Preschoolers learning to think like engineers

Clint ISD preschool students...

EL PASO, Texas - Preschoolers at Clint Independent School District are learning to think like engineers and teachers are putting their skills to the test.

The district's preschool program is based around students learning science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, or STEAM.

CISD is a District of Innovation.

For the second year, students are learning basic STEAM concepts with building blocks and different stations set up in classrooms so they can learn at their own pace.

"We want to set up those opportunities for them to explpore and engage in STEAM so they can get the fundamentals," said Sylvia Gomez, Early Childhood coordinator at CISD.

Teachers help students understand concepts by relating them to things they are familiar with like stories and fairytales. For example, they read 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears' then do a hands-on project.

"Together they make a plan so they can construct different chairs that can withstand the weight of different types of bears. It really starts at that simplistic level," Gomez said.

CISD preschoolers are learning to code and explore robotics. Last year, the districts hosted its first robotics competition for the little ones. Gomez said it was the first one in the region.

"There were some skeptics about the competition," Gomez said.

Students had to meet some requirements to participate in the competition.

"Kids have to work together, they make a plan and have to know their letters, shapes and colors because the task revolved around coding the robot," Gomez said.

Gomez said the students proved that they could complete their tasks and work together.

"This year what we're going to do is make the tasks more complex because we know that our students are capable. We're setting the bar higher," Gomez said.

There are more than 600 preschoolers at the six elementary schools through out CISD.

CISD offers universal preschool and is an open district. Students do not have to live in CISD boundaries to attend one of its campuses.

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