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For Early Childhood Education

Exploring the Building Blocks of Engineering

What’s the best way to learn about complex topics, like engineering? Start with the basics!

Of course, engineering isn’t exactly simple, but getting young children familiarized with the concept early doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right age- and developmentally appropriate activities, you might be surprised by how much kids can learn by manipulating relatively simple materials.

For example, during our school-wide S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Day last week, the young architects in the Get Set, Preschool and Pre-K classrooms at The Malvern School of Marlboro explored engineering by recreating famous landmarks they have learned about throughout the year using supplies most people have in their own kitchens.

Kids could choose different sticky sweets, such as marshmallows, gummy bears and gum drops, for their foundation and “glue.” Then they had their choice of more rigid materials, like straws, popsicle sticks and pretzel sticks, to build vertically or horizontally.

By working independently, each child had the opportunity to experiment freely. They explored by trial and error what worked well – or what didn’t work so well – as they built their masterpieces, learning first-hand about physics, art and design.

This lesson is a great example of how these concepts can be successfully introduced to and practiced with young children, giving them a head start on S.T.E.A.M. curriculum in Kindergarten and beyond!

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