5439 Views
  1. Alex Pugnali
  2. Education Specialist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Tufts University, Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach
  1. Elissa Milto
  2. http://ceeo.tufts.edu/people/milto.htm
  3. Director of Outreach
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach

Novel Engineering

NSF Awards: 1020243

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8

Novel Engineering (NE) is an integrated approach to teaching engineering and literacy. As part of NE, students develop projects based on texts they read in English Language Arts or other content classes, such as history. The characters become their clients and students pull from the text to scope problems and set constraints as they engage in engineering design. Teachers play a pivotal role in supporting their students’ engagement by providing a supportive, responsive environment that will allow students to build on their ideas as they work on complex problems. Instead of prescribing a particular solution or process for students, we believe that teaching engineering involves listening to, understanding, and responding to student thinking. Design is about realizing the ideas of individuals and Novel Engineering gives students the space to explore their ideas through design projects.

Novel Engineering Challenges is a new project that we recently launched. We recognize that not all classroom teachers have the time and resources to develop a NE Curriculum. Novel Engineering Challenges provides teachers with a new book every few months that they can read to their classroom and gives guidelines on how to effectively implement engineering projects. Teachers and students can share their work on NovelEngineeringChallenges.org with people around the world. 

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Original Discussion from the 2017 STEM for All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Tami LaFleur

    Tami LaFleur

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 09:21 a.m.

    In my district, we have decided that a lot of our science instruction grades K-4 will be done through literacy connections. Your program sounds like you have already identified appropriate novels that will engage students in the engineering process. Exciting! Thank you for giving a specific example with Muncha, Munch, Muncha. Is this a program that teachers/schools purchase? What is the grade span for the novel instruction? 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Michael Kolodziej
  • Icon for: Elissa Milto

    Elissa Milto

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 10:21 a.m.

    Hello Tami,

    We have a list of books that we've seen that work well in classrooms, but encourage teachers to try books they already use in their classrooms. We offer PD for teachers so they can better understand the approach and customize it for their classroom goals and students. We've done this in K-8, but think it could work well in high school. 

    Thanks,

    Elissa

     
    3
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Tami LaFleur
    Michael Kolodziej
    Alex Pugnali
  • Icon for: Tami LaFleur

    Tami LaFleur

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 10:26 a.m.

    Thank you, Elissa- Do you share the list of books or is that part of package for sale?

  • Icon for: Elissa Milto

    Elissa Milto

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 01:03 p.m.

    Hi,

    Some of the books are listed on our website (www.novelengineering.org). We are formatting book units that we will sell. 

  • Icon for: Alex Pugnali

    Alex Pugnali

    Lead Presenter
    Education Specialist
    May 15, 2017 | 10:20 a.m.

    Hello Everyone,

    Thank you for watching our video on Novel Engineering! After the success of this research project, we are very excited to be in the dissemination stage of our work. If you have any questions about Novel Engineering or Novel Engineering Challenges please don't hesitate to ask. We also appreciate any feedback and suggestions about the work we do. 

  • Icon for: Dale McCreedy

    Dale McCreedy

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 10:31 a.m.

    I really appreciate the link to books as I have led an NSF funded project that connects science and children's books. However, for this project (LEAP into Science) it has been much easier to use picture books or fairly simple books that are easily read aloud and thus we have targeted preK-4th. How have you selected your books - what criteria do you use - and in what ways do the books for middle vary from elementary. Would love to hear about some examples and also about how you would scale up for high school level as you suggest. 

  • Icon for: Elissa Milto

    Elissa Milto

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 01:18 p.m.

    We've had a luck with most of the books that have been tried. Books that don't work well are ones that have fantasy or magic. The books that work the best for younger students are ones that have characters the age of the students. Books with multiple problems provide a richer context for the engineering. The approach is not specific to any grade so it does work with older students. We have done it with high school students, but not as part of the research. High school students' ability to research furthers their interactions with the material they are reading and solutions they are building. 

  • Icon for: Michael Kolodziej

    Michael Kolodziej

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 12:10 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your work here!  This is such a great way to situate problem solving into other classroom activities like reading a story, providing much needed context to the problems.  Like Dale, I'm interested in knowing how you select books. I'm also wondering if you looked at whether there is any sort of sweet spot is in terms of usage of classroom time dedicated to exploring the narrative vs. problem solving, prototyping and the other components of the iterative design process mentioned.

    Thanks in advance!

  • Icon for: Elissa Milto

    Elissa Milto

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 01:27 p.m.

    One of the goals of the project is to not create large amounts of teachers so we work with them to asses the books they already use in their classrooms. Professional development is an integral part of Novel Engineering. During PD, we talk to teachers about the books they use and  help them anticipate would could happen in their classrooms. Generally, the class spends the same amount of time they usually would to read the book, just including additional conversations about problems in the book. To run through the engineering design process can take a varied amount of time depending on the goals of the teacher and the age of the students. Also, not all students work at the same pace so, for example, some groups spend more time planning than others. We've seen 5th graders do the "engineering" part of the project in 2 1/2 hours while another class spent six hours, one hour a week. Those students spent more time testing and iterating. We don't look at this as a one-time, annual experience so each time the students do it, the better they understanding the engineering and more functional their designs are. Let me know if you want clarification on anything. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Dale McCreedy

    Dale McCreedy

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 11:32 p.m.

    I guess I am surprised that teachers are using books in the classroom on a regular basis - especially at the middle and high school levels. Can you talk more about this? Examples? the types of characters that seem most impactful and maleable for this? How you address issues of gender and stereotypes in the text?

  • Icon for: Stacey Forsyth

    Stacey Forsyth

    Informal Educator
    May 18, 2017 | 01:08 a.m.

    Neat project! I love how your project connects engineering design with literacy in such a natural way. We've recently been doing STEM PD with teachers in a local district that has decided to focus its elementary summer school on engineering. Your approach would be a nice fit for them, as they're excited about doing hands-on engineering activities during the summer session, but also concerned about developing participants' literacy skills during that time. I'll definitely be sharing your video with them!  : )

  • Icon for: Christine Cunningham

    Christine Cunningham

    Founder & Director, Engineering is Elementary
    May 19, 2017 | 11:02 a.m.

    Love your quote about failure: "If something doesn't work, we can go back and fix it and it's not a big deal." It's great to see that you've identified ways to best support teachers with professional development—we know that PD is critical to the success of any program.

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