While TEC Center’s focus is on technology, we support early childhood educators’ implementation of Science, Engineering, and Math while using technology as a tool for learning, exploring, and connecting. In STEM education, E (engineering) is often either forgotten or misunderstood. There are numerous skills and activities in early childhood that support the foundations of engineering education. Frequently used Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) highlights the importance of engineering in education. Unfortunately, there’s a lack of engineering-focused resources for early childhood educators. Download and save these play and lesson plans so they can serve as an addition (or start) of your library of T+E early education resources.
Play and Lesson Plans designed by TEC Center professional development participants:
- Design a Cooler, Developed by Laurel Hall, First Grade educator
- Ms. Hall’s First grade students designed and built coolers to keep an ice cube cold in this play and lesson plan. The students first begin their design process with the identification of a problem, discussion, and brainstorming. Ms. Hall then guided the students as they drew blueprints and created and tested their design. Learn more about design thinking here. Ms. Hall later reflected,
- I found that [the students] were much more engaged in the learning process and noticed that they were asking to work on their technology projects during any free time that they had in the classroom”
- How can balls move through space using simple machines?, Developed by Cathy Patterson, PK-8 educator, *lesson plan for Third Grade students
- This play or lesson plan turned into a unit focused on force, motion, energy and the use of many technology tools including Google Classroom (read this Common Sense Education article to learn more about Google Classroom), to document, collaborate, and problem solve. The unit includes exploring the motion of balls, investigating slingshots, creating a giant slingshot, and sharing and reflecting on the processes and design. Ms. Patterson supported the third graders’ learning with the following online resources:
As you read these plans note that many of them use photography and video that include images of children. The TEC Center promotes and believes that children have the right to know how and where their images and voices will be used and the right to refuse sharing their images, voices and work online.
Before you take pictures or video of children remember to:
- talk to your school leadership first about your plans
- ask parents/guardians to sign a release form provided by the school or program
- ask each child for permission and tell children how their images will be used
- protect a child’s privacy and digital footprint by putting a shape or positive emoji over a child’s face before sharing it on social media platforms to protect a child’s privacy
- Before sharing images of children with parents and caregivers make sure to review guidelines for protecting their privacy with parents, including reminding parents to
- ask for permission from your child if you can post an image, video or project online and respect your child’s wishes
- share with care and post images of only your child online
- be positive and a good digital citizen by posting only positive comments, photos and videos a child would be proud to show someone later in life-never shame your own child or another child online
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