Lesson Plan: Engineering So Simple an Elementary Student Could Do It

Uzma Shah spent her last semester at Kennesaw State University writing a children’s book about engineering. In the book, a young boy out roller-skating with his mom, who just happens to be an engineer, discovers that engineering is all around us. This semester Shah, a kindergarten teacher at Carterville Primary School in Carterville, Georgia, used the book to inspire her winning lesson plan for the 2014 AAUW Battle of the Plans contest.

Shah’s plan, “Wheels in Motion,” has students read the book and use simple machines to help a hypothetical small village in Uganda through a drought. It calls for students to collaborate in small groups, to develop ideas for water systems, and to build either a windmill or a waterwheel. Shah said she’s learned by teaching five-year-olds that you have to keep them engaged and add hands-on activities to the learning process.

As part of our Girl Day celebration, AAUW held our second-annual Battle of the Plans contest. We were looking for classroom lesson plans for K–12 students that push educators to bring more engineering-based curricula to students.

“I was super shocked,” Shah said of her win. She had learned about the contest through a teacher mentor. “Engineering and technology-based things like this make such a big difference in the classroom. This year I tried to use iPads and more technology because I think hands-on activities get more positive results, and students tend to retain more information that way.”

Introducing engineering-based technology to classrooms can make a huge difference in the learning process of students. Unfortunately, many students don’t get the opportunity to engage in engineering in school, as the subject matter isn’t often taught at the elementary level. But getting students — especially girls — involved with STEM fields at an early age can have a lasting effect on their futures. Shah says spending even one week the in the classroom on a project like hers can make all the difference for girls.

Download Shah’s lesson plan for your classroom today and get more girls involved with engineering!

This post was written by AAUW STEM Programs and Social Media Intern Ariana Witt.

Review the 2013 winning lesson plan.