Design & Build Engineering Centers

Lower Age: 3
Upper Age: 6
Website: https://www.lakeshorelearning.com/products/stem/building-engineering/design-build-engineering-centers/p/PP750X
Price: $149.00
Year Added: 2021
Design & Build Engineering Centers Box Contents
Design & Build Engineering Centers, by Lakeshore Learning, is an engaging engineering set for use in classroom settings for ages 3-6. Item may be purchased from product website.

The set includes three bins: the House Building Center, the Vehicle Building Center, and the Bridge Building Center, that each have a different building goal in mind. In total, the set contains 670 building pieces and 24 photo cards that the children can use as references to build their own structures. 

Design & Build Engineering Centers develops children’s spatial reasoning skills, critical and creative  thinking skills, and introduces iterative design in a fun and digestible format. The premise of the House Building Center is that children are to be presented with one of the eight photo cards from the bin and the teacher will hold a discussion on the features of the building. The class, as a whole, will discuss why buildings have structural commonalities while also having entirely different features. Then, the teacher will prompt the class to discuss what the purpose of those features are, engaging the children’s critical thinking skills. After the class discussion, children are then encouraged to create structures that contain one or more qualities of the building on the photo card and their structure is then presented to the teacher for further discussion. The instruction manual includes questions that the teacher can ask the children about their structures such as “What kind of building are you making?”, “What will your building be used for?”, and “How big will your building be?”, encouraging children to build their structure purposefully and prompting them to consider the uses that their building might have as they are creating it. Teachers are also prompted to have students name the pieces that they used in their building, how many pieces they used, and ask questions about the geometry of the pieces they used; all strengthening their mathematical knowledge and spatial reasoning skills. The qualities and goals of the House Building Center are mirrored in the Vehicle Building Center and Bridge Building Center except that the photo cards are pictures of vehicles and bridges, respectively, instead of buildings.

Overall, Design & Build Engineering Centers builds upon the spatial reasoning skills, critical and creative thinking skills, and understanding of design processes in children in a fun and engaging classroom setting. 

Framework Categories

Engineering Thinking (EThink)
Spatial Reasoning
Processes of Design (POD)

Moore, T.J., Glancy, A.W., Tank, K.M., Kersten, J.A., Smith, K.A., & Stohlmann, M.S. (2014). A framework for quality K-12 engineering education: Research and development. Journal of Precollege Engineering Education Research, 4(1), 1-13.