I can’t thank you enough for everything you did for Engineering Day. I have received incredibly positive feedback from students and teachers. One student said it was the biggest highlight of the year!
Kate Arsenault, Library/Media Specialist
Wow! Thank you, John! What an amazing day! One of the very best days that I have seen in any school. 100% engagement from all students!!! The pics are amazing! I can’t thank you enough!
Kristen Gordon, Principal
My 6thgrade son graduates from our small, rural elementary school in Western Massachusetts this year. I had struggled for many years to try to bring in some robotics-based engineering experiences to the school. However, a new principal and new library/media specialist were very excited about the prospect so we worked together to create a PK to engineering day. I racked my brain for a while to try and come up with a cohesive theme. I was finally inspired by the egg drop challenge the first-grade teacher does every year at the nearby elementary school where I teach. We expanded on that idea to create engineering challenges based on eggs. At the kick-off assembly, we did a skit where farmer Kate explained that she needed help with transporting eggs around the farm and we challenged each class to help her with a specific task.
- PK students reported on progress of each class back to the principal
- K and grade 1 students did a traditional egg drop challenge where the designed some kind of container to protect and egg from breaking when dropped off a fire truck at the end of the day assembly outside
- Grade 2 students designed non-robotic LEGO egg vehicles that could drive down a ramp and not break the egg inside
- Grade 3 students designed robotics egg mixers and optionally included craft materials
- Grade 4 students designed robotic cars using LEGO WeDo 2 kits and Apple iPads
- Grade 5 students designed devices that transported eggs horizontally with LEGO NXT robots and EV3 software
- Grade 6 students designed egg lifter devices that transported an egg from the floor to a table
All classes had craft materials available and, in most cases, needed them to create some kind of egg holder. We mostly used hard boiled eggs but grade 1 students decided to use raw eggs for their final egg drop test.
While it was challenging at times to get around to multiple classes to check in and give help, it was very interesting and exciting to see kids K-6 all doing engineering challenges at the same time. Kids (and teachers) were fully engaged and so proud to show me what they had created. I also saw great collaboration and cooperation as most kids worked in teams to accomplish the task. As I returned to classes, I was amazed at how designs had grown and changed during my absence. I scaffolded as needed for students who were stuck or needed technical help. We had minimal connection or technical issues with the various LEGO software we were using. Students, especially fifth graders, made interesting physical connection with LEGO and non-LEGO materials. Some of the most rewarding moments were when I saw students with various visual, emotional, or learning issues succeed alongside their peers and were literally be beaming about their work. I got reports from parents and kids at our local swimming hole about kids who were still talking about the day at home or told me directly that it was “amazing”. I was so happy to be able to provide this experience to my son and all the kids in our small town.
*Thanks to the teachers, administration, and students of the Anne T Dunphy School for letting us use the robotics kits and laptops for a day!
Lots of photos but check out this video of this second grader testing his final LEGO egg carrier car.