Studying Engineering Before They Can Spell It


Concerned that American students lack the skills to compete in a global economy, school districts nationwide are including engineering lessons in their curriculum for students from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

Those supporting the curriculum change insist that engineering encourages critical and creative thinking and reinforces core math and science skills. Detractors caution that project-based learning doesn’t necessarily teach the knowledge and skills beyond a problem.

While engineering lessons can be pricey, promoting creativity and critical thinking skills is essential to preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s competitive workplace. Critical and Creative Thinking for Teenagers uses cross-disciplinary examples coupled with analytical, creative and practical hands-on curriculum activities to outline the steps to critical thinking and spark their creative juices. For a free copy of Critical and Creative Thinking or to learn more about LifeBound’s books and materials, visit or email


New York Times
June 13, 2010
Studying Engineering Before They Can Spell It

GLEN ROCK, N.J. — In a class full of aspiring engineers, the big bad wolf had to do more than just huff and puff to blow down the three little pigs’ house.

To start, he needed to get past a voice-activated security gate, find a hidden door and negotiate a few other traps in a house that a pair of kindergartners here imagined for the pigs — and then pieced together from index cards, paper cups, wood sticks and pipe cleaners.

“Excellent engineering,” their teacher, Mary Morrow, told them one day early this month.

All 300 students at Clara E. Coleman Elementary School are learning the A B C’s of engineering this year, even those who cannot yet spell e-n-g-i-n-e-e-r-i-n-g. The high-performing Glen Rock school district, about 22 miles northwest of Manhattan, now teaches 10 to 15 hours of engineering each year to every student in kindergarten through fifth grade, as part of a $100,000 redesign of the science curriculum.

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