Popular Children's Books Fuel STEM Education

Jan. 7, 2016
Novel Engineering uses children's books to teach engineering in elementary schools.

From Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach” to Judy Blume’s “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing,” popular children’s books are serving as tools to teach STEM concepts, most notably engineering, in elementary school classrooms around the country. An initiative led by Tufts University researchers and backed by the National Science Foundation, Novel Engineering taps the plots of assigned books for grade-appropriate engineering challenges, according to an article from Slate.

According to the article, the engineering part of STEM education is largely absent in the lower grades. Yet, says Morgan Hynes, a former Tufts engineering professor who helped lead Novel Engineering while at the university, the earlier students are exposed to the human, problem-solving piece of engineering, the more likely they’ll embrace the technical preparation required later.

So what about favored fantasy novels such as the Harry Potter series? Those are less likely to make their way onto the approved reading list because you just don't need engineering when you have a magic wand.

Read the entire article here.

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