EiE Video Snippets

Illuminating short videos that take you inside the elementary engineering classroom

EiE Video Snippets succinctly illustrate relevant processes in the teaching and learning of engineering through very short vignettes of hands-on classroom engineering.  Here at EiE, we use Video Snippets in our presentations at conferences and meetings.



Engineering Habits of Mind

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices*

EiE Engineering Design Process

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​*"Next Generation Science Standards" is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards was involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.


What do you need to know about plants and their roots to design a package that will protect them during shipping?

Children are born engineers, and it doesn’t take much to spark their natural curiosity.

When you design a parachute, consider the size of the space it will be packed into and how slowly it must fall after it opens.

To see if your parachute is “mission ready,” calculate a “parachute packing score” based on canopy size and suspension line length.

On a planet with an atmosphere thinner than Earth’s, a parachute will fall quickly. How do you design a parachute that falls slowly?

The process of designing and testing parachutes calls on a variety of math skills.

During a “test drop,” parachutes that have different designs drop at very different rates.

An open-ended engineering design challenge has more than one successful solution.

What makes a well-designed parachute? The criteria include “must fall slowly” and “must pack into a small space.”

Some parachutes fall more slowly than others—why? Figuring out the answer to this question can help you improve your design.

When you use your test results to improve your parachute design, you may see a big improvement in parachute performance.

Sometimes students who are testing materials that have different properties may not interpret the test results as expected.

Engineering design challenges are a great way for students to apply their math knowledge to real-world problems.

Team members bring lots of different ideas to the table, but in the end, everyone has to agree on a design.

Rounding decimals to the nearest tenth is one math skill that students can develop as they design parachutes.

A device that picks up pollen and transfers it to another flower must have certain properties—what are they?

What do you know about pollen? What are some properties of pollen? What does it do?

What materials will work best to make a hand pollinator that meets the design criteria?

There are many ways to design a device for pollinating flowers by hand; can you think of four designs?

It’s rewarding to see how students find so many different solutions to an open-ended engineering design challenge.

You’re going to make a device for pollinating flowers by hand. What will it look like? What materials can you use?

When team members share ideas, the group is more likely to come up with a good design for a hand pollinator.

Even the youngest children know the value of engineering.

If your model hand-pollination device doesn’t work well at first, that’s OK. You can see what went wrong and improve the design.

You need to know a lot about magnets to design a model magnetic-levitation transportation system (also known as a maglev train).

It’s important to consider the properties of magnets when you’re building a model maglev train.

Engineers don’t work alone! They’re successful because they work in teams and share ideas.

To choose a site for a bridge, apply what you know about rivers, streambanks, the qualities of soil . . . and people!

You can’t bring a river into class, build a bridge over it, and cross it to test how strong it is. So what CAN you use for models?

When you’re trying to make good play dough, you need to consider the properties of flour and water.

You’re going to make your own play dough. What does “good-quality” play dough feel like?

When everyone shares their ideas with the team, you may be able to combine those ideas and find an even better solution.

Each group of students had a different solution to the design challenge of engineering a package that protects a plant.

If you’re going to design a lighting system for a model Egyptian tomb, what do you need to know before you start?

The results of student investigations often vary, but when they do, great opportunities for discussion arise.

Whole-class discussions help students draw conclusions from the data that everyone collected.

How will you know if it’s strong? Let’s use a model to see if our engineering solution will work.

Using math as a way to evaluate solutions and guide decision making is a hallmark of engineering.

Two groups used the same material, but the results were very different. What other factors might be involved?

The process of troubleshooting calls on students’ powers of observation and explanation.

Predicting, testing, observing, and comparing: elementary engineering is closely connected to inquiry-based science.

Oh, no! The results of the strength tests your students did are wrong!

Because engineering solutions rarely work the first time, students learn perseverance.

Young engineers love hearing stories about other children trying to solve problems.

Students feel confident when they know they can use the Engineering Design Process to help them solve problems.

Student engineers think creatively, communicate clearly, and collaborate with peers.

Student engineers are not afraid of failure. They keep improving their designs until they are satisfied with the results.

Before you start to design a vehicle that hovers above a magnetic track, what kinds of questions will you ask yourself?

Evaluating your own design and thinking about ways to improve it are skills that all engineers need.

Teachable moments occur when students’ pre-conceived ideas about the world conflict with what happens when they run tests.

Agricultural engineers use model flowers to test their designs so that real plants are not injured.

When young children engage in classroom engineering, they come to self-identify as engineers and feel confident in their engineering skills.

Framing engineering as a “helping” profession can make it more appealing to children as a possible career.

Teachers play an important role in helping students to see themselves as engineers.

Can celebrating failure help students learn from their classroom struggles?

Struggling with new ideas encourages students to explain their reasoning.

An accident in the data collection process provides a chance for learning.

Engineers might prefer one step of the EDP over others, but all are important.

These young engineers find it refreshing to take on a different challenge.

One group learns that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

To prepare for an engineering challenge, students explore and describe material properties.

An energetic teaching strategy gets groups to justify their material choices.

The class discusses variations in temperature data.

A member of a student group explains how to remember the function of a thermal insulator.

Young students discover their love of science as they work on the Create step of the EDP.

Engineering in the classroom can help students cope with failure as a learning opportunity.

Students take a miniature break from the storybook to discuss what a model is.

What happens when your design is too costly? These young engineers have to make tradeoffs between criteria and constraints.

Arguing from evidence is an important engineering skill. Watch this team consider the results of their classroom tests when making a decision.