Engineering Lens: Using Engineering Design and Thinking Skills Methods with ANY Subject


Wed, Sep 12, 2012


Target Audience: Grades K-8 teachers

Meeting Info: 4 meetings: 11/3, 11/17, 12/8, and 12/15 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Instructors: Bill Wolfson and Karen DeRusha

Description: Engineering need not “stand alone” in the curriculum; indeed, it can and should leverage existing curricular elements. This workshop series will offer hands-on opportunities for educators to explore practical ways to use engineering design and thinking skills to enrich the study of literature, social studies/history, science, and mathematics. In this curricular approach students respond to literature through engineering design projects by identifying needs that the characters have, identifying multiple possible solutions, and exploring and refining those solutions through prototyping and revision. For example, kindergartners might respond to The Three Little Pigs by designing a house for one of the little pigs (or perhaps a means of blowing down a house for the wolf). Fifth graders, on the other hand, might respond to the book Island of the Blue Dolphins by identifying needs and solutions for Karana, the marooned main character of the novel.

Creative and critical thinking, meta-cognitive reflection, and questioning are the tools for a project-based learning environment to engage children and make learning relevant. While learning about engineering as defined in the frameworks, participants will practice strategies to build creative, collaborative, and community-minded classrooms of the 21st century.

Cost: $200 (includes all four sessions)

Receive a 20% discount in you register before October 4, 2012 ($160).

Receive a 10% discount if you register before October 18, 2012 ($180).

Registration: Click here to download a registration form.

For more information or to register, please email Mia Dubosarsky at



By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the relationship between science and technology/engineering.
  • Provide examples of the types of tasks that engineers perform.
  • Describe the steps of the engineering design process.
  • Show the connection between thinking skills and engineering.
  • Create a lesson plan(s) that will excite and engage children in activities that integrate the engineering curriculum framework requirements with literature, math, science and social studies/history.

Technology/Engineering Standards:

• Identify materials used to accomplish a design task based on specific properties.

• Identify appropriate materials and tools to construct a prototype safely.

• Identify problems that reflect the need for shelter, storage, or convenience.

• Describe different ways to represent a problem.

• Identify relevant design features for building a prototype of a solution to a problem.

Literacy Standards:

• Recount stories and determine their central message, moral, or lesson.

• Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

• Identify elements of fiction (e.g. characters, setting, plot, problem, solution).

• Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

• Report on a topic, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and descriptive relevant details to support main ideas.

•Speak clearly at an understandable pace.

Course Requirements:

For PDPs students will create a simple outline that lists the chosen book, three to five possible design challenges and a suggested sequence of lessons which may include a connection to the science curriculum.

Sample template will be provided.

This post was written by:

- who has written 64 posts on STEM Education Center.

Katie Elmes is Assistant Director of the STEM Education Center.

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