K-2 Teacher Resources

The purpose of this page is to provide curriculum resources for teachers who teach engineering design to children in kindergarten, first or second grade.


PictureSTEM is developed by faculty and graduate students in the Engineering
Education program at Purdue University.  From their website:

The PictureSTEM Project includes instructional units for K-2 classrooms that use an engineering challenge and picture books as supports for learning science, mathematics, engineering, computational thinking, and reading. These transformative new models for STEM provide students with authentic, contextual activities that engage learners in specific content while integrating across traditional disciplinary boundaries.

There are three units so far.  Each unit can be modified for different grades. Click on the photo to go to the curriculum page.  This link is to the professional develop slides for the Designing Paper baskets.

Kindergarten: Designing Paper Baskets

First Grade: Designing Hamster Habitats

Second Grade: Designing Toy Box Organizers

Novel Engineering

Novel Engineering is developed by a group of faculty at Tufts University.  From their website:

The Novel Engineering (NE) Project, housed at the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO), includes research and professional development that seek to improve STEM education at the elementary level as well as broaden the range of students engaged in engineering education activities. NE works with teachers to use classroom literature as the context for engineering problems.

In Novel Engineering, the teacher chooses a book already in their curriculum.  As the students read the
book, they employ the engineering design process, by using steps described at Novel Engineering

  • Identify problems that the characters face in the book that can be solved with available materials
  • Students understand the needs of the client(s) by discussing the story
  • Students work in teams to plan and build, test, and improve a solution to meet the client’s needs.
  • Student teams periodically test, report and get feedback to improve their solution to meet the client’s needs.
  • After some number of iterations, students present their solutions to the class.

Student team developed solution.

The Novel Engineering has example books from different grades, along with a  list of possible clients and possible student solutions.

Teach Engineering

Teach Engineering is a well established engineering curriculum site has a searchable database of different types of engineering curriculum.  The curriculum is mapped to standards and includes associated assessment approaches.  Teachers can search by

  • grade level
  • type of curriuclum
  • standard
    • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • Common Core Standards (CCS)
    • State Standards
    • International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA)
    • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
    • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
    • National Science Education Standards (NSES)

Teachers can choose an activity, lesson, unit, or a sprinkle, which is a combination of most popular activities that are good for after school engineering sessions.

Try Engineering

TryEngineering is a curriculum site sponsored by IEEE.

At this time, TryEngineering only has one lesson for 4-7 year olds called the Boat and the Beetle.  This curriculum helps children increase their understanding of floating and sinking using an engineering design challenge.

In the future. there may be more modules added to the site.