EiE Design Principles

Rigorous, research-based design is behind every curriculum unit

Our Design Parameters

We’ve developed each EiE curriculum unit following these design parameters:

  • Every unit uses a field of engineering as a unifying theme
  • Units can stand alone. You can use EiE units in any order
  • Lessons are flexible—they can be adapted for different grades/abilities
  • Lessons are scaffolded—they build logically to the final engineering design challenge
  • All activities use simple, inexpensive materials
  • We choose activities that appeal to ALL students—including girls and members of minority groups

Your Teaching Methods

We recommend teaching EiE units using pedagogical methods based in a constructivist view of learning. These include the following:

Contextual Learning and Problem Solving. EiE engineering design challenges show students how what they learn in school connects with the world around them.

Collaborative Learning and Teamwork. Most EiE activities involve small-group work that encourages students to consider more than one solution or idea and work collaboratively.

Communication. All EiE curricula develop students’ communication skills and encourage them to share ideas in several ways: speaking, writing, drawing, and building.

Project-based Learning. EiE’s engineering design challenges engage students in inquiry. As they analyze their own data and make decisions about their design, students engage with content, hone their critical-thinking skills, and take ownership of their learning.

A Learning Cycle for Students

We’ve designed each EiE unit to involve students in the “Five E" learning cycle:

Engagement: Students are drawn to a challenge because it’s interesting and captures their imaginations.

Exploration: Students start to explore science and engineering principles through activities where they encounter problems or ask questions.

Explanation: Students describe what they think is happening. They’re ready to learn from their teacher AND their peers.

Elaboration: Students apply what they’ve learned to the engineering design challenge.

Evaluation: Students reflect on what they have learned.