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Differences between PreK to 5th Grade




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Lesson Plan Example:
Grade K



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Design process Connect Stories Examples Prek-5 grade differences
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Essential Questions:  How do we excite our students about engineering, problem solving and thinking skills in a playful manner?


Continuum of Self-Directed Learning

According to Knowles (1984), children are naturally curious and can be more self-directing in schools. What is important is not the age, but the learner’s situation. In fact, the learner’s “need to know” and self-directing capacity increases steadily during childhood and rapidly during adolescence (Knowles, 1984). Schools can foster the development of learners’ skills of self-directed learning through inquiry-based learning (Day & Baskett, 1982). Encouraging self-direction does not mean giving learners total control and responsibility but rather providing incremental opportunities on a continuum towards increasing independence for lifelong learning.



How to handle the design process at different grade levels.

Pre-K-grade 1:

Learn vocabulary: design, engineer

Children brainstorm, choose theme, plan and set up dramatic play area with science and math themes.

Practice observation and classification skills.

Plan, create, and refine structures with blocks and other manipulative.

Grades 2/3

Practice brainstorming.

Begin to use design process in simplified form.  Teacher models the process of morphological analysis.  Teacher and students do the process together.

Teacher presents a design challenge and a solution from a story that is familiar to the children.  Invite the children to come up with another solution.  (Choose a problem that will really engage the class.)

Write to engineers, scientists, mathematicians.  Invite some to visit the classroom to do a presentation/demonstration.

Fourth Grade

Interview engineers.

Engage in the whole process of finding design challenges in stories and deciding on solutions that involve science and or math concepts as a class, with the guidance of the teacher.

Possibly complete part of the process working in teams after beginning it as a class.

Fifth Grade

Class reads a book together.  Teams each choose a challenge from the book and decide on a solution that incorporates science concepts /math skills.

Possibly teams choose their own books and complete the design process.


  Prepared by  Bill Wolfson.  Copyright © 2011-2012
Last Updated  08/