Teaching engineering in elementary school

April 27, 2010 2:35:26 PM PDT
It's never to early to start learning about engineering. Some kindergarteners are being taught the subject, that many people are afraid to go near.

"I like having the plans and I like being with a partner and making stuff," said Ethan Hegyi.

One of the projects involved helping a story book character design a playground for a school, using the alphabet and pictures of animals.

"So it's not so much about the activities they do as the thinking that comes out of those activities and those dispositions of themselves seeing the children seeing themselves as engineers," said Mary Morrow.

The program was created for students in the gifted program at Central School in Glen Rock. It is called stem, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The engineering instruction continues through each year of the curriculum at Central School.

The fifth graders were working on the design of parking garages for matchbox cars. They were required to mke sure the structures work.

Teachers agree the program could potentially help bring the kids up to par with children in countries where engineering is taught at a young age, and could help create America's workforce of the future.

"Employers are looking for those problem solvers and, at the end of the day, their lesson is, an engineer is not who you are, it's how you think," said Jennifer Burke.