The "E" in STEM stands for Engineering. Engineers are designers, they are inventers, and most importantly, they are problem solvers. The Engineering Design Cycle explains the process through which engineers experiment and create their solutions to problems both great and small in the world around us. 

The reason it is referred to as a cycle is that it will repeat itself. You always look for ways that you can improve. As such, we feel it is important to let kids know it is okay to not succeed the first time or feel like they need to be perfect. We use a failure as a learning tool for how to improve going forward instead.

The Engineering Design Cycle:

  1. Identify the problem you want to solve
  2. Think of ways to solve the problem
  3. Build something to test your solution
  4. See if that invention works
  5. Determine any problems with or improvements that you can with your design.
  6. Return to Step 1 to improve your design further.

Sample Activities to Integrate STEM in the Learning Process:

As mentioned on the Science page, we will be exploring how we will touch on all the parts of STEM in our two example projects to give you an idea of how our kids will be learning. Refer to the respective pages to see how we touch on that topic during our lessons for these activities. 

In each activity, our kids will play the role of an engineer (aerospace engineer for parachutes or mechanical engineer for catapults) as they prototype, test, and improve the design of their product. For our parachutes, kids will explore how weight, size, and material of their parachute will impact their descent as well as strategies to stabilize their fall and cushion their landing. Meanwhile, for our catapults, kids will observe how changes in the number of rubber bands, how tight they are wound, and other parts will impact the distance traveled and accuracy for hitting a target.

As described in the Engineering Design Cycle above, these changes will be an iterative process done over the course of their classes through trial and error.