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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

engineering curriculum

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I am teaching a middle school itroductory engineering class.  Have lots of hands on projects I want to cover but looking for input on the most logical order to present.

design process (difference in scientific), straw bridges, rollercoasters, catapult, biomedical engineering activity, be inventive - create your own invention, Lego Mindstorm


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Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey

Hey there! Thanks for posting. I don't teach middle school but might be able to help. :) Can you tell me more about your class? Full year? Semester? What grade levels? How many kids? What kind of facilities do you have (regular classroom, science lab, etc.)? Is this a new class? What other engineering-related classes will kids encounter throughout the rest of their middle school careers? What awaits them in high school? Sorry to barrage you with questions! -kj-

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program

I'd use the first few days in community building activities in which kids can learn about one another as people and build trust, but they can do that through PBL activities that let them explore the materials and themes they're going to be using in the course. Then think about how each of the activities you've included above would lead into the next. What are some of the skills they'll need? How can they learn those skills via other of the activities?

I'd also encourage you to look at some of the materials Curt Gabrielson has created on his site ( He's got some great ideas there for just what you seem to want to do. Good luck!

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