Engineering Challenge in Elementary School

Engineering Challenge in Elementary School

  • News
  • Early Childhood, Elementary School

What happened when students in grades 2-5 were challenged to think like engineers?

Watch this video to see how they rose to the occasion. Mr Patrick Frape, Elementary Tech Coach, asked students to design a plastic widget to pick up a water bottle with a pencil – however, the pencil couldn’t directly touch the water bottle. 


Over the course of three 40-minute sessions, the students learned about a “Think – Make – Test” design cycle, used 3D design software and printed their widgets with the Idea Lab’s 3D printers, and tested their creations to consider improvements.

Give kids interesting problems to solve, the tools to do it, and an approach, and they will behave like engineers!” Mr Patrick Frape, Elementary Tech Coach

Students find it rewarding to use the professional equipment available to them in the Idea Lab, and as they work through a design cycle, they can learn from their prototypes and create impressive results. 

Even more important than the individual widgets created is the lasting sense of engineering as a process.

The Idea Lab 

The Idea Lab is a technology and design-focused maker space integrated into the Learning Innovation Hub. The Idea Lab supports students’ curiosity, extending hands-on learning with both traditional and contemporary tools. Learners can explore 3D printing, laser cutting, computational embroidery, robotics, and more, within a state-of-the-art, purpose-built space.

Technology and Innovation coaches work with students and teachers to help develop their ideas and skills, providing advice, instruction, and pedagogical support. In the Idea Lab, students and teachers can learn with and from each other as they make, tinker, prototype, test, reflect, design, and share their creations and discoveries.

  • Two 3D-printers
  • Two laser cutters
  • Three sewing machines
  • A programmable embroidery machine
  • A plotter cutter
  • A drill press
  • A Dremel jigsaw
  • A rotary tool
  • Multiple soldering irons, multimeters, cordless drills, vise table clamps, cutting mats, safety goggles, and a wide variety of hand tools.
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