In Room 10 at Odyssey Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colo., teacher Erik Russell leads a class of 27 fourth-graders in a lesson not on reading or writing, but engineering, reports the Wall Street Journal. Chemical engineering, actually: As part of a unit on solids and liquids, the students are asked to gradually mix combinations of flour, water, and salt–marking down what happens as they go along–to come up with an optimal play-dough consistency. What seems like child’s play is actually an experiment in moving engineering beyond higher education and into surprisingly early grades. Of course, kids have long learned basic scientific principles through hands-on experiments; many of today’s parents remember baking-soda-and-vinegar volcanoes. But many of these lessons are specifically aimed at inspiring future engineers. They’re steeped in problem-solving or design challenges that deal with the real world, rather than theory. And the effort is being spurred, in part, by concerns that in math and science, American students are falling behind other countries–particularly such industrial competitors as Japan and South Korea

Click here for the full story

About the Author:

eSchool News