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Engineering For Kids Brings Math, Science, Engineering, And Technology To Elementary And Middle School Students In A Fun Way

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Engineering For Kids brings math, science, engineering, and technology to elementary and middle school students in a fun and challenging way through classes, camps, clubs, and parties. Below is our recent interview with Dori Roberts, CEO of Engineering For Kids:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Engineering For Kids? What types of programs do you offer to your students?

A: We are proud to inspire children to build on their natural curiosity by teaching engineering concepts through hands-on learning.

Engineering For Kids offers a proprietary curriculum that is extremely diverse with many opportunities to learn S.T.E.M. through content and technology based programs. Some examples of content-based programs include aerospace, mechanical, environmental, civil and chemical engineering. Technology-based programs include robotics, electronic game design, software and hardware engineering. While other programs in our space focus on LEGO kits, students enrolled in EFK’s aerospace engineering programs design and build rockets, parachutes and lunar landers. Students enrolled in mechanical engineering programs design and build rollercoasters, sails and catapults.

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Q: Why is it important to engage and encourage kids to pursue engineering? Why now?

A: If you were to peek through the door of most preschool classrooms or observe young children playing at home, you would likely find kids creating, tinkering, inventing and imagining. Their hands would be busy and their minds would be racing a hundred miles a minute with all different types of creative possibilities: A rollercoaster using foam pipe insulation! A rocket from a plastic water bottle! A bridge from paper and tape! These kids are engineers. Most just don’t know it. Yet.

I began my career as a high school technology and engineering teacher. During that time, I witnessed amazing ideas high school students developed and implemented around engineering-related challenges. I saw firsthand how students could begin to address real-world problems with their innovation. My own son, who was 6 at the time, became very interested in the students’ projects. Upon searching for an after-school STEM program for him, I realized such a thing did not exist. So, I began to dream of a program that would introduce STEM concepts to young children. In 2009, I founded Engineering for Kids, which brings science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to kids ages 4 through 14 in a fun and challenging way.

A recent study conducted by Intel Corporation revealed that 63 percent of teens have never considered a field in engineering. Additionally, 44 percent said they would consider engineering as a career if they knew more about it. Bingo. By exposing children to STEM-related classes beginning at age 4, we can help inspire them to consider engineering as a career. Many of our youngest students at Engineering for Kids are females. This is not statistically true in most fields of engineering. We need to catch girls while they are still young have not yet received gender stereotypes that may lead them away from an interest in engineering. I hope that through the classes, camps and parties we offer, both boys and girls will realize that the majority of engineers in the world — the ones who solve big-deal problems and invent all kinds of helpful gadgets and gizmos — do not wear blue and white striped hats and red bandanas around their necks. I hope they realize that they have already been in training as engineers as they have created, tinkered, invented and imagined.

Engineers use science, technology, engineering and math to change the world in both small and big ways. Though engineering education has been virtually absent from most elementary schools, plenty of classrooms around the United States teach science and math in a fun way. Many teachers are innovative and inspiring. What is different, then, about STEM education and its importance to the future success of our workforce?

• Integrated: For starters, it is an integrated approach to presenting and solving real-world problems. Students may work to design a bridge using a limited number of index cards to support a specific amount of weight. For a project like this, students need to consider mathematical concepts such as geometry and measurement in addition to scientific principles such as stress, tension and shear.
• Cooperative: STEM education mimics professions in the real world because of its collaborative nature. Students are encouraged to bounce ideas off one another and learn from each other’s mistakes and successes.
• Applauds failure as a step toward learning: One of the most important elements in a successful STEM program is what the students learn when their projects, plans and ideas fail. Many classrooms in the United States frown upon failure and are shamed when their less-than-superior standardized test scores are printed in the local paper. Many teachers do not feel like they have the time that is necessary for their students to learn from their mistakes. They must keep moving forward. STEM education applauds failure because it means that the learning is not finished yet. It means there is more problem solving to be done. It means that students get more time to create, tinker, invent and imagine. Something in which they excelled during their preschool years.

The total number of jobs in the United States is projected to grow by 10 percent between 2008 and 2018. The total number of STEM-related jobs is projected to grow by 17 percent during the same period of time, leaving 2.4 million job openings in STEM fields by 2018. If we can introduce children to STEM-related fields at a young age and encourage them that an integrated, cooperative approach to learning from our failures is vitally important to their education and the future success of our nation, we will have done our job. We will have inspired the next generation of engineers.

Q: What makes you classes and camps the best?

A: Our curriculum is both Cognia Certified and Accredited which establishes Engineering For Kids as the leader in STEM Enrichment Education.

Cognia is a globally-recognized nonprofit group that partners with and supports educators like us to create the very best STEM programs for students. Cognia is trusted from coast-to-coast to assess educational institutions and provide accreditations and certifications to those who have met their high standards. In fact, Cognia is the largest accreditation agency in this field in the world.

Q: What Does It Mean to Be Cognia Certified?

A: Cognia certification is not something that just any educational institution can earn. It is reserved only for those who are providing truly next-level programs that encourage and enable children to learn, engage, and grow. In other words, if your child has a budding interest in STEM, you know you can trust Engineering for Kids to help them flourish with our Cognia-certified STEM-centric programs and curriculums.

The Educational Research (SER) is the longest running STEM research organization, and one of their services include STEM-credentialing. This means that they work with, and thoroughly examine, a school’s curriculum, teachers, and programs.

They’ve worked with public, private, and charter schools since 2001, and becoming STEM-accredited by SER means the school’s curriculum was vetted for efficiency and quality. Some of the qualifications to be certified include:

Access to “21st century skills” such as media proficiency and cross-cultural awareness
Original classes and lessons revolving around STEM
Adequate technology incorporated into classes
Hands-on activities

These are just a few examples of the requirements that go into’s algorithm for certifications. If a school or program scores high enough, they can become accredited. This certification is a great accomplishment, and one that schools and academic programs strive for.

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Q: What Does Certification Mean?

A: By becoming certified, Engineering for Kids gains a level of credibility by being recognized by a reputable organization. Our programs passed their requirements, so those considering our programs can now rest easy knowing their child is receiving high-quality experiences.

The main aspect that makes our programs be of high quality is how our educators always add a unique spin that turns the trip into a lesson for a valuable skill. Additionally, now that our programs are certified, our programs were recognized as teaching valuable skills with appropriate access to technology and social interactions. That way, we can teach kids the important lessons they need to know without being just another school. After all, we’re not just another school—our lessons center around after-school activities or for those homeschooled. In other words, are lessons are more fun!

We’re always trying to integrate new, fun ways to teach kids the STEM curriculum—from our STEMPlay program that incorporates games and sports into computer technology skills to our birthday party activities like building catapults for mechanical engineering. Find out how our successful programs led to our certification by perusing our site, or experience the fun for yourself by scheduling an appointment to try our services.

Q: What are the company’s plans and goals for the future?

A: My dream is that Engineering For Kids reaches as many communities as possible, inspiring the next generation of young and inquiring minds. In 2020, we expect to add 20 franchises in target markets across the country and internationally as well.

Additionally, since the start of our Engineering For Kids Foundation, we have had the chance to see our mentors benefit from the rewarding experience of helping a child gain confidence and knowledge while having a good time. These mentors are juniors and seniors in high school, and already are shaping the future of the generation that will follow them. That is an empowering opportunity, and a joy to watch.

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