Family Engineering

A few days ago, our daughter-in-law shared a couple of videos. It had our grand daughter (barely 2 years old) showing a screw driver to our son and when asked what it was, replied “scoo diver”.  And she knew where to use it, as well. I watched those videos more than a dozen times. Every time I see something like this, I am amazed at how quickly children pick up stuff.  Right from age one she had fascination for wires, plugs.

I read once that Seymour Papert learned Math, playing with gears  in his younger days. The things kids play with influence their thoughts and perhaps their interests, later in life.

This essay was published as the foreword to Seymour Papert’s book Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (Basic Books, 1980).

Before I was two years old I had developed an intense involvement with automobiles. The names of car parts made up a very substantial portion of my vocabulary: I was particularly proud of knowing about the parts of the transmission system, the gearbox, and most especially the differential. It was, of course, many years later before I understood how gears work; but once I did, playing with gears became a favorite pastime. I loved rotating circular objects against one another in gearlike motions and, naturally, my first “erector set” project was a crude gear system.

How can we help children learn things by encouraging them to play with things  like automobiles, gears and tools?

There seems to be an answer  – Family Engineering.

Family Engineering invites educators, engineers, university science and engineering students, community youth leaders, and parents to inspire the next generation of critical thinkers and problem solvers with exciting, hands-on activities and events for elementary-aged children and adults.

Please take a few minutes to look at an Opener Activity and read up on  how to get involved with Family Engineering.

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