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Schoolwide Focus on Engineering

aj_whittenberg_elementary_school_of_engineeringA.J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering, (Greenville, SC). A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering is the first elementary school in South Carolina to have a school-wide focus on engineering. Teachers address state standards and district curriculum through the unique lens of the engineering design process and engineering units. The engineering design process is a tool engineers use to systematically solve problems and is utilized to the greatest extent possible across all curriculum areas. From its inception, the school focused on developing community engineering partnerships. Engineers from global companies work with students on projects tied both to current company projects and to the state standards. This cohesive approach to learning brings engineering to life for learners to ignite a thirst for education and encourage future STEM-focused careers. These partners also participate in monthly school-wide engagement activities that include hands-on learning and demonstrations that support the engineering process. These engineering interactions serve as mentoring relationships between students and engineers, as students build rapport with visiting engineers. Through an ongoing partnership with Renewable Water Resources (ReWa), the local wastewater utility, the school participated in DIG Greenville, the region’s largest wastewater conveyance project. The school also partnered with the city to develop Unity Park adjacent to the school (focused on watershed engineering). In addition, the school works with a different business partner each year to engineer a float in the city’s Christmas parade. The school also hosts the “learn stage” at the iMagine Upstate STEM festival each spring. Finally, the school hosts two regional robotics events each year, welcoming more than 500 people from across the Upstate.