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ERIC Number: EJ1033930
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Oct
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8148
Safety First: Safety--The Elementary Mission
Roy, Ken
Science and Children, v51 n2 p86-87 Oct 2013
Activities involving the construction of a model solar oven, soda bottle rocket, catapult, bridge, roller coaster, playground, and plane glider all have one thing in common. They are examples of STEM project activities for elementary students. STEM is one of the areas of emphasis in the "Next Generation Science Standards" (NGSS), which is explicit about what students at different grade levels are expected to do in engineering design. Appendix I-Engineering Design Tech in the NGSS notes the following in the progression of capabilities at the elementary level. "...a common elementary school activity is to challenge children to use tools and materials provided in class to solve a specific challenge, such as constructing a bridge from paper and tape and testing it until failure occurs" (Achieve Inc. 2013, p. 4) and "Engineering design in the earliest grades introduces students to 'problems' as situations that people want to change. They can use tools and materials to solve simple problems, use different representations to convey solutions, and compare different solutions to a problem and determine which is best." STEM activities in elementary schools however often lack attention to safety. The missing piece is the hazard recognition and training relative to use of hand and power tools in engineering project construction. Before having elementary teachers and students use hand and power tools for STEM projects, safety training programs that recognize the tool hazards and provide strategies for their safer use need to be adopted. OSHA's resource on hand and power tools (see Internet Resources) is a great place to start. The OSHA resource provides critical hazard and safety precaution information for the safer operation of tools, especially for teachers and students working on STEM type engineering projects. Team teaching, use of high school mentor students, and parent volunteers are also effective components for doing safer construction activities in the elementary classroom.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A