Sep 16, 2014

The Drama That Is Engineering

image by jaylopez (Jay), via
With many states now requiring engineering ("the E in STEM"). many teachers are nervous. Though teachers I work with are adults, intelligent and well-educated, they are just novices with respect to Many wonder how they can teach this subject they never learned.

Ignorance can be an advantage, though.The "sage on the stage" method of teaching--where the teacher knows all the answers--can be a crutch to some, preventing them from owning their learning, and a joykill for others who want the thrill of experiencing the drama that engineering projects can be.

The new-to-engineering teacher can be a great "guide on the side," an approach that can allow students to discover and experience the full thriller nature engineering projects have to offer. A great engineering class hears the "Aws" of the failed prototypes, experiences the tensions of decision making under the pressure of constraints, and witnesses the shouts and jumps of a successful run. Just watch movies like October Sky or Apollo 13.

So, STEM teachers, next time you run your engineering project, think of yourself as the next Ron Howard, bent on eliciting the drama of engineering, with your students taking the starring roles.


~ until next time, Yvonne