Exploring engineering with first grade students

Shelby Richards ’14 has spent the past few months working with Ms. Gina Cowley at the campus school to introduce first grade students to engineering.

Since the class has been focused on bees and other insects, Shelby has shown the kids how insects act like engineers. She facilitated a matching activity that let kids match insects to ideas that humans have borrowed from them. In another activity, she talked about how animals engineer habitats for themselves and walked the kids through another matching activity that concerned matching animals to their habitats. Shelby had the kids choose an animal and write descriptive words about them in order to then construct habitats for each animal.

From January to late February, the kids worked on sail cars. Each student made one and then analyzed the problems with the design (how the car turned, why the wheels didn’t spin, etc.). Shelby fielded questions on how the design could be fixed and how to make their cars work better.



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