That’s the assessment of Arne Duncan, secretary of education, after seeing disappointing scores of 300,000 students who took the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, a national “report card” of the education system. Overall, eighth grade math scores increased, but only marginally; fourth graders did not improve at all. More than 60% of fourth graders and 66% of eighth graders are not proficient in math.
Is it any surprise then that a new report from the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council calls for the expansion of K-12 engineering education? Early exposure to engineering not only boosts students’ technological literacy, it also promotes problem solving, systems thinking and teamwork, the report says.
The Academy called for philantrohopic foundations or federal agencies with an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and school reform to identify ways to incorporate engineering education for different American school systems.
Here’s a suggestion: look at BLOCK Fest, an interactive exhibit for kids 8-months to 8-years old that combines math and science learning with social, emotional, language, motor and cognitive skill development. BLOCK Fest gives parents the opportunity to help their children become math and science thinkers.
Yep; even kids this young learn counting, estimating, equality, adding, planning, classifying and volume while playing with blocks. They explore mass, velocity, inclines and wheels. They learn about weight, size, cause/effect, force and causality.
The National Association of Women in Construction supported Parents as Teachers and BLOCK Fest recently. They know they’re going to need an educated workforce and are already working with schools to jump start the learning. What about the rest of you? Where are you going to be finding those critical thinkers, engineers and architects?