Young learners sample engineering

I was a sixth grade teacher at McNeil Canyon Elementary and involved the students in grades K-6 in an Engineering Robot Build this fall. Students in grades K-6 learned how to create a basic circuit and combined electrical equipment with craft supplies and creativity to design and build a moving robot. Many students went on to attach drawing devices and turn their creations into scribble-bots. All grade levels were enthusiastically engaged and the older students did additional work such as wiring their own motors and different circuit designs.  

This was a sample of the International Maker Movement, where students design and invent to learn. Making is a way of solving problems and transferring an idea from your head into the real world.  

  This “making” is a way of bringing engineering to young learners. The students loved this tinkering and their innovative inventions. One family even Skyped with out-of-state grandparents as the child proudly showed the robot and how it worked. Students did well with debugging when circuits jiggled loose as the robots wiggled about. Their focus and diligence was impressive and demonstrated the amazing abilities of our young people.     

Students should engage in this kind of tinkering and making not only because these methods are fun, but because they are powerful ways to learn. 

We would like to express our gratitude for the donation we received from the KLEPS Fund, which is a donor advised fund at the Homer Foundation. These grant funds were used to purchase electronic equipment such as motors,  lights, batteries, and engineering education resources for the school. 

Thank you again for your continued support of education and our youth. Your support makes innovative projects possible which will help give our students the tools they need to understand the world around them as they become our future innovative scientists, engineers, technicians, leaders and citizens. 

Sheryl Sotelo, retired teacher

McNeil Canyon Elementary