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This column presents ideas and techniques to enhance your science teaching. This month's issue describes how kindergarten students are introduced to a design way of thinking.
A selection from Science and Children—Summer 2016
The article titled, Engineering Encounters: No, David! But Yes, Design!, by Helen Douglass discusses how our educational system continues to promote career and college readiness in kindergarten through twelfth grade classrooms. This article is an excellent reading choice because it discusses how educators are beginning to use more Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) lessons to help promote problem-solving and critical thinking skills with real world concepts. By centering the article around a popular children’s book, the author helps readers to make connections between STEM lessons and read aloud books, including books that do not contain a scientific theme.
The article intrigues its readers as it explains that students should be introduced to STEM lessons as early as possible. The information provided within the article flows naturally as it describes how kindergartners are capable of successfully overcoming the challenges that STEM lessons require of students as they work through the stages of defining a problem, brainstorming solutions, designing prototypes, testing their prototypes and hypotheses, reviewing feedback, and making design changes. Including lessons, with photos, that have actually been taught within a kindergarten classrooms helps the readers acknowledge that kindergartners are actually capable of successfully completing STEM lessons.
The article is relevant to the current teaching trends of combining science, technology, engineering, and mathematical skills with hands-on authentic applications for real world situations and issues. By providing an example of how to teach a STEM lesson, with a children’s picture book, while giving readers access to four days of plans, the author has given teachers a blueprint of how to use this information within their classrooms. After reading this article, I taught the four lessons within my kindergarten classroom. My students were engaged and excited throughout all the lessons, as they successfully worked through the steps of becoming design thinkers.
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