Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Museum of Science and Engineering in Boston is an amazing place; more so since Dr. Ioannis Miaoulis has become director. What he has done is to create an entirely new dimension of education and learning that brings science into the world of engineering (what we used to call design technology).

Instead of just learning about the natural environment as we do in science, Dr Maoulis has focused our attention on the idea that we use what we know about science to improve and protect the world we in which we live. In science education at the elementary school level the focus is on inquiry. Students are encouraged to use their natural curiosity to learn about the world in which they live. Which substances are magnetic? What do plants need to grow? How do rivers create valleys? In engineering, students are encouraged to use the science they have learned to solve problems. How can you make an object move using magnetism? How can you grow a plant without any soil?  There is a neat program at the Boston Museum of Science (EIE) designed to help students develop their engineering skills from a very young age.

One local school that has an incredible engineering program is Williston Central school where Mike Thomas has been guiding students in grades 3 - 8 in the art of design and construction using a variety of motivating activities and materials. On any given day the students can be engaged in designing and making a medieval  trebuchet or programming a Lego robot they have made using a computer program. 

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