Playing Engineer in Kindergarten

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Yesterday New York Times published an article with the title Studying Engineering Before They Can Spell It. The article talks about students at an elementary school in Glen Rock, NJ, who have engineering study in their curriculum. These students cannot even spell the word engineer correctly, but they learn and experiment how to solve engineering problems. While the supporters say that “engineering reinforces math and science skills, promotes critical thinking and creativity”, some question if the children are really learning something and if the school should spend on this program.

Really? Why would someone question this program?  It is the age when the engineering bug catches and it will hold the child, and then the young adult, and then the engineer for years to come. It is the age when the love for one’s profession develops.

I am not talking in clichés. I know this first hand. I was fortunate enough to have Uncle Manea in my life who had a small business, a shop where he would repair anything electrical, from steam irons to TV sets. I was nine years old when I first went to his shop. I was fascinated. I started to help him by rewinding burned transformer bobbins and, later on, doing small electrical repairs. I just loved it, and that love for electronics lasted a life time.

Children learn by having fun. One cannot tell a child, learn this and learn that. He might do it, but then he will start hating it. Instead of developing a love for math and science, you burn that path forever. But if you come up with fun ways of solving problems, or engineering tasks, like the 3 little pigs’ house, children will do it, will have fun, and will learn that they can solve problems. This builds confidence.

This post inaugurates a regular feature in my website, in which I will talk about teaching electrical engineering.

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