Public Discussion
  • May 15, 2017 | 09:34 a.m.

    Engineering is Elementary® (EiE) is an ongoing project of the National Center for Technological Literacy® at the Museum of Science, Boston. EiE serves children and educators in grades K–8 with research-based, teacher-tested curriculum materials for schools and out-of-school time programs. Wee Engineer, our preschool curriculum, is currently under development and has a tentative release date of Summer 2018. Our talented team continues to grow and to pursue our mission: fostering engineering and technological literacy for ALL elementary-school-aged children. If you have questions about the project or our video, I would be happy to answer them.

  • Icon for: Donna Charlevoix

    Donna Charlevoix

    Program Director
    May 15, 2017 | 12:35 p.m.

    Best opening line ever! "Anyone can be an engineer." 

    What has been the biggest challenge with designing and implementing the EIE program?

  • May 16, 2017 | 03:29 p.m.

    Hi Donna,

    When EiE began fourteen years ago, teaching engineering to this age group was virtually unheard of. We heard comments like, "What? You're going to do calculus with second-graders?!" from skeptical educators. So the initial big challenge was figuring out what age-appropriate engineering looked like at the elementary level. To do this, we worked closely with both classroom teachers and engineers.

    Once we had an idea, we needed to work to disseminate the idea. This initially happened gradually through glowing word-of-mouth reviews and national recognition as a world-class program. The inclusion of engineering the NGSS and many state standards a few years ago was helpful.

    But introducing a new subject into classes still has challenges. Those that teachers most often mention are (a) a lack of time to fit a new subject into the school day. To address this,  in EiE we worked to integrate engineering with existing subjects (b) the need for financial resources to purchase the materials (some corporate sponsors have generously helped with this challenge) and (c) lack of knowledge and comfort teaching engineering—it’s new! Fortunately, we have an excellent professional development team that supports teachers as they implement EiE. You can check out some of their work on our website. We also have a video library that teachers have found very useful in supporting them as they implement EiE.

    - Christine

  • Icon for: Cary Sneider

    Cary Sneider

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2017 | 10:00 a.m.

    It's great to see kids in upper elementary engage with the EiE activities.  Most of the videos I've seen before are for younger kids.  The two kids are fabulous speakers.  

  • May 15, 2017 | 02:49 p.m.

    Hi Cary,

    Thank you! These two are amazing speakers; we always love hearing students' insights! Check out our classroom video library to see more upper elementary students engaging in EiE; we have videos from K-5 classrooms all over the country.


  • Icon for: Janet Yowell

    Janet Yowell

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2017 | 12:07 p.m.

    Hi Christine.... huge proponent of EiE curriculum. So excited to see your team is developing Wee Engineer -- I love that! What a great resource for teachers.

  • May 15, 2017 | 02:54 p.m.

    Hi Janet,

    Thank you for your support! Be sure to take a look at our Wee Engineer webpage and blog roundup to learn more about our development process and check out some videos of our youngest engineers in action.


  • Icon for: Joelle Clark

    Joelle Clark

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 15, 2017 | 03:31 p.m.

    Fantastic message in the video that engineering involves creating solutions and improving designs! I also like the inclusive message that all kids are engineers regardless of where they come from and what their abilities are - well done!

  • May 16, 2017 | 02:30 p.m.

    Hi Joelle,

    Thank you for the kind words! Demonstrating that everyone can engineer is at the core of every EiE curriculum unit. EiE's lead researcher, Cathy Lachapelle, and I wrote about the 14 EiE Design Principles that serve as a framework for our curricula last year, with a special focus on designing experiences that engage ALL students. Check it out if you're interested in learning more!


  • Icon for: Sue Doubler

    Sue Doubler

    May 15, 2017 | 10:43 p.m.


    Your video really captures how stories can provide a meaningful context for using and understanding engineering. You mention that narrative is one of your inclusive design principles. Could you say more about your other design principles?

  • May 16, 2017 | 02:39 p.m.

    Hi Sue,

    We've identified a set of 14 curricular design principles that have been grouped into four larger categories. Our curriculum units must: set learning in a real world context, present design challenges that are authentic to engineering practice, scaffold student work, and demonstrate that "everyone can engineer". If you want to learn more, you can check out a full list of our design principles in one of our recent articles on the subject.

    - Christine

  • Icon for: Sue Doubler

    Sue Doubler

    May 19, 2017 | 01:29 p.m.

    Appreciate the opportunity to read your paper. You've given so much though to design principles. I'm struck by the degree to which your principles reflect the human factor. I was particularly struck by the ways you convey the idea that everyone engineers. 

