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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Engineering is Elementary | Day FIVE

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On May 10th

written by Wild Wizard Glen Beitmen


    Today, in the “Engineering is Elementary” program at Boston’s Museum of Science, we finished our bioengineering unit and began exploring Light and Reflection. 

Finishing up our fake knee brace from the Bioengineering Project

      While listening to our new challenge I realized how important this type of teaching is for our students.  Every challenge that was presented kept us engaged.  Every topic had relevanceWe would ask questions, imagine solutions, test materials, and build prototypes.  We all had become engineers! 


     As I watched my team use mirrors to redirect light for our reflection challenge I could imagine students having fun and actively learning.  I have always followed this model when teaching science and I love what the Museum of Science in Boston is doing for Engineering.  I can’t wait to see the reaction our teachers get when they bring these programs into their classroom. 

Our team using mirrors to reflect light through a dark box

      Then, as if things couldn’t get better, MIT’s Ed Moriarty invited us to see a movie on MIT’s 150th anniversary.  Afterwards, Ed gave Jonathan and me a personal tour of MIT.  It was unbelievable! 

MIT Celebrates is 150th Anniversary and WE are invited to a movie about it!

       We were able to see first-hand how students will thrive when you allow them to learn to use materials to create new technologies.  We spoke to students that are literally changing the world.  These students were creating everything from solar cars and electric motorcycles to magnetic light walls and large soccer playing robots.   

This electric motorcycle was created by an MIT student and will be racing in Europe!

     These students have passion.  The only difference between our Southwest Florida elementary school students using pipe cleaners and 9 volt batteries and these MIT students using 12 feet aluminum pipe and photovoltaic cells is simply the materials.  The passion is the same.  Given the opportunity to learn and the understanding of what is available to them, our students will change the world as well.

Two MIT students made this Magnetic Light Wall in their spare time.

     Tomorrow, we will get the books, the teacher kits and the online resources that we will need to implement these programs in Southwest Florida.  I have come to love Boston, but I already can not wait to get home and get these new programs started!


Wild Wizards Glen Beitmen & Jonathan Wadas are in Boston this week gathering information to share with our Southwest Florida elementary school teachers about the “Engineering Is Elementary” program developed by the Museum of Science in Boston.

To learn more about the Education Programs at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, go to our website at http://www.edisonfordwinterestates.org/education/.

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