Posted on 08/21/2015 at 07:15 AM by Liz Determan

In an article on the Community Playthings website, Drs. Betty Zan and Beth Van Meeteren (from the University of Northern Iowa) make the case that all early childhood programs should engage in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities. 

Engineering is defined as a “systematic and often iterative approach to designing objects, processes, and systems to meet human needs and wants.” Embedded in this approach is problem solving (which we know is an assessed item on the GOLD). Thinking of solutions, testing the solutions, revising their solution and testing them again are all part of Engineering.

Engineering is building with ramps to get the marbles to go around a corner. Engineering is building bridges that will not fall down.  Engineering is repairing a broken toy. Engineering is creating a waterfall sequence in the water table.

But perhaps that most significant domain that is strengthened by engineering activities is “approaches to learning.” Children respond to these engineering situations with curiosity, engagement, initiative, persistence, problem solving, creativity and inventiveness (also assessed on the GOLD). And think of the language that is happening!  What a great way to inspire learning!!!

Check out the article at


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