals is to better define technology so that teachers can more clearly inform their students about the profession. It’s an opportunity to “join a community of people who are all trying to figure out the next step in the evolution of STEM education,” says Cary Sneider, chair of LinkEngineering at Portland State University (PSU).
However, this change is still a work in progress. Over the past 15 years, engineering education has grown in grades K-12, with tens of millions of elementary and middle school students benefiting from formal engineering education. However, the number of K-12 teachers who can teach engineering remains small compared to the demand for engineering teachers.
There’s another way K-12 education is embracing tech: STEAM. This approach to learning takes STEM and adds an “A” for an artistic component. In the case of engineering, this usually means focusing on design.
“STEAM really embraces the idea that you can’t teach these subjects in a vacuum,” says Bell of the FE competition. “They are all woven together and creatively incorporated into the design process.”
Challenges In Stem Education And How Teachers Can Overcome Them￼
Ultimately, STEAM is about bringing context to STEAM, says Georgette Yakman, who leads STEAM Education and advises on STEAM. It’s what you can engineer, systematize, or analyze in new ways, Yakman says; It is based on your understanding of what science is, what is created, technology and how it is understood and organized mathematically. Sure, engineering is about design, Yakman says, but STEAM is about something deeper. “It’s about addressing the who, why, what and how of STEM.”
PSU’s Sneider says engineering involves a systematic approach to problem solving, and that means thinking about what problem to solve, criteria and constraints for successful solutions, and lots of creative brainstorming. Therefore, “It’s important to think outside the box, find really creative solutions, or find ways to use old solutions to solve new problems.” STEAM, he says, fits the bill.
Jenny Buckley, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Delaware, is excited to see more students entering college interested in combining art and engineering. “I think it’s a fantastic idea, as with many new STEAM initiatives, to have young people exposed to art and technology side by side,” he says. “The two are inextricably linked in the real world.” In response, his university expanded its curriculum in product design and engineering design.
Part of STEAM’s mission is a reputation for producing creative students who innovate, says Ruth Catchen, a STEM/STEAM education consultant based in Denver, Colorado. “The more creatively and diligently a student solves a problem, the further they can progress,” says Catchen.
Engaging Preschoolers In Stem: It’s Easier Than You Think!
Often, she says, incorporating the arts can help open doors for students who might not have gone into STEM in the first place. In many schools, STEAM is seen in project-based learning, where students are given a project and expected to creatively solve problems together and then develop a solution. Two examples of project-based STEAM learning in our state are Wenatchee Public Schools and Seattle School for Girls.
Each year, third graders at Wenatchee Public Schools in Wenatchee, Washington learn about the life cycle of salmon. Recently, thanks to the expanded STEAM program, students added a new experience to the curriculum: they started raising their own salmon. Using classroom aquariums, students hatched and raised nearly 100 summer Chinook salmon before releasing them into a local river with the help of the Cascade Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group.
How does engineering fit into all of this? At one point during the project, the students noticed that goldfish eggs were caught in the mesh of the aquarium’s egg basket. Out of concern, they prototyped a new basket with popsicle sticks and nets. Then they used a 3D printer to create the solution. They sent the final result with them