Engineering a Better Classroom

Posted by BASIS.ed on January 9, 2020 at 10:22 AM

The shoulders of giants

Engineering is a staple of the BASIS Charter School Curriculum. Most of our grade 1–4 students take an Engineering course, and all of our students are exposed to it as a concept. Our Engineering teachers have a strong grasp of the concepts they teach, through professional and practical experience, as well as extensive study in their field. They share a common love of learning, and a drive to share it with students.

At BASIS San Antonio Primary – Medical Center Campus, Trish Van Lue teaches Engineering to grades 1–4 students. She loves the autonomy she’s given to teach— including how and what she teaches—within the parameters of the BASIS Charter School Curriculum. “I also love how all the teachers work together to ensure all of our students are successful,” Trish continues. That success is reached through collaboration, for both students and teachers alike.

And BASIS Charter School students can’t help but catch their teachers’ enthusiasm for learning. Her students are engaged in everything they do in the classroom. “I am continually surprised how excited they get about learning about the laws of motion or measuring or collecting data,” she remarks.High school engineering

Building blocks of learning

Engineering is a process of continuous improvement, allowing problem-solving skills to evolve organically through trial and error. With each failure comes another opportunity to learn and improve. “Best of all, I get to teach students that it’s okay to fail, but it’s not okay to give up,” explains Trish, “and when they finally succeed, their faces light up with pride.”

Exploring these concepts as early as possible strengthens more than math and science skills. As students form conclusions about their world, they learn to think critically and creatively. They begin to trust their own judgment and take risks, which allows them to achieve more. Amanda Pruett teaches Engineering & Technology at BASIS Baton Rouge. “I am helping my students learn to solve problems with their own ideas,” shares Amanda. “I am building their self-confidence in being able to accomplish tasks with open-ended instructions.”

Engineering is one of the pillars of BASIS Charter Schools’ rich, robust curriculum designed to spark curiosity. “I love the diverse areas of learning that the BASIS Charter School Curriculum offers,” says Amanda. “It gives all children the opportunity to excel.” The breadth and balance of the curriculum means more students can connect and succeed in school.

As many schools cut special programs, BASIS Charter Schools reach farther, tapping into many areas of interest through creation and innovation. Amanda enjoys watching her students explore their ideas. “My students love to build things and find ways to repurpose household ‘trash’ into something that solves a problem, completes a task, or is just cool looking!”

Learning firsthand

Engineering with primary studentsLearning is a natural product of our direct interaction with the world around us. As we apply learned principles to our environment, we make connections and build knowledge. The BASIS Charter School Curriculum is centered on making connections. Trish loves guiding students in applying new concepts in order to think critically and solve real problems. “I am able to take what students have learned in Science and Math, and teach them how these concepts relate in the real world,” explains Trish. In her classroom, they study real-world problems and explore solutions, such as how to filter water for drinking, how to protect homes from flooding, and how to help people with disabilities live a better quality of life.”

Trish sets her students up for success with teaching strategies that let them explore concepts, hypothesize, experiment, and finally understand. “Seeing the lightbulb come on when they see how [physics concepts] relate to our projects lets me know that when they get into higher level science classes, they will have a strong foundation to build upon.”

Want to engineer a better classroom? Teach Engineering or another subject at BASIS Charter Schools! Visit the BASIS.ed career board and apply today.

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Topics: For Everyone