Are You Ready to "See Yourself in STEM"?

Engineering Design Challenges for PreK – Grade 8


Monday, September 28, 2020

The Museum of Science and EiE are proud to support this year’s MASS STEM Week theme, “See Yourself in STEM.” We take great pride in our mission, “To inspire a lifelong love of science in everyone” and we believe that together we will create a generation of problem solvers for a better world. To allow educators and students alike to see themselves in STEM, the Museum of Science and EiE have developed three engineering design challenges for educators and students across the state.  

The Design Challenges, though unique for each of the three designated grade bands, will be guided by a unifying focus on water, and how access to safe and clean water is a shared necessity for all humankind. This unifying focus was inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by the United Nations Foundation and adopted by 193 countries in 2015. The goals seek to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality, and protect the planet by the year 2030. Four goals of the set of seventeen inspired the Museum of Science and EiE, especially when considering design challenges for MA STEM Week 2020:  

  • SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation;  

  • SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities;  

  • SDG 14: Life Below Water; and  

  • SDG 15: Life on Land.  

Together, these goals seek to combat issues such as: inadequate sanitation systems that lead to water-borne diseases; limited access to water, one of life’s basic needs; damage to our marine ecosystems caused by oceans contaminated with plastic; and the impact climate change has on water security, leading to decreased yields of staple crops across the world. 

To learn more about the SDGs visit,

These unique Design Challenges will span the following three grade bands: (1) PK-G2; (2) G3-G5; and (3) G6-G8. They will contain considerations for age-appropriate scaffolds, allow for flexibility for implementation in virtual environment yet provide clear guidance for educators to adjust the complexity of each challenge based on the grade level of the students they service. 

Educators can learn more about the engineering design challenges below by registering for one of the free webinars as the Museum of Science and EiE team share how to:  

· Facilitate engineering design challenges created especially for MASS STEM Week 2020 with students in a virtual environment 
· Get free access to educator and student content developed by the Museum of Science and EiE teams 
· Connect with other Massachusetts educators participating in STEM Week 
· Showcase your students’ learning on social media 

Register through Eventbrite at  


PreK through grade 2 students will learn about the needs of an animal that is native to Massachusetts. What does it need to live? How do humans impact its habitat? What can be done to protect it? Can we use the Engineering Design Process to find a solution?  


Students in grades 3 through grade 5 will research various animals to identify and analyze what they need in order to survive within a local ecological network. As their investigation begins, students will be alerted about an increase of pollution in local waterways! How has this human impact effected our food web ecology? What can we do to help? Maybe we can use the Engineering Design Process!  


Students in grades 6-8 will identify and research the different water and wastewater systems in their own neighborhoods and investigate the human impact on their local environment. How does a wastewater system work? How do humans impact the quality of water? What can I do to help? 

The Design Challenges will align with the 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology Engineering (STE) Standards. Students will address real-world challenges through practical application of their science and mathematics knowledge and will be empowered to see themselves as innovative problem solvers virtually.

The design challenges will align to the three goals of the MA STEM Advisory Council:  

1) Building foundational STEM skills for all through applied learning: The Museum of Science has over a decade of experience impacting students’ understanding of engineering and the STEM disciplines through its programs, curricula, and exhibits.  

2) Developing guided pathways to college, careers, and lifelong learning: The Museum of Science and EiE believe strongly that content needs to be relevant to the lives of students for them to find it interesting and engaging. We make these relevant connections for students and show students an understanding of the work of STEM professionals through our curricula, programs, and exhibits.  

3) Ensuring alignment to economic & workforce development through employer partnerships: The Museum of Science ensures alignment to economic and workforce development through its strong corporate, higher education, and nonprofit partnerships with the STEM workforce throughout Massachusetts. Our programs, exhibits, and curricula reflect and expand upon the knowledge we gain through these partnerships. 

Learn more about our Engineering Design Challenges for MA STEM Week.

About the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council: 

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Advisory Council is established by M.G.L. Chapter 6, Section 218 in order to expand access to high-quality STEM education for students across the Commonwealth. Members of the Council include individuals from academia, business, government and non-profits who believe in the necessity of a STEM-literate and skilled citizenry ready to meet the needs of a 21st Century workforce. 

Learn more about the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council at  

The EIE Curriculum
Educator Resources