15 June 2010

Natural Born Engineers ~ Kids Solving Problems!

Thanks to Winnie Hu for writing in the NYTimes on Studying Engineering Before They Can Spell It about engaging young children in learning-by-doing and building things...
"Spurred by growing concerns that American students lack the skills to compete in a global economy, school districts nationwide are packing engineering lessons into already crowded schedules for even the youngest students, giving priority to a subject that was once left to after-school robotics clubs and summer camps, or else waited until college. Supporters say that engineering reinforces math and science skills, promotes critical thinking and creativity, and teaches students not to be afraid of taking intellectual risks. "We still hear all the time that little kids can’t engineer," said Christine Cunningham, director of Engineering is Elementary, a program developed at the Museum of Science in Boston that offers ready-made lessons, for about $350 each, on 20 topics, and is now used in all 50 states, in more than 3,000 schools. “We say they’re born engineers -- they naturally want to solve problems -- and we tend to educate it out of them.” The Obama administration’s Race to the Top competition, which will distribute $4.35 billion in education stimulus money to states, favors so-called STEM programs, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math."
Excellent initiatives! We need more such STEM programs and other Tools of Mass Construction! And on that note, please be sure to check out this week's EurekaFest at MIT starting Wed 16 June 2010 which is all about celebrating the human inventive spirit, especially involving and inspiring our youth!

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