Meet Buena Vista's Little Engineers

Little Engineers
Posted on 01/23/2019
"Little Engineers"

“…research shows that STEM is important for all children and for all subject areas. Think of it this way: As we learn new skills, our brains weave skill strands into ropes we can use to solve problems, meet challenges, and, in turn, acquire new skills. STEM skills are vital in many kinds of skill ropes: When kids have opportunities to collect evidence and solve scientific problems, they build strong ropes that can be used in many ways, both now and later in life” (McClure, 2017).

Our elementary teachers understand the need to incorporate STEM into core content material.  They also firmly believe that using a child’s innate inquisitiveness and desire to explore can make STEM fun and engaging; enhancing every lesson they teach.

Jodi Clark and Julie Tyree, second-grade teachers at Kling, witnessed this powerful, but natural creativity, first hand last week when they turned a routine math lesson into an engineering lesson:

“At first, students were assigned to create their own repeating patterns during math time using snap cubes. They established the concept extremely well, but then we asked our students if they could stick some of their short patterns together, along with other cubes, to see how far it would reach.

We told our groups to go ahead and we would observe. They began stretching out the blocks, and thinking of ways to hold the blocks up from breaking.

Before long, they discovered how they could bridge the cubes across chairs, shelves, and desks at the perfect height by making adjustments.

In the end, they created a colorful bridge as little engineers! ️”  - Jodi Clark

Her students were just as excited about this project.  We asked them to reflect on what they learned. 

Following are their insightful answers:

Question: “What did you love the most about this project?”

 Shaylyn:  “I loved that everybody was working together.”

Adrienne:  “That our bridge was really long and we worked hard on it.”

Question:  “What was your biggest take-away from this lesson?”

Alexis:  “We worked together; we knew how to do this.  We helped each other get the colored blocks we wanted.”

Shaylyn:  “We worked hard on it and we learned to never give up!”  She went on, “We had to break it one time so we could figure out how to make it work.”

Question:  “What did you learn about the importance of instructions?”

Bryson:  “At first, everyone was doing their best to build their own pattern. Then, we made one all together. We had to follow instructions to make it work.”

Lyncoln:  “We know how to do growth patterns and repeating patterns.”

Ayden added to what Lincoln said, “We learned how to put all our patterns together.”

Question:  “How did you figure out how to keep it off the ground?”

Lillian:  “We put the chairs in a line.”

Bryson:  “We used the tables because it’s like flat surface made of wood and that would give it the strength to hold it up.”

Logan:  “We used the shelves too.  Everything had the same height so the long line of blocks wouldn’t break.”

Works Cited

McClure, E. (2017, March 21). Four Things Everyone Should Know About Early STEM Learning. Retrieved from


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