We Are! Engineers!
Much of our SCASD K-5 STEM curriculum is centered on engineering. Throughout the school year, students typically explore two different engineering fields, such as environmental engineering or packaging engineering (which is fascinating, BTW). Each engineering unit culminates in students designing a solution to a real-world problem that relates to the unit.
To develop their designs, students use the Engineer Design Process, or EDP. The EDP is at the core of all engineering, and is an integral part of the work we do in STEM at the elementary level. Though many expanded versions of the EDP exist, our engineering curriculum, Engineering is Elementary, boils the process down to five easy-to-remember steps: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create and Improve.
Ask → Identify the problem. What do you know? What do you need to know? What are the constraints, or limits?
Imagine → Brainstorm some solutions to the problem and choose the best one.
Plan → Draw and label a diagram of your best solution. Make a list of needed materials, keeping constraints (money, time, available materials) in mind.
Create → Follow your plan and create your design, then test it out.
Improve → How can you make your design better? Make changes and test it again!
The engineering design process guides much of our work in STEM class, but the process can be useful for trying to solve almost any problem, at school or at home. Need a solution to a tough problem? Engage your budding engineers in helping you solve it using the EDP! Ask questions about the problem and discuss it as family, then imagine some possible solutions and pick the best (or most doable) idea to plan. Create your plan, test it out, and make improvements as needed.
Need a catchy STEM tune to get you through these crazy days? Ask your student to sing you the steps of the EDP in the “We Are Engineers” song, or listen to some Kindergarten friends from Corl Street Elementary belt out their rendition.