Creating Engineers at Prairie

Creating engineers at Prairie Elementary.

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Stevi John’s Kindergarten students are thinking like engineers, thanks to the new science resources she purchased with an It’s My I.D.E.A. Grant. After students in her classroom test a marble run or put together a sequence of gears, John invites them to reflect on their experiences. She asks them, “What do you wonder about?”

John and the other Kindergarten teachers at Prairie Elementary use those questions to build their classroom science units. “Having these new materials gives us jumping off points,” John explains. When students guide classroom instruction they begin to view themselves as scientists.

“The students construct their own ideas, and sometimes they even start using vocabulary on their own.” For example, John’s students began using the words push and pull while playing with the new science resources in her classroom.

Before they were awarded an It’s My I.D.E.A. Grant, John and her Kindergarten team spent most of their science planning time searching for materials. “School budgets usually go for math and literacy materials, so we haven’t had the tools to teach science. Before, we spent our planning time searching for resources to go along with our units.” Now that they received a classroom grant, John and her fellow teachers spend their planning time discussing the students’ questions, sharing ideas and collaborating.

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