Below is part one of our two-part series on creating a family engineering event in your school. Big thanks to our guest blogger Wendy Goldfein, a 2013 VISTA Elementary Science Institute graduate, for telling us what family engineering is all about!
STEM, engineering, 21st century skills…. the buzzwords of the 2013-2014 school year. With all that is on a teacher’s plate this year, what can seem in isolation like an interesting and intriguing idea often ends up lost in the shuffle of a million demands for the school year.
“Where can I fit this in?”
“How can I engage my school’s community on this topic?”
“What can I do to persuade my staff of its importance?”
I have discovered over the past four years that the first and best step towards capturing a school’s interest in STEM is to hold a family engineering event. Not only is it the ultimate public relations experience, it’s also a whole lot of fun!
Our family engineering night, “Gear Up for Engineering”, is an event at which families come together to explore engineering with fun hands-on activities. As part of our integrated engineering program, our school hosts an annual event each winter. It is one of the most eagerly anticipated school events of the year as over 600 people participate. Families join together to explore engineering by solving problems together. Inquiry, nature of science, and experimental design are integrated throughout the activities.
The event provides children an opportunity to further explore, use what they understand about science investigation, and apply it to the field of engineering with the most significant adults in their life - parents, siblings and grandparents. And the parents are given an opportunity to actively participate in their child’s learning. It’s an exciting evening for all!
Stay tuned for part two on the specifics hosting a family engineering event.