In the video, we watched a child do engineering. First she figured out that she needed long thin planks of wood to be the roof. So she balanced the planks against the top of the cabinet. But then, there were some problems with her design. The planks started to slide. She used problem solving to discover that moving the bottom of the planks closer helped make the planks more stable. Then, she had to move the bear to make more room for the planks. In this short clip we saw a child design, build, and refine a structure. As she plays, she is practicing fundamental engineering skills.
Parents and teachers can help build children’s engineering skills. One way is to help children notice and pay attention to spatial relationships. For example, asking a child about how blocks and puzzle pieces fit together. Adults can also help children stay engaged when they build larger structures. Children may need some help working out a particularly tricky engineering challenge. Consider providing children with objects of different sizes and shapes for building and creating. Building with different sizes and materials can encourage creativity and problem solving.