Elementary students get hands-on engineering experience

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L'ANSE, Mich. (WLUC) - Ask, imagine, plan, create and improve are the five simple steps of engineering local elementary students will soon experience. C.J. Sullivan Elementary in L'Anse is implementing Engineering is Elementary curriculum. Teachers recently completed training for the curriculum.

"What's really cool about engineering is that it is open-ended. There is not one right answer and students can always improve on what they've done just like engineers always improve on what they've done. We welcome the variety of ideas. So, it is going to be a different way for students to learn in the classroom," said Joan Chadde, Center for Science and Environmental Outreach director and teacher training facilitator.

Each activity kit includes a lesson plan, supplies and a story book. It requires students to solve hands-on engineering problems as a group.

"I think it is a great resource and I do think engineering is important and I think it is great even if they are not going to be future engineers to get them thinking like engineers. Problem solving is important,” said third grade teacher Rachel Cox.

The kits also help the school meet new state science standards which require engineering.

"I think this is going to be great in that we are going to have the materials to support those parts of the science standards and hopefully therefore doing better on state science assessments, but that is a minor goal compared to really the enthusiasm that we hope it will bring to the learning environment," said Susan Tollefson, L’Anse Area School superintendent.

Engineering is Elementary is provided through a MiStem Advisory Council grant. C.J. Sullivan Elementary is one of 34 programs receiving part of $2.85 million dollars in MiSTEM grants this year.

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