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The statewide Building Engineers initiative represents a partnership between the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and SERVE's Region 6 Comprehensive Center. The goal of the project is to spread high-quality STEM programs throughout NC elementary schools, focused on utilizing the engineering design process in daily instruction.
Access to high-quality STEM instruction is something students of ALL backgrounds deserve in North Carolina. Our modern graduates must be able to work in groups to flexibly solve problems - and if we want them to graduate with these skills we must start in kindergarten!
The approach this initiative takes is both deep and wide. The deep part includes working directly with LEAs in cohorts to assist them in developing 2-year plans for spreading this work within the classrooms in their district (Learn more here). The "wide" part is the establishment of a statewide collaborative of elementary educators interested in these ideas and wiling to champion them in their classrooms. Both pieces culminate in a yearly spring conference held in Moore County, NC: Building Engineers in K-5 Classrooms. The full scope of the initiative is found below.
A K-5 Collaborative with 6-12+ outcomes!
Engineering and Design in Moore County Schools: A Brief History
In the fall of 2014, a group of Digital Integration Facilitators (DIFs) in Moore County Schools delivered Lego EV3 and NXT robotics that were scattered across the district to 5 elementary schools to start after-school robotics clubs. In the spring of 2015, MCS held their first Elementary Robotics Showcase. This initial spark lit a fire across all grade levels from kindergarten all the way to advanced robotics within high schools.
The momentum generated from this movement led the MCS digital learning team to expand the positive impact beyond after-school clubs and directly into classrooms. This expansion was fueled by the creation of the K-5 Engineering Thread in the summer of 2016.
The engineering thread is a set of 12 engineering mini projects, woven directly into Moore County School's K-5 math and science pacing guides. These projects incorporate both robotics and traditional materials (such as popsicle sticks, aluminum foil, and cardboard). The response to this curricular thread was immediate, enthusiastic, and overwhelming: the scramble was on to meet teacher demands for more!
The success of this work led to Moore County Schools being named 1 of 4 Innovation Academies by NCDPI. This allowed MCS to host 800+ educators from across the state through site visits and the development of the annual conference / robotics showcase- Building Engineers in K-5 Classrooms. Now, through a partnership between NCDPI and the SERVE Center, this work can grow and expand to reach even more students!
This document is in the public domain. The document is prepared by the Region 6 Comprehensive Center under Award #S283B190055 for the Office of Program and Grantee Support Services (PGSS) within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) of the U.S. Department of Education and is administered by the SERVE Center at UNC Greensboro. The content of this document does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the PGSS or OESE or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. © 2021 SERVE Center at UNC Greensboro.