Instructables

How to Teach Project-Based Engineering to Kids

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This Instructable is here to assist teachers with implementing project-based engineering lessons into their classroom. Individual project plans are assembled in a separate guide entitled Project-Based Engineering for Kids.


Keep it in Context
The content of this Instructable comes almost exclusively from my experience working in a particular setting, which is different from your situation. Please adapt this info to fit your situation and teaching style.

Learning Objective
By reading through this Instructable and applying its contents to your classroom, you will be able to successfully engage your students with hands-on engineering lessons. Your students will experientially understand principals of physics, mathematics, and other fields of science related to engineering, as well as fundamental engineering concepts, through project-based curriculum. Students will also improve their critical thinking and motor skills as they construct engineering projects.
 
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Step 1: A brief note on theory


Kolb’s Cycle of Experiential Learning posits that learning can be a self-perpetuated cycle of:
  1. Coming up with new ideas
  2. Apply those ideas to create an experience
  3. Observe, reflect, and ask questions
  4. Use your observations to create new ideas and repeat!

Project-based learning, or PBL, also provides useful ideas. PBL allows students to control the direction and pace of their learning by means of problems that are centered around an open-ended challenge. Activities that promote investigation, creative critical thinking, and hands-on subject matter are central to project-based learning. Wikipedia offers an article on project-based learning.

In my approach, I do not expect the students to memorize theoretical concepts. Instead, comprehension and application come through actually engaging with an idea firsthand without necessarily being able to verbally define it. I believe that children learn best when they are in their natural state of awareness: being in the moment. An educational activity that engages the child’s entire world will naturally become a process of self-perpetuated instruction.
For a great website on introducing engineering to children through fun and interactive means visit engineering games 


doncrush1 year ago
One of my fiasco's involved traction/friction...school floors tend to be very dusty! Any wheel driven project should consider rugs, dust, dirt, variations...good insight!
stumitch2 years ago
gotta like the looks on the kids faces! they have no idea they are LEARNING stuff! they are just having fun! very cool. well done.