LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Children's engineering

toy military vehicle made from legos

Design technology: Children's engineering

By Erin Denniston

Provided by Kenan Fellows Program

Unless one does it for one’s self, it isn’t thinking. —John Dewey

A paradox of education is evident when we say we want students to become good problem solvers but then we don’t give them good problems to solve. We give them instructions to follow, we give them projects to build, we give them experiments to perform — but we know from the outset what results we want to see at the end. That’s not problem solving. Design technology is problem solving. And elementary schools should be doing more of it in order to improve problem-solving skills as well as to encourage more American students to pursue science and engineering careers.

This unit includes design technology projects linked to major themes in engineering. All the lessons and activities support national and state standards. They include materials lists, procedures, student data sheets, and assessment strategies. The lessons vary in grade level and can be modified up or down.

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