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7.1: Engineering

  • Page ID
    205737
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    Course Competency 7. Examine strategies that teach engineering skills.

    7.1. define engineering in ECE

    clipboard_eb9b2c8d8931ebc46e44b477aae51f720.pngWhat is Engineering?

    “While engineering practices—one aspect of STEM learning—are similar to (scientific) inquiry processes, there are some significant differences. Scientific inquiry involves the formulation of a question that can be answered through investigation, while engineering design involves the formulation of a problem that can be solved through design.” (Growing in STEM. The Design Process: Engineering Practices in Preschool)

    In the early learning environment, engineering is about how things are built and why. These questions are best explored through play.

    Buckets openart-image_HEKH2rLc_1715483509811_raw.png

    Example: Water Conservation

    “Three-year-olds Jessie and Michaela spend the morning exploring the effects of last night’s rainfall on the playground sandbox. After the sun dries the sand, they ask their teacher, Ms. Stefanie, for water to make the sand wet again. Ms. Stefanie frames this as a problem, asking them, “How can we transport water from the porch to the sandbox?” Ms. Stefanie helps a small group of interested preschoolers imagine solutions by providing photographs and nonfiction texts of water transportation systems—like pipes, aqueducts, and pulleys—to introduce them to ways others have addressed similar problems.

    For several days, the children investigate potential solutions, realizing that the conservation of water should be one of their primary concerns. As they consider why preserving and reclaiming water matter, they sketch plans and discuss the merits and constraints of various models. Eventually, they agree to design a pipe system to move water. Ms. Stefanie provides copies of a blueprint of the playground, which the children use to draw their pipe plans. She asks them to think about the materials they need to create a prototype. The children list pipes, water, sand, buckets, tape, clay, twine, and sticks. Their enthusiasm for the project remains high, and Ms. Stefanie looks forward to guiding the children through a few cycles of the design process so they can improve their prototype and build a pipe system.”

    (Growing in STEM. The Design Process: Engineering Practices in Preschool)


    7.1: Engineering is shared under a CC BY-NC license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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