2021 Maurice Hillman Essay Contest - April 2021

Engineer It, Learn It

by: Cathy P. Lachapelle, Kristin Sargianis, and Christine M. Cunningham
edited by: Linda Froschauer

This chapter shows how science and engineering practices can be integrated into the elementary classroom by providing snapshots of activities from a STEM curriculum unit. The unit, focused on aerospace engineering, challenges students to design parachutes for a spacecraft that will land on a planet with an atmosphere thinner than Earth’s. The open-ended nature of engineering design challenges encourages students to tap into their creativity and think outside of the box. Working with their peers, students communicate their design ideas and collaborate with teammates to arrive at a final design. Finally, at its core, engineering is a problem-solving process. As students gain experience with engineering and science practices, they also become more effective—and creative—problem solvers. A materials list, teacher background information, and outcomes are provided. This book selection includes the Table of Contents, Introduction, References, Internet Resource, and Index.


Elementary School

Grade Levels



Engineering Physical Science Science and Engineering Practices STEM


Type Book ChapterPub Date 5/17/2016Pages 27Stock # PB413X_22

NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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