Author
Iteea Account Web Communications Manager National Academy of Engineering

Back to School!

PostedThursday, August 24, 2017 at 11:00 AM

It’s mid-August and around the country kids of all ages are starting to head back to school. Some will be excited to get back to their friends, teachers, and classes. Others will be wishing that summer could last a little longer. Teachers might be asking themselves how to engage all students, even the ones who would prefer to be anywhere else. Asking students if they visited any of these engineering icons during their summer travels could start a discussion of how engineers used their skills to design and build structures that can withstand both weather and millions of visitors for many years. How about a short activity that will let them move around the room, talk with their classmates, brainstorm ideas, or build something? A carefully chosen engineering activity can be a great introduction to the day’s lessons for almost any subject. Teaching upper elementary students about circuits? Have them pass candy to begin thinking about how electrons move. Middle school students learning about energy can brainstorm ideas about how they use energy; this format could also be used to brainstorm ideas on how to solve engineering problems that students have found in their English class reading books or social studies lessons. Short engineering activities can also relate to earth science or even music classes!

Short on time? Even 5 minutes of movement during class will recharge students and prevent tiredness from creeping in; using kinesthetic learning activities can also serve as an introduction to lessons in biology (nerve signal conduction), physics (movement of gas molecules), or almost any other lesson. These activities could also be adapted to professional development or other teacher education settings!

What engineering-related activities have you used to engage and excite your students, no matter their age? Log in and share!

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  • Jen  Gutierrez

    Posted 4 years and 5 months ago

    Hi Linda,
    What grade level are you working with?
  • Linda  Kekelis

    Posted 4 years and 5 months ago

    I love the idea of Novel Engineering--using literature to connect with engineering and inviting students to use the engineering design process to address challenges faced by characters.

    I would love to hear about books that could readily fit into Novel Engineering.