The ‘E’ (and ‘T’) in STEM Get a Boost With $1 Million Gift

By Erik W. Robelen — October 06, 2011 1 min read
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The Engineering is Elementary program will see its reach extend with a $1 million grant from Raytheon Co. announced yesterday. The money will support increased teacher training through the establishment of professional development centers in Washington, D.C.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Huntsville, Ala.

The program, developed in 2003 by the Museum of Science, Boston, seeks to cultivate an understanding of engineering and technology among elementary school children.

“By helping teachers bring the basic concepts of engineering and technology to life, they will be able to excite future generations of students to become the innovators of tomorrow,” Raytheon Chairman and CEO William H. Swanson said in a press release. “We share the Museum of Science’s desire to accelerate the adoption of its Engineering is Elementary Program, and to support teachers throughout the nation who are committed to instilling a passion for STEM among America’s young students.”

The Engineering is Elementary curriculum consists of 20 storybook units with titles such as “Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills” and “Taking the Plunge: Designing Submersibles.”

Last year, The New York Times wrote a story about the growing reach of the Engineering Is Elementary program, noting that it is being used in all 50 states. In the story, the program’s director counters the notion that elementary students are too young to learn about engineering.

“We still hear all the time that little kids can’t engineer,” program director Christine Cunningham was quoted as saying. “We say they’re born engineers—they naturally want to solve problems—and we tend to educate it out of them.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.