Take Aways From Tufts Conference

Here are some sketchy “take away” ideas from the Tufts conference.

Having a clear problem definition is key in determining direction of lessons and how much “thrashing” students do at the beginning of the engineering project.

How do we to change our instinctual reactions to be more in line with our underlying, often implicit goals in busy, goal oriented, multidimensional teaching environment?  How can we really take the time to understand student’s thinking?

Be clear on your objectives.  Robotics are very rich in terms of content and process.  You have science, engineering design, process, affective, and social goals.  If you are clear on where you want to go, your lessons have a greater chance of going there.  You can also deliberately choose to keep things open and go in the direction of the student’s interests and needs.

How to best mix concept and process goals?  There is a view that students should learn the process of science and engineering more than specific content at young age.  On the other hand, public school teachers must attend to our content standards.  How can be meet both objectives?

How can we make engineering documentation/products/drawings for young students more meaningful?  Need an authentic audience and/or sufficient complexity.

What makes for effective engineering instruction with young students?  A big question.  I am hoping to come up with a tips document specific to young students and also try and research this question more thoroughly through my own work and/or the work of others.

State and national standards are moving towards embedding engineering into standard and are also working them into younger grades.

How can we study the affective aspects of young boys with attention and learning issues that shine with Lego but not other areas of school?  Use more video in my PK-6 project to interview students.

Ideas for new talks.  Why Teach Engineering to Young Kids?  Top 10 Tips for Teaching Engineering to Young Kids

Lots of interest in the PK-6 Elementary Engineering Curriculum I am working on.  May set up a mailing list for early elementary engineering.


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