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This program gives students the opportunity to be part of the lesson development as their design may be different then a scripted version. It engages the students in the process. It is empowering for students to have a voice in what they are creating and in how they show what they know. When we teach through interdisciplinary units, it is much easier for students to make connections and bring their thinking to a higher level. The teachers are exposed to learning about the Massachusetts Science Framework, strand 4, as well as learning about what engineers do.



Major points:

  • Meets all the learning principles of the Massachusetts Science Framework

  • Promotes higher-order thinking skills.

  • Invites the incorporation of instructional technology into the curriculum.

  • Engineering is differentiated: offers an "in" for learners of all types.

  • Rich cross-curricular possibilities.

  • Integration with math is an important way to show students how and why math is relevant and useful in the world.

  • Directly connected with improvement of living conditions/safety/health and welfare of people.

  • Engages both students and teachers in an exciting learning process.


How does the program teach innovation or entrepreneurship?

This program explicitly addresses innovation and entrepreneurship in the following ways.

First:there is an explicit focus on needs finding. Students must identify with characters in in the story, and decide what opportunities might exist to help those characters. As such, the program is heavily focused on the entrepreneurial skill of opportunity identification and assessment.

Second: because the program is heavily oriented toward the kinds of thinking skills that the engineering design process requires, it includes substantial emphasis on the kinds of thinking that lead to innovation. In particular, teachers and students use divergent and convergent thinking processes and techniques (e.g., brainstorming, criteria-based idea selection) as they develop their ideas for how to respond to the needs of characters in literature.

Finally: the design of the professional development workshop is meant to lead to curricular innovation. While participants will be introduced to various techniques and the framework, the participants will be responsible for designing their own projects, and will utilize innovation-oriented design techniques to do so.



Hi Karen and Bill

I think it will be very engaging for my students, and I'm excited to try something new for the simple machines science units. The connection to literature seems like it will set a whole new purpose for a final project, and hopefully lead into new ways for us to think about solving problems in stories.

I really enjoyed the class, and if you offer any other 2 day classes as follow up either during the school year or next summer I would be interested.


Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Catherine   7/2012



Hi Karen,

Thanks again to you and Bill for a wonderful, engaging class.  I think you gave us some fabulous tools and strategies for incorporating engineering into our classrooms.  I'm excited to try things out this fall.  It's always great to add some new energy to your class, and I have always felt that we lack engineering strategies in classrooms today and it inhibits the kids' growth in approaching problem solving (in every aspect of their day).

I hope you have a relaxing summer!

Betsy , 7/2012


Hi Bill and Karen,  Thank you Karen for doing such a concise summary of our age group engineering instructions.  It's a usable document to share at our PLC leadership meeting tomorrow.  One representative from each grade level attends the leadership meeting to discuss with our principal the items we undertake the following week at our grade level PLC meetings.  With 5 classrooms for each grade level, K-5, this would be a nice way to promote the Engineering strand into more active use in our building.  Thanks again, and see you on Tuesday.