Design Principles

EiE curriculum products have been created using rigorous, research-based design principles.

Our 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 on a social 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 designs, students engage with content, hone their critical-thinking skills, and take ownership of their learning.

Engineering Learning Trajectories

See how our current thinking about how age-appropriate engineering should meet the needs of children in a variety of age bands: Trajectories for PreschoolMiddle School Engineering Activities