We asked second grade teacher Alison Glace at St. James Academy to come up with this month’s edition of Storybook STEAM. What book did she pick? Rosie Revere Engineer written by Andrea Beatty and illustrated by David Roberts.

Do you know the book? It’s one of our household favs! Not only is it beautifully illustrated, but the message of perseverance is one that resonates with kids of all ages. “You can only truly fail if you quit.” As Alison tells her students, it’s a message that helps develop a growth mindset.

“Students at St. James Academy are introduced to the concept of growth mindset at a young age,” said Alison. “They are encouraged to persevere through difficult tasks with the mindset that their hard work and dedication will help them accomplish their goals.’

Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny

Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny

The book’s premise: Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal–to fly–Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true.

What better way to bring the book to life than to invite kids to become engineer themselves?

Design thinking encourages kids to identify challenges, gather information, generate potential solutions, refine ideas, and test solutions. It’s a hallmark of the St. James Academy curriculum — so it’s not a surprise that Alison created a design thinking challenge for kids related to the book.

“In this story, Rosie Revere learns through her failed attempts of engineering that she must persevere,” said Alison. “This design-thinking activity provides students with the perfect opportunity to practice using that growth mindset as well. The materials provided create endless possibilities for creativity and problem solving.”

Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny

Rosie Revere Design Thinking Challenge

Materials

Graph Paper
Pencil
Wheels
Assortment of Natural Wood Turnings (dowels, beads, spools, shaker pegs, wooden rectangles, etc.)
Glue
String
Scissors
Markers

Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny

Instructions

STEP ONE: Start by reading the story. Then ask your kids: what is an engineer?

Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny

STEP TWO: Continue the conversation by asking kids, what would you create? It may be helpful to have the collection of objects they’ll be using to build in front of them. 

Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progenyStorybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny

STEP THREE:  Provide them with a sheet of graph people to sketch their designs. 

Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny

STEP FOUR: Construct! Or let the kids. Resist the urge to step in and help. You’ll be amazed what is created! 

Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progenyStorybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny

STEP FIVE: Test out the invention. Does it do what your child intended it to do? If not, ask them what modifications they could make to their design to reach their intended solution.

Storybook STEAM: Rosie Revere Engineer - (cool) progeny

About Our Sponsor: St. James Academy

Situated on 89 acres just ten minutes from Hunt Valley, St. James Academy is an Episcopal parish day school for children in Kindergarten through Grade 8.  The International Baccalaureate MYP World School has a well-rounded academic program that prepares students for a global economy. SJA is known for their stellar use of technology in the classroom, athletics, language, and theatre arts programs. Another great advantage? The student to teacher ratio is 7:1. #SJAExperience MORE INFO

Photos by Laura Black