Engineering for ELL Kids

Engineering for ELL Kids

This blog will highlight some ways to involve ELL students in Engineering. We will highlight one of our current projects and other excellent resources that can include ELL students in the world of Engineering.

What are examples of client simulations?

Client simulations place students in the mindset of working at an actual business. Students are “playing pretend” to feel the experience of working with a client on a product. Students will act as “engineers” working under a senior engineer to create a design for a manufacturing company throughout the Engineering simulation. Cody Steuck’s curriculum was written for all students, but through equity, the lens to encourage more English Language Learners to pursue engineering. To promote equity and access in engineering education, we created a project to work directly with the Somali community. We are currently completing a simulation where students work as “engineers” for their client, Cody Steuck, an engineer at Wausau Coated Products. Students will go through an eight-week course designed by the engineer and tied to Common Core State Standards in Math & STEM. The students will learn about space maximization, creating racks, and developing area capacities. The engineer will present students with the task and explain his role. Then, students will work with pre-service teachers and practicing teachers to create their models for Wausau Coated Products. After developing models over six weeks, the engineer will select the top two models. The final two weeks will involve class collaborations to finish the model for the engineer. There will be a celebration of the work and a presentation to the client in Week Eight. Through the process of simulation, students will develop their engineering identities. The more that students can “see” themselves in work, the greater the likelihood that students will envision a future career in engineering. 

Virtual afterschool Engineering activities

  1. Engineering for Kids offers virtual camps live to students looking to learn about Engineering.  Students learn about the Engineering Design process from the safety of their homes. 
  2. Outschool offers many Engineering options at a great price depending on age and topical interests.
  3. ELL Advocates offers an Engineering Workshop, a niche and intimate experience where students work directly with an engineer through the entire course. This curriculum is specifically English Language Learner friendly and provides entry points for all students to enjoy the world of engineering. 
  4. CreatorBots allows students to learn about coding and engineering through robotics. This highly engaging, specialized experience is quite exciting for students. 

Free after school Engineering activities

  1. Curiosity Machine poses free engineering challenges online to challenge and engage students worldwide. Students who enter the contests get feedback from actual engineers and professionals. 
  2. Science Buddies offers lots of great Engineering ideas to try at home. Some are more complicated than others, providing all students with something that would work for them. 
  3. Teach Engineering offers free resources to teachers and families aligned with NGSS standards for K-12.
  4. IEEE Engineering offers resources and lesson plans for students to learn Engineering. The lessons are from actual engineers who get featured on the site. Students can connect with engineers to inspire them. 

Afterschool Engineering activities for elementary school

  1. Sylvan learning center offers Engineering courses for kids. The activities are hands-on, engaging, and collaborative. Offerings may depend on the site. 
  2. ELL Advocates offers a K-6 Geometry-based Engineering course led by an engineer and co-taught with a math teacher/professor. This course teaches students through the lens of real-world projects coming from the engineer’s actual experiences. This curriculum is specifically English Language Learner friendly and provides entry points for all students to enjoy the world of engineering. 
  3. Engineering is Elementary” offers excellent options for students to learn integrative STEM across disciplines. Students are taught about engineering as a career and the expectations of the field from a young age. 
  4. Kid Spark offers engineering-based challenges to students to build design principles. The program uses children’s innate desire to be creative. 

Afterschool Engineering activities for the middle/high school this section will detail the best options for enrichment programs at the middle and high school level.

  1. Project Syncere prepares underrepresented students to pursue STEM careers. Students learn engineering design principles at a young age. 
  2. ELL Advocates offers a 7-12 Geometry-based Engineering course, led by an engineer and co-taught with a math teacher/professor. The course teaches students through integrative project-based learning from the engineer’s actual experiences.  This curriculum is specifically English Language Learner friendly and provides entry points for all students to enjoy the world of engineering. 
  3. Coursera offers many free courses for students to dabble in engineering and see what they like. This is a great way to investigate areas of interest and determine your studying goals. 
  4. MIT offers many free virtual courses in various engineering topics for students to try. 

Bring Engineering to life for kids!

Engineering for students can be a beautiful, creative thing. We hope that children can learn to “see” themselves as actual engineers with the utmost potential through this course and future courses like it.


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