BOSTON - EiE, the school curriculum division of the Museum of Science of Boston, has expanded its award-winning engineering education program to children as young as three with the release of two new curricula: Wee Engineer, which is designed for use in preschool and pre-K programs, and EiE for Kindergarten, which is designed for use in kindergarten. The new curricula are the first of their kind to meet the specific learning needs of our youngest students.
The two new curricula, which are now available for purchase by school districts and preschool providers, are designed to help educators give young learners the opportunity to embrace engineering before stereotypes about who can engineer take hold. This is part of the Museum’s mission to inspire a generation of problem solvers through STEM and engineering principles among our country's youngest learners.
Wee Engineer and EiE for Kindergarten are the newest additions to the Museum’s lauded EiE program, a comprehensive engineering curriculum led by its flagship Engineering is Elementary curriculum for grades 1-5 that has been used successfully by more than 15 million students and 165,000 teachers over the past 15 years.
“It is our duty to prepare future generations to ask questions, try new ideas, and iterate to improve,” said Ioannis Miaoulis, President and Director of the Museum of Science, Boston. “Wee Engineer and EiE Kindergarten meet the critical needs in our classrooms to inspire educators to recognize the engineering design process, and excite young students to recognize themselves as successful problem solvers.”
Wee Engineer engages children as young as three in structured problem solving that sets them up for success in school and life. Comprised of four challenges, it eases learners into the worlds of science and technology and guides them through an age-appropriate, three-step engineering design process — Explore, Create and Improve — as they design a technology that solves a problem. Wee Engineer engages children in active, hands-on, inquiry-based engineering projects that foster children’s agency as engineers and that are flexible enough to meet the needs and abilities of different kinds of learners. It gives young children the opportunity to embrace engineering before stereotypes about “who can engineer” take hold, and is designed to fit within the existing routines of preschool and Pre-K classrooms.
EiE for Kindergarten is comprised of two hands-on engineering units that build a strong foundation of transferable 21st-century skills for success in elementary school and beyond. Each unit is made up of seven lessons that scaffold young learners through age-appropriate activities that teach them to investigate properties and uses of materials, make evidence-based decisions, and practice working collaboratively. An age-appropriate, five-step engineering design process — Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve — guides children through flexible, open-ended challenges. Built specifically for the typical kindergarten classroom structure, EiE for Kindergarten aligns to NGSS kindergarten science and engineering performance expectations and connects with other school subjects including science, English language arts, and math. It is designed to build interest and confidence in STEM as kids aged five and six develop socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively.
“Thoughtfully developed engineering curriculum can help level the playing field for all learners. If we give kids the opportunity to see themselves as engineers early on, it’s harder for anyone to tell them later in life that they don’t belong in engineering,” EiE Founding Director Christine Cunningham said. “Wee Engineer and EiE for Kindergarten don’t just spark a lifelong passion for STEM, they open up new paths and possibilities for all children.”
The EiE program, which now includes curricula that cover the entirety of Pre-K through grade 8 in both school and after school settings, has been created to help build a generation of creative thinkers and problem solvers — and not just engineers. It is built to instill in learners the habits of mind necessary for engineering and to develop learners who practice 21st-century skills and apply science and mathematics concepts across disciplines.
Cunningham and her team at the Museum of Science, Boston, recently concluded a five-year long study funded by the National Science Foundation that looked into the efficacy of Engineering is Elementary for grades 3-5. The study of more than 14,000 students from more than 600 schools found that the curriculum helped learners of every learning level, gender, and background improve in both engineering and science outcomes.
Wee Engineer and EiE for Kindergarten were created with the same rigorous standards in mind. They were built with the significant input and guidance of more than 50 early childhood educators and 35 kindergarten educators from across the country and then piloted extensively.
“This program is excellent for this age,” said Yesenia Torres, a pre-K teacher from Lewisville, TX. “My students are only four years old and I was amazed by the ideas they would come up with. I am completely fascinated with the idea of letting them know that we are all engineers.”
Wee Engineer and EiE for Kindergarten are both now available for purchase and will be available for delivery in October and November, respectively. To learn more about Wee Engineer, visit https://info.eie.org/wee-engineer, and EiE for Kindergarten, visit https://info.eie.org/eie-k.
About EiE from the Museum of Science, Boston
Launched in 2003, EiE is an award-winning preK-8 engineering program from the Museum of Science, Boston, one of the world's largest science centers and New England's most attended cultural institution. EiE has reached over 18 million students in all 50 states and in over 20 countries. Its research-based, hands-on engineering curricula were designed to create a generation of problem solvers. EiE introduces learners to the engineering design process to build a strong foundation of critical thinking and inspire them to solve real-world challenges. With EiE, educators and students learn to apply an engineering mindset across disciplines—in the classroom and in out-of-school settings. A commitment to equity and access is a foundational idea in EiE’s curriculum design, professional development, and research.
EiE engages all learners and empowers students and educators to discover their inner engineer. Visit: https://www.eie.org/.
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