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Engineering Habits of Mind

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This time of year, most teachers are absorbed with the massive logistical operation that is the beginning of the school year: organizing materials, getting to know students, establishing routines, launching curricula... Good luck to all of you.

In addition to nitty-gritty practical details, educators wrestle with big questions like, "how can I help my students not just learn content, but also become more effective learners and thinkers?" One of the great things about engineering challenges, and EiE in particular, is that they require students to practice critical thinking and problem-solving processes that they can apply to any part of their life.

Watch master teacher Pat Slater reinforce her second-grade students' knowledge of the engineering design process.

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Traveling down “Problem Solving Parkway” with Liz Parry

Liz Parry, the coordinator for STEM partnership development at North Carolina State University's The Engineering Place, works to bring engineering to some of North Carolina’s most disadvantaged elementary schools. One of EiE’s earliest partners, she has developed a model for coaching schools to become integrated STEM schools. It sounds like a daunting task, but Liz uses the engineering design process as a tool to change the culture of the schools she works with.

“We are adopting the habits of mind of engineers; we are teaching kids how to become critical thinkers and problems solvers who can work in teams; and to help us do this we use EiE,” Liz explains.

In schools she works with, students walk down a hallway named “Problem Solving Parkway,” utilize the engineering design process when solving disputes, bring a STEM notebook from class to class, and work in groups that are productive and responsible for their outcomes. These are just a few of the pieces that foster important life skills in students.

Liz even has teachers she mentors keep a STEM notebook and, as part of their professional development, responds to their reflections and prompts just as they do with their students. “I get note after note describing how this process has changed their career, changed their outlook, and rejuvenated them…it’s the way they have always known kids should learn and they should teach.”

Thanks and congratulations to Liz for doing the amazing work that she does.

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Attend an EiE PD Workshop...for FREE!

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EiE and Raytheon Company are pleased to announce the second annual Raytheon-EiE Teacher Scholarship Program, designed to encourage the inclusion of engineering and technology in elementary classrooms and support teachers in their implementation of engineering education.

Elementary teachers and science specialists are encouraged to apply. Recipients receive a $3,000 scholarship to attend a two-day EiE professional development workshop and purchase EiE curriculum materials for their classroom. Applications must be postmarked by November 16, 2012. Winners will be notified in early 2013.
Click here for scholarship application and more information.

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On August 9th and 10th, twelve of this year’s scholarship recipients (representing nine different U.S. states) attended a two-day “Everyone Engineers” professional development workshop at the Museum of Science. Over the course of the workshop, the recipients learned about technology, engineering, and worked together as industrial and packaging engineers as they engaged in two EiE units: “Marvelous Machines: Making Work Easier” and “Thinking Inside the Box: Designing Plant Packages.”

Many thanks to Raytheon Company for their generous support of the EiE program!

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Fun Fact

Things You Never Knew About EiE

If you've read Lerato Cooks Up a Plan from our Designing Solar Ovens unit, perhaps you were impressed by the realism of the story. Well, the Nata village in the story is a real place! (In fact, all of our stories’ settings are.) To learn more about Nata, check out the blog maintained by volunteers working there!

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Ask Emily

Q: Can I use Engineering is Elementary as a replacement for my science program?

A: In a word…no!

EiE is designed to integrate with and reinforce science topics commonly taught in elementary school, but it does not teach the science. Rather, it allows students to apply the science they learn through your science curriculum to solve an engineering problem.

To find the EiE unit that best matches the science you are already teaching, visit the EiE 20-unit overview and look for your science topic.

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Upcoming PD Opportunities

Join us at the Museum of Science, Boston for some exciting Professional Development opportunities. Click on the links below for more information or to register:

Everyone Engineers!

A 2-day hands-on workshop designed to introduce educators to the EiE curriculum and prepare them for implementing EiE in the classroom.
* November 8-9, 2012
* April 4-5, 2013
* July 10-11, 2013
* August 8-9, 2013
* October 10-11, 2013

Teacher Educator Institutes

Our intensive three-day trainings for educators who want to provide EiE professional development to other teachers.
* October 24-26, 2012
* December 5-7, 2012
* March 13-15, 2013
* May 8-10, 2013
* October 23-25, 2013
* December 4-6, 2013

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Notes from the Field

We'd love to hear from you! Send questions, tips, and stories that might interest your colleagues to EiEnews@mos.org. Photographs we can share would be wonderful (but please download our photo release form, have it signed for all kids in the photos, and send them in with the photos): there's nothing quite like seeing other teachers and students in action.

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Engineering is Elementary® is part of the National Center for Technological Literacy (NCTL) at the Museum of Science, Boston.

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