MCS students get Engineered byDesign education

By Brian Sweeney
Seventh- and eighth-grade students at Margaretville Central School are nearing completion of the district’s initial year of participation in the innovative Engineering byDesign program.

Engineering byDesign (EbD) utilizes the combination of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to provide a well-rounded learning experience. The program was introduced four years ago and is currently being used in more than 350 school districts.

“The EbD network links schools and teachers who believe that the ingenuity of children is untapped, unrealized potential that, properly motivated, will lead to the next generation of technologists, innovators, designers and engineers,” is the description used in the program’s promotional literature. Through a series of exercises, “students learn concepts and principles in an authentic, problem-based environment.”

Superintendent Tony Albanese said the Margaretville Central School (MCS) District wanted to get involved with EbD because of the novel learning approach.
“We have limitations by being in a rural area, but we have technology and we’re trying to present more opportunities for our students,” he explained.

Different method
EbD presents a structured curriculum, but also affords flexibility to the instructor to help keep students engaged in the learning process. At MCS, the class is taught by business teacher Christina Stickle and family and consumer science instructor Karley Morgans.
Superintendent Albanese said that the blending of subject matter (such as linking science and math) is increasingly the norm in education and the EbD program is a prime example of this shift in teaching philosophy.

“The hope is that creates some interest. It’s fun, it’s project-based and this type of program can inspire careers,” the superintendent explained.

He pointed out that the local BOCES district has started offering a pre-engineering program and it’s conceivable that the EbD can spark an interest that leads to further study in this field.
Even if this class doesn’t translate directly to an engineering-related career, the type of learning being utilized will be beneficial to students’ overall educational experience, the superintendent pointed out.

Superintendent Albanese said the EbD may be expanded into the high school curriculum as an elective program.

“I think you’re going to be seeing this more and more. It’s exciting because students have a better understanding of what they’re learning. They understand why they are learning things,” he noted.