Everybody Designs, Engineers and Makes with Children’s Literature

BY Muriel Brown

Eastham Elementary School

Project Description

The goal of this project is to get as many children involved in exploring their creative and inquisitive natures. Children will be designing, engineering and making using well known children’s literature as a basis for finding problems to solve from PreK-5th grade. For example a seatbelt or other device for Humpty Dumpty or a fashionable set of clothes for the Emperor. It will be up to the children to decide what the problem is and how to solve it.

In the process the children will learn how the Design Process works, empathy for the customer which is a part of Design Thinking, and actually creating the products that they design. My hope is to have a night where parents can come and watch /participate with their children. There will also be a take home component where a family reads a story, comes up with a problem and plans how to solve it and solves it. There will be a designated space in the school to display these projects.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

I will be doing at least one project per grade level with the children that fits in with the curriculum. There will also be an after school club offered where children from all grade levels can participate. The success will be monitored by how many children participate and the interest and motivation of those that do participate. The evening of engineering and design at school will hopefully show us the parent’s level of interest as well as the take home engineering and design kits usage.

Benefit to the students and the school

The benefits to the school will show teachers, students and parents that the processes of Design Thinking and Design Engineering (problem solving), will help the children in all areas of their learning. For example for Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow? The 5th graders will be planning a garden for the school and community to enjoy. I believe by using fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and children’s literature that the problems will feel less daunting and give the children a place to start the problem solving process by understanding the needs of others.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)

The project will start immediately and continue throughout the school year. Projects will be displayed throughout the year and at our evening of science, art and music in May.