  • Icon for: Deborah Hanuscin

    Deborah Hanuscin

    May 16, 2017 | 12:26 p.m.

    "Engineering" includes diverse people, and also diverse types of engineering fields- civil, computer, chemical, bio, electrical, etc. Does EiE address different engineering fields as well? Do you have any evidence for how the program impacts students' career interest

  • May 16, 2017 | 02:18 p.m.

    Hi Deborah,

    Great question! Educating students about a variety of engineering fields is important to us, which is why each of our 20 in-school units explores a different engineering field. You can find a breakdown on our curriculum units overview webpage.

    We have surveyed students after they engage in EiE units, and their attitudes towards engineering do become more positive. They are more likely to say that they would like to be engineers when they grow up. Our research summary page has some great data on this. You may also be interested in taking a look at our Engineering Interest and Attitudes survey to see how we arrived at those conclusions.


  • Icon for: Deborah Hanuscin

    Deborah Hanuscin

    May 18, 2017 | 09:26 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing this! With only 2% of elementary teachers having completed any coursework in Engineering, your program is a great support in helping teachers meet the new NGSS!

  • May 19, 2017 | 11:24 a.m.

    Hi Deborah,

    Thank you! We know that not every teacher is going to be an engineering expert, but we hope to empower them to support their students in their own engineering explorations. We like to tell teachers that they already know enough engineering to teach it to a 6-year-old, they just need the right tools and supports!


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    Patti Curtis

    May 17, 2017 | 01:04 p.m.

     I love that she feels FEROCIOUS and he is able to learn from his mistakes!

  • May 18, 2017 | 10:22 a.m.

    Hi Patti,

    Thank you for your support! These two students are amazing; we love hearing passionate insights from young engineers, too!

    - Christine

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    Jenna Welsh

    Undergraduate Student
    May 18, 2017 | 05:33 p.m.

    What a great video and concept. I love the student reflections!

  • May 19, 2017 | 11:20 a.m.

    Hi Jenna,

    Thank you! Candid reflections like these are the best way to see how students internalize the idea that they are capable engineers.


  • Icon for: Kathryn Guimond

    Kathryn Guimond

    Informal Educator
    May 18, 2017 | 05:55 p.m.

    Great to see this video Christine, sure miss connecting with you on a more regular basis! When you have a moment check-out the new project we have at SMM: - would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

  • May 22, 2017 | 01:57 p.m.

    Hi Kathryn,

    I checked out your video and left a comment; your project looks very interesting! Looking forward to hearing more about student leadership and the LinCT program from your evaluation/research team.

    - Christine

  • May 20, 2017 | 12:29 a.m.

    Hi Christine,

    Ferocious and confident, wow!  That is amazing!  I love how the two students narrate the experience of learning with EiE.  I have also always appreciated the literacy component of EiE.  Terrific video and outstanding program!

  • May 22, 2017 | 03:53 p.m.

    Hi Leslie,

    Thank you for the kind words! We hope to write stories that inspire young engineers to reach their full potential, so it makes our day when we hear terrific feedback like this.


  • Icon for: Pam Pelletier

    Pam Pelletier

    May 21, 2017 | 07:30 a.m.

    Christine, In addition to highlighting EiE, wonderful way to showcase the inclusion of WHO students are into the classroom. One of the many strengths of EiE is the attention to cultural relevance and the importance of seeing diversity as a strength.

    The units leverage engineering at the core of the lessons -- with precious few moments in the classroom used for science and the depth of the science content required for NGSS, what words of wisdom could you share with teachers/district leaders about the role that EiE-like materials could play in achieving the vision of NGSS?

  • May 22, 2017 | 04:52 p.m.

    Hi Pam,

    Great question, and thank you for the kind words! We believe that the core of NGSS is the idea of achieving a deeper understanding of science and engineering and developing 21st century skills that will serve students throughout their academic and professional careers. EiE is designed to compliment the science that educators already teach, as well as develop key engineering habits of mind that we believe will give students the tools to navigate all kinds of challenges they may encounter. There are precious few moments in the classroom used for engineering, but we believe and hope that EiE and other materials like it will show teachers and district leaders how vital engineering is in the fabric of elementary students' development as learners and as the problem solvers of the future.


  • Icon for: Mandi Lyon

    Mandi Lyon

    Informal Educator
    May 22, 2017 | 04:53 p.m.

    "My favorite part was when I failed."  What a powerful thing to hear from a student - that the failure was a learning opportunity. And what a missed opportunity in so many other learning experiences that don't allow for "failure" outcomes.  Is discussion about failure as a chance to assess designs and iterate on prototypes built into the curriculum?

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.