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ERIC Number: EJ1039852
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8148
Engineering Encounters: The Tightrope Challenge
Burton, Bill
Science and Children, v52 n1 p80-85 Sep 2014
In order to prepare students to become the next innovators, teachers need to provide real-world challenges that allow children to exercise their innovation muscles. Innovation starts with a problem and innovators work to solve a problem by planning, creating, and testing. The real-world innovation process does not happen on a worksheet, and it does not come with a detailed set of directions. Innovation starts with a problem and innovators work to solve a problem by planning, creating, and testing. Along the way, there may be successes and setbacks, joy and frustration, teamwork and friction. This article describes an engineering robotics challenge for fourth-graders. Throughout this engineering challenge, various formative assessments are implemented. Beginning in the early planning stages, an engineering planning sheet helps demonstrate a basic understanding of the design challenge. In addition to this basic sheet, students might also be asked to provide detailed labels and descriptions of each component. Just like other academic disciplines, learning to become an innovator takes time and practice. Filling students with information does not teach problem-solving skills. When students are given open-ended challenges to solve, authentic learning takes place. They practice real-world skills such as collaboration, negotiation, and teamwork. In the safety of the classroom, they work through difficulties such as frustrations, conflicts, and setbacks. When facilitating engineering activities such as these, it is often easy to spot examples of Dweck's (2008) fixed and growth mindsets. While growth and change often takes time, teachers can create an engineering atmosphere where every student experiences some level of success while learning that there is always room to improve upon their work.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A