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Oracle Grant Brings Museum of Science Curricula to Silicon Valley Classrooms

October 17, 2014

A grant from Oracle brings two engineering curricula developed at the Museum of Science's National Center for Technological Literacy® to classrooms and afterschool programs in California's Silicon Valley. One is Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®), the Museum's curriculum for students in grades 1-5 -- recognized last year by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation with a "STEM Innovation Award." The other is Engineering Adventures® (EA), designed for afterschool and camp programs serving students in grades 3-5.

Thanks to the Oracle grant, 40 elementary teachers attended an EiE professional development (PD) workshop this past summer. One group tackled a civil engineering challenge: designing a bridge from index cards, popsicle sticks, and similar low-tech materials. The other involved geotechnical engineering: identifying the best location to situate a bridge along a winding river. Each teacher also received a set of EiE curriculum materials. In October, some 50 afterschool educators attended workshops where they learned to implement the hands-on EA activities.

"The new Next Generation Science Standards, recently adopted by California, create new expectations that elementary school teachers will integrate the teaching of engineering with classroom science lessons," says Christine Cunningham, EiE director and Museum vice president. "We're pleased that this Oracle support is helping schools meet those expectations."

Shannen Cayetano, a third-grade teacher in San Jose's Franklin McKinley School District, attended the workshop and is already using EiE lessons in her classroom. She says they've generated enthusiasm for STEM and project-based learning in her students. "The hands-on testing, building, inquiry, and problem-solving are translating successfully in my classroom," she says.

The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose hosted the EiE workshop for elementary teachers. Two Tech staff also attended and will be able to offer more PD to other teachers in the region. A third component of the grant provides EiE and EA curriculum materials to two lending libraries for educators, one at the Santa Clara Office of Education (which will also offer EA workshops), the other at the California Afterschool Resource Center.

Related Links

The Museum of Science, Boston

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