Making and Tinkering With STEM: Solving Design Challenges With Young Children
About the Book
Can you build a sturdy house that is safe from the big, bad wolf?
Imagine your dream car. What special features does it have? What can you use to create it?
Teaching and learning STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is more accessible than ever before! Children will be inspired, delighted, and challenged as they use everyday materials and STEM concepts to design and build solutions to problems faced by characters in their favorite books. This practical, hands-on resource includes
- 25 engineering design challenges appropriate for children ages 3–8
- Suggestions for creating a makerspace environment where children can tinker with materials, use tools to make creations, and improve on their ideas
- A list of 100 picture books that encourage STEM-rich exploration and learning
- Questions and ideas for expanding children’s understanding of STEM concepts
- A planning template so you can create your own design challenges
Use engaging children’s books together with the guidance and ideas in this book to extend children’s problem-solving skills and creative thinking.
Table of Contents
This section includes links to full chapters from inside the book (PDF).
What You Need to Know About Tinkering, Making, and Engineering
- Design Challenges: Where Story Characters' Problems Meet the Real World
- Is it Tinkering, Making, or Engineering?
- Developing Skills for Design Challenges
- Tinkering and Making Experiences
- Engineering Experiences
The Learning Environment
- Gathering Materials
- Organizing and Displaying Materials
Introducing Design Challenges
- Using High-Tech Materials and Equipment
- Involving Families
- Observing and Assessing Children's Learning
- Baby Bear's Chair
- Beautiful Buildings
- Box It!
- Bug City
- Build a Bridge
- Crazy Catapults
- Float Your Boat
- Gizmos Galore
- Help! It's Stuck!
- A House for the Three Little Pigs
- If the Shoe Fits
- Juice It!
- Move Like an Animal
- Paper Airplanes
- Pet Carrier
- Repurpose It!
- Roller Coaster
- Squirrel-Proof Birdfeeder
- Strike Up the Band
- A Sturdy Nest
- Tower Power
- Trouble With Bubbles
- What a Car!
- Wind Wonders
- Yarn Magic
- Design Challenge Planning Template
- Books and Materials for Design Challenges
- Book List
- About the Author
Publish Date: 2016
Making and Tinkering with STEM - Watch a recorded webinar about making, tinkering, and engineering presented by the author of this book, Cate Heroman!
More Than a Foundation: Young Children Are Capable STEM Learners - A recent two-year research analysis found that young children are capable of engaging in, at developmentally appropriate levels, the scientific practices that high school students carry out. This article explores what educators can do to support STEM learning in an early childhood setting. (Young Children, November 2017)
Scribbling Machines - A kindergarten teacher challenged her students, and their high school art student project partners, to build a scribbling machine. The outlined activity is a wonderful example of how children construct their own understanding of ideas and phenomena as they tinker and build things with their hands.
Hello Book Club: NAEYC Members Discuss Making and Tinkering with STEM by Cate Heroman - For the April 2018 online book club, NAEYC members were invited to read and discuss one of NAEYC’s bestselling publications, Making and Tinkering with STEM: Solving Design Challenges with Young Children by Cate Heroman. Each week during the month, Cate posted discussion questions that dived into the book’s biggest themes. What resulted was Hello’s second most popular thread! Here are a few excerpts from the lively discussion.
Looking for more resources on STEM? Visit our topic page to browse our collection of articles on the topic.
Enrich Your Curriculum: Purchase the Module!
The HOT: Tinkering online module provides teachers with facilitation strategies to promote children's higher order thinking skills and develop a deeper understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in the preschool classroom. This 1-hour module is self-paced and can be paused and resumed at any time. Come to an understanding of the difference between making, tinkering and engineering while learning a customizable format to develop your own design challenges to do with preschool children.
Cate Heroman is an author, early childhood consultant, and volunteer education chair at Knock Knock Children’s Museum, a museum designed for children birth to age 8.
For teachers aspiring to integrate the richness of tinkering, making, and engineering into their classrooms, this book is a must read. With practical step-by-step guidance that encourages you to use literature as a jumping-off point, you will be inspired to redesign your classroom with enthusiasm and confidence as you envision the possibilities for deep learning.
—Peggy Otey, Head of School, Browne Academy
The idea of taking objects apart to view their inner workings is the basis of discovery! Students, with their already curious natures, will delve into an atmosphere that challenges them and promotes problem solving.
—Kerry Bonaiuto, First Grade Teacher, Flanders Elementary School
Illuminating and descriptive, Making and Tinkering With STEM has given me a framework for thinking about our own practice in The DISCOVERoom™, one that will allow us to deliberately grow into more creative experiences with our students.
—Marni Anbar, Co-coordinator, The DISCOVERoom™ Science and Engineering Playroom in the Kyrene School District