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Future Elementary School Teacher, California!

Thank you for this article!

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Thank you for this article! Learning from mistakes is one of life's most important (and liberating) lessons. By opening up the space to expose mistakes, we see that we can not only help students feel safe to do so, but empower them to use mistakes to take themselves to the next level. On a deeper level, it is a form of self-acceptance. I'm excited to share this life lesson in my classroom. Though learning from mistakes for my students may now pertain to a math word problem or a paragraph, they lay the skill foundation for life success.

Author of Rosie Revere, Engineer & Iggy Peck, Architect

Kids put so much pressure

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Kids put so much pressure upon themselves to "get it right." Sometimes, it shuts them down and keeps them from trying. I hear this from parents and educators all the time.

Just letting kids know that making mistakes is normal and even to be celebrated is liberating for them. And in the end, failing is an enormous part of discovery and innovation. I hope kids take away that message from ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER.

"The only true failure can come if you quit!"

Thank you, Margaret, for this

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Thank you, Margaret, for this informative post. I am struck by the correspondence of these three strategies and what happens during engineering design challenges that are designed to integrate with math and/or science.

The teachers I meet in PD are often liberated by the fact that engineering, by its very nature, has built-in opportunities for students to redesign. Redesign presents the chance to recover from mistakes, and the very fact of redesign/improvement being an integral part of engineering communicates to students that some or all of their ideas may fail or at least not work out the way they anticipate. That's the point of testing the design!

Strongly connected to testing the design is the idea that there are criteria for the successful performance of an engineering design. You want that mousetrap not just to be better, but to be better in a specific way. Performance criteria focus student teams on specific goals.

At their best, engineering challenges integrate seamlessly with other content areas, and students authentically "bump into" the need for the information. (At least that is what we strive for when developing curricula and projects.) The order of instruction anticipates a need for discovery and often delays formal instruction until the students feel that need.

Perhaps the framework you have offered here, Margaret, goes a long way toward simplifying an explanation of why integrated STEM education is so powerful. Certainly, stories from many teachers and the research base attest to meaningful learning and expanded attention on the part of many students. I'll be sure to use this framework in m future workshops with teachers (and credit you and this blog, of course!).

Thanks, again.

The basic premise of

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The basic premise of attentional capacity here, sounds like the extension into secondary school teaching of the early years free play, in which children are encouraged to learn in their own ways through social interaction playing with other children.

In Early Years this means less structure to activities allowing young children freedom of choice, and therefore independent thinking. It's good that the importance of attentional capacity is being recognised for older children too - and maybe could be incorporated in similar ways to primarily schools with interactive smart tables ( and free computer access - with appropriate restrictions enabled.

Educational Consultant/Author, Southern California

Yes, we make mistakes--thank

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Yes, we make mistakes--thank you for acknowledging that and empowering teachers and students to iterate, and even reiterate, developing stamina for success.

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