It's the "E" in STEM, but what is engineering education, really, at the K-12 level? A series of discussions on The Opportunity Equation blog tackles that subject thoughtfully through conversations with engineering experts and educators.
Recently, Christine M. Cunningham, the Founder and Director of Engineering is Elementary (EiE) -- a program of Boston's Museum of Science -- weighed in on the work that her organization does to engage students of diverse backgrounds and interests in the wonderful world of engineering. After seven years of research and testing, EiE has evolved into a 20-unit engineering curriculum for elementary schools. The program also focuses on professional development through a "train the trainer" model. Now used in all 50 states by more than 20,000 teachers, the program has reached upwards of 1.7 million students, Cunningham estimates. "The design and inquiry-based approach enables teachers to engage in truly open-ended instruction and learning where there is no single correct answer," she said. "Our results suggest that integrating engineering concepts and challenges at the elementary level can help to educate the next generation of innovators, designers, and problems solvers."