What problems have you solved today? Every day we are challenged with solving problems, and as adults, we don’t think about the process that goes into finding a solution because we have years of practice. We learned at an early age to be problem solvers.
Groovy Lab in a Box wants to help children be problem solvers too. We foster creative innovation of children, beginning in their early informative years, by enticing their innate curiosity and determination through the engineering design process.
What is the Engineering Design Process?
NASA’s example of the Engineering Design Process “involves a series of steps that lead to the development of a new product or system.” In fact, all engineering design processes start with the identification of a problem, or asking of a question to a solution or conclusion. Educators around the world use varying steps in a design process.
Here’s How We Do It
Each month STEMists receive a subscription box that focuses on a certain theme. The box provides all the supplies necessary to complete the investigations, experiments and design challenge outlined in a retro-style custom, subject-specific lab notebook. However, our boxes don’t stop there. Through the contents of our boxes, we encourage children to channel their inner STEMists, guiding them through the steps of the engineering design process.
What is a STEMist?
STEM•ist /stĕmʹĭst/ n. Expert in applying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Explorer, creator, inventor… STEMist!
In fact, the engineering design process is central for completing the activities in the box. For example, in the Lunar Launch groovy box, STEMists investigate by researching what others have done and inspecting the materials supplied to design the three types of rockets they will build in their challenge—a balloon rocket, paper rocket and foam rocket. Also included in the Lunar Launch box are balloons, paperclips, tape measure, pencils, the lab notebook, a clothes pin, scissors, and other necessary items needed to do all the investigations and engineering design challenge.
Next, children brainstorm on how they should complete each task based on the information they learned and discuss creative ways to design their project. Then, they will plan how to build the design. Once the STEMists build the design, they test their design, and observe and record the results. The last step is to redesign it to fix any problems that may have occurred in their first design. Our STEMists go through this process with each of the activities, putting to good use the groovy lab notebook that guides them through the engineering design process.
Groovy Lab in a Box has closely aligned its mission with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in teaching STEM to students. STEM education and learning through the engineering design process is imperative to our future. Groovy Lab in a Box, like many educational organizations and STEM-driven companies, agree that typical education is behind in teaching and learning STEM.
Thinking Outside of the Box
Our lessons don’t stop with the box delivered to our STEMist’s door or classroom. All STEMists continue learning through “Beyond…in a Box,” a unique web portal containing videos and interactive activities to supplement what they are learning through the box projects.
Groovy Lab in a Box challenges children to create their own designs by using the engineering design process and to think outside the box. This is how we learn to be successful creative problem solvers, and we are excited to play a part in STEMists’ creativity and learning.