As the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) begins implementation, the inclusion of engineering in science instruction poses challenges for elementary school teachers. New models of pedagogy and teacher development are needed. We believe that the solution to this problem requires knowledge and experience drawn from both teacher education and informal science education. UC-Santa Barbara and MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, an interactive science museum, are collaborating through an NSF grant to develop engineering design challenge museum field-trip programs and supporting pre- and post-field trip classroom activities that complement the field trip program by connecting the engineering activities to science core ideas and classroom learning. Thus far, we have developed and tested field trip programs that engage children in (1) building a craft that hovers in an upward moving stream of air, (2) testing the transparency of materials to heat and light to engineer a patch for a greenhouse on the moon, (3) Designing structural elements to reduce the motion of a building in response to an earthquake, (4) Constructing a balanced kinetic sculpture. We are in the initial stages of developing additional modules that focus on wind energy and electric circuits. These complementary classroom lessons are being designed through a model of educative curricula. That is, by teaching the pre- and post-field trip lessons and working with their students during the field trip facilitated by MOXI staff, teachers will learn about the engineering design process, as described in the NGSS, and how to facilitate engineering activities with children.
Grade Level: Grades K-6, Grades 6-8
Presented in: 2021 (see original presentation & discussion)