Novel Engineeringprovides a unique way to get students excited about both reading and problem solving.Through a program developed at Tufts University, elementary and middle school students read a book, identify problems the characters face, and work in teams to design prototypes to solve the problems. Students test the prototypes and receive feedback from their teacher and peers before presenting their creations to their classmates.So far about 700 educators from around the country have been trained in the program, with teachers and librarians working together to implement it in some schools. The selected books present a variety of challenges for different ages. For instance, third graders reading Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret honed in on the problem that Hugo spends too much time winding the clock; he also has to figure out how to break into a dresser. The protagonist in Ezra Jack Keats’s Peter’s Chair doesn’t like having his stuff painted pink and has grown too big for his chair; first graders devise solutions. The website presents examples of books that some Novel Engineering classrooms have used. Clicking on the cover image displays the problems students identified and the solutions they designed and built.
As the year winds down and the holiday season is upon us, life slows down a bit and provides time to review the past year and begin contemplating our plans for 2018. We asked some of our guest authors what they wish for in 2018 with regards to education technology—what are their expectations? What do they hope for in 2018? We hope you enjoy their glimpse of the not-too-far future.
An innovative, project-based curriculum for middle school and high school, Rock Your World inspires students to ask bold questions about the challenges they see in their neighborhoods, communities, and the world around them, and then engages them in the development of advocacy campaigns designed to overcome those challenges.