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Out-of-School Curriculum Brings Engineering to Middle School Age Children

April 20, 2014

The Museum of Science's Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) project now offers Engineering Everywhere™ (EE™) for middle school-aged children in afterschool and camp programs. The award-winning EiE program has brought engaging hands-on engineering activities to millions of elementary-school-aged children in classrooms around the country.

According to a recent brief from the Afterschool Alliance, afterschool programs make a significant contribution to STEM learning because they offer an environment where kids can tackle challenges without fear of failure.

The curriculum developers who created Engineering Everywhere reviewed the "grand challenges for engineering" recently set forward by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). "These are significant 21st century challenges for which engineering can offer a solution -- for example, improving urban infrastructure or understanding the brain," says project director Melissa Higgins. "We used the NAE challenges as the inspiration for engineering design challenges that would be fun for afterschool and camp programs such as modeling an energy-efficient house that uses green construction materials, engineering a sports helmet that protects you from concussions, or engineering ice cream" (Photo on right).

Dozens of out-of-school time programs around the country -- including YMCAs, school summer camps, independent camps and others -- have helped pilot-test EE activities. Project evaluators collect feedback from both afterschool educators and students, who log their thoughts in engineering notebooks.

With generous support from project funder i2Camps, the EE curriculum is free. Educators can download instructional materials from the project website. The first two Engineering Everywhere units ("Don't Runoff: Engineering an Urban Landscape" and "Here Comes the Sun: Engineering Insulated Homes") were released in February 2014. When complete, EE will offer educators ten different units, each designed to provide six to ten hours of activities.

Related Links

The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500