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.
VIFInternational, supporting more than 5,000 teachers in 100-plus global schools, builds education programs and resources that empower teachers and students to be active contributors to their communities and their world. The professional development program through VIF Learning Center focuses on helping preservice and inservice teachers integrate global learning across grades and subject areas.
Middlebury Interactive Languages offers a new way to engage English language learners with an onlineELL curriculum that focuses on academic English and literacydevelopment. The supplemental curriculum uses individualized, task-based activities, as well as collaborative project-based learning, to help facilitate language acquisition and improve student outcomes. The instructional modules allow students in grades 4–10 to learn the fundamentals of academic English while completing projects that relate to English language arts, social studies, mathematics, and science.