Engineering in elementary schools

Cathy P. Lachapelle, Christine M. Cunningham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

78 Scopus citations


Engineering has not historically been considered an “elementary” topic. However, with the recognition that engineering’s applied orientation may be particularly motivating to young children, that engineering can contribute to the meaningful integration of science and mathematics, and that children begin to have preferences about future careers before middle school, the push to include engineering experiences and practices in the elementary school curriculum has increased internationally. In this chapter we discuss the reasons engineering should be included at the elementary school level. We briefly review the history of the inclusion of technology and engineering in Europe, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Finally, we draw on a number of policy and standards documents from the United States, and our own experience developing and testing an engineering curriculum for elementary school, to propose a set of core concepts and practices for elementary engineering, as well as design parameters for the implementation of engineering curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEngineering in Pre-College Settings
Subtitle of host publicationSynthesizing Research, Policy, and Practices
PublisherPurdue University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781612493572
ISBN (Print)9781557536914
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Engineering


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