Engineering High-Level Thinking with Low Budgets

You may have heard about the Marshmallow Challenge that  with a group of 6th – 8th graders.


There’s a “fun” challenge that comes with being able to adjust to the brains of the 10 year old and 13 year old student at the same time.

FFreestyle, see how learners engage around an intentional set of questions. By allowing a group of ambitious 10 year old students and their more risk-assessing 13 year old counterparts, to talk things out together you can learn a lot.  Without  a ton of directions, you can gauge which learners will need more structure and get vital insights to use to refer back to during upcoming sessions

UUnpack tools based on the feedback that you get from activities and lessons.   While you have an ideal progression that you’d like learners to follow, be sure you aren’t skipping steps and assuming students have mastered any skill you haven’t personally taught them.

UUnderstand that teaching logic is a lost art,  so you have to be meticulous in seeing the gap between how a learner currently thinks and other considerations you’d like them to evaluate.  Holistic Engineering Education is about using learners personal interests, skills, and needs to shape well rounded lessons that help change their approach to solutions they aren’t yet capable of solving.

NNavigate between teams requiring learners to dig deeper with higher-level questions.  Preparation is vital here, because your strategy should always be to use those questions to help continue the ‘freestyling’, ‘unpacking’ and ‘understanding’ within the classroom.

What you’ll find is all learners have difficulty identifying the logical steps to take after identifying the problem and using their imagination to create a solution.  The value of the Engineering Design Process is that it ask learners to use traditional subjects, not abstractly, but in a practical way.   There is no more practical way of solving a problem, than making a plan.

So, tomorrow learners will see the feasibility of their imaginative designs with the use of a our  “Blueprint and Budget” lesson.  This “low-fi” lesson asks learners to take their vision of a structurally sound building and Plan. So much of what our learners are missing is the ability to effectively plan by mapping it out visually first and understanding the reality of financial constraints.

If you’re interested in hearing more about our engineering and art infused “TEAMS Curriculum” – contact Executive Consultant, LaToya Williams for details.


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