Materials, Tools, and Storage

By Popp, Debbie | Technology and Children, December 2009 | Go to article overview

Materials, Tools, and Storage


Popp, Debbie, Technology and Children


You've done your research, written or found design briefs, and now you are ready to introduce Children's Engineering activities to your students. But ... where do you get the materials and how do you store them? This is a frequent question that I am asked when teaching about Children's Engineering and, fortunately, a relatively simple one to answer.

The beauty of implementing Children's Engineering in the classroom is that most of the materials used are recyclables. In these days of budget cuts, this is a definite plus! At the beginning of each year, I send out a list to parents asking for small boxes, paper tubes, scraps of material, cups, and other needed items that they may have around the house. The materials start coming in pretty quickly! Parents are usually very willing to help, and most are excited that their children are engaged in creative and thought-provoking activities in the classroom.

Storage in most classrooms is a concern, and I have experienced a lot of success using the plastic tubs with lids available in most discount stores. I have a couple of the very large tubs for storing the boxes and cardboard, and use smaller containers for sorting out paper tubes, cups, and other small items. The tubs are set out in the back of the room, and each day the children just drop in what they brought. Cardboard boxes can be stored as they are, folded flat, or you can cut them apart. The tubs can be stacked when not in use, as their contents are very lightweight. I stack four to five tubs in a back corner of the room with no problem. When we work on our projects, the tubs are unstacked and lined across the back of the classroom.

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[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

As Children's Engineering is growing in popularity, some schools have posted engineering "wish lists" with their standard school supply requests.

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