Article Reflection Essay

Resource

Lancemakes (2020). Hands on Engineering STEM Projects for Kids and Students. Retrieved from: https://www.instructables.com/id/Project-Based-Engineering-for-Kids/

Overall Idea of the Resource

The resource revolves around a collection of project-based lessons and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) projects for middle and elementary school which focus on fundamentals of mechanical and structural engineering, and physics. Most of the projects require similar materials which are inexpensive and easy to purchase (Lancemakes, 2020). The projects involve making of rubber band helicopter, rubber band car, slingshot rockets, hydraulic machines, propeller car, simple pneumatic machine, bow, and arrow, extending grabber, hydraulic judo bots, propeller-powered zipline racers, simple sail car, geometric shapes, mechanical hand, marble roller coaster, siege engines, and craft stick mouse trap (Lancemakes, 2020).

There are many more projects on the resource, and they all help solve certain problems. The projects are simple and cheap to build (Lancemakes, 2020). Therefore, these projects teach children in becoming experts in various fields such as engineering while still young, thus enhancing their creativity and boosting the theoretical knowledge they learn in class. The project-based knowledge ensures that no learner lags behind the rest of his/her classmates since they can practice later and understand. The idea of project-based lessons relates to engineering topics. It teaches learners to use the available equipment and come up with creative instruments to solve our daily challenges.

Creating these projects relates to the field of engineering since it helps learners in using their scientific knowledge learned in class to invent, design, and build things that will achieve their intended purpose. Moreover, the projects give learners hands-on experience in the engineering field early, thus making the subject more manageable and enjoyable. The projects are meant to improve the creativity of learners by helping them to experiment and invent new things, which will enhance their quality of learning, thus making them better professionals in the future. STEM projects will help students in identifying a problem, think of several solutions, and create some possibly working solutions. If students can approach certain issues and find working solutions, it implies that they are able to grasp the content.

Important Idea from the Resource

After critical analysis of the resource, I realized that scientific knowledge learned in class, blended with hands-on practice, enhances the learning process making it easier for both the learners and the teacher. I will work with my pupils to create projects and come up with new ones. I will incorporate the practical instructions in my lessons to help students who have challenges in building the projects and making them work. If any new projects come up, I will always try them out with my learners and encourage every student to participate. Engaging learners in practical skills will improve their understanding of class and make them better engineers in the future. Children will understand and appreciate the knowledge of class levers while building some projects such as lever catapult.

Draxler (2013) believes that engineering education should enhance learners’ problem-solving skills, thus preparing them to apply critical thinking. Draxler (2013) claimed that the United States’ education systems are not producing adequate critical thinkers. Thus, a new initiative integrated STEM into high school and elementary learning. Abts aims to make his students learn and think like engineers by being creative, thinking critically, and collaborating to come up with great ideas (Dlaxler, 2013). The STEM initiatives focused on engineering since it provided learners with chances of working collectively and solving problems while still very young. Whenever children try, fail, rethink their designs, and retry more, they learn how to create solutions for challenges (Dlaxler, 2013). This practical experience teaches leaners how engineering works.

Impact on Thinking

After reading and viewing the various STEM projects lessons, I realized that I needed to incorporate practice learning in my classes by encouraging students to create things that we learn (Lancemakes, 2020). From what I read in the resource, I will change my teaching mode and stop teaching theory independently. The STEM project lessons will make engineering more enjoyable since the students can experiment with what they learn in class. I started giving at least two practice sessions a week and provide materials that the students will use to create their projects.

After incorporating the practical lessons for two weeks, where students would create some engineering tools, I realized that students appreciated the science of engineering. Therefore, I will continue with the practice. Students have interacted with each other in making the STEM projects while helping those whose projects could not work. I have seen improvement in performance since learners can relate the practical experience with theoretical knowledge that they learn in class. Parents have enrolled more pupils in my class after getting information on class performance and the practical skills that I am teaching the students.

 

 

References

Draxler, B. (2013, November 5). Teaching Kids to Think Lke Engineers. Retrieved from: https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/teaching-kids-to-think-like-engineers

Lancemakes (2020). Hands on Engineering STEM Projects for Kids and Students. Retrieved from: https://www.instructables.com/id/Project-Based-Engineering-for-Kids/

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