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Engineering, Coding and Art


If you love looking for creative solutions for problems and challenges of every size and kind, you’re going to love what’s happening today at the Science City Virtual Happening! The way you approach a problem or a challenge is often the best indicator of how successful you will be! Also, keep an eye out! There are links to Ms. Callie’s three favorite books!!




Engineering means taking our scientific understanding of the natural world and using it to invent, design, and build things that solve specific problems and achieve practical goals. This can include the development of roads, bridges, cars, planes, machines, tools, processes, and computers and designing and building  complex products, machines, systems, or structures. Engineers want to know how and why things work. They often have to try over and over again to solve their problems or reach their goals.


VIDEO: Learn about Engineering: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/nasa-kids-intro-engineering/

Learn about Engineers:



When we have STEAM problems to solve in the IDEA Lab at school, we use the engineering design process to think about how we want to proceed. The engineering design process provides steps that help to guide us as we solve problems and challenges. We can repeat the steps as many times as we need, and make improvements along the way. We can learn from what doesn’t work, and try again and again to find better and better solutions!


Sundance Storytime: Ms. Callie reads “The Most Magnificent Thing.”

Learn more about the engineering design process:

Engineering a TACO party using the Engineering Design Process:



What is Coding? Coding is the way we communicate with computers and other digital devices that don’t speak or understand human languages. Without a common language, we can’t give computers or robots instructions to perform specific tasks.  Instructions for robots and computers are communicated using “computer languages” or symbols and signs that digital devices and machines can understand. Coding is another name for “software programming” or “computer programming.”


What does it mean to code?

Amazing Robots:

Ms. Callie reads “Grace Hopper, Queen of Computer Code.”

Learning to code expands problem solving and critical thinking skills, making it a great opportunity for kids to build those skills while young.

Try some coding! The following links are from the code.org website. Here are handpicked suggestions for each age group: 




Art is so much more than just a letter “A” in STEAM. Art is an integral part of the learning process.  It has been said that art teaches us to be free thinkers, to think outside the box. With the arts, we can express our emotions and it teaches us to see the world in a different light.  When art is added to the curriculum, we are giving students skills that they can use in life. They learn skills like observation, self -expression, focus, discipline, collaboration, problem solving and risk taking. They learn to be curious.

Lots of people think that art is a product because often, artists produce works that represent weeks, months or years of focus, creativity, skill, and hard work.  But, really, art is a process. And the process is more important than the product.



The Color Wheel: Color is one of the elements of art. The science of color is fascinating. From the art perspective it is fun to talk about color and how it affects an art piece.



VIDEO: Older children

VIDEO: Younger children

Bill Nye has a great video about colors! Even a preview about colors and light!

Color occurs in science when light bends and the colors are revealed. White is technically all the colors combined. Black is the absence of light or color. 

In art we use color to enhance a painting or sculpture. The primary colors are red, green and blue. These three colors cannot be created by combining other colors. Secondary colors are orange, green and violet. These colors are created by combining 2 primary colors. By combining two colors we can create an infinite amount of colors. 



Colors can create mood and feelings. When we put two colors next to each other these colors create a “feeling”. Colors on the opposite side of the color wheel are complimentary colors. These colors next to each other will make the picture “pop”.  When we use colors that are next to each other on the wheel, we refer to those as analogous colors. These colors blend in with each other.



  • What is your favorite color? Why? What things in the natural world are that color?

  • If you could build a new house for your family, what would it be like? Where would it be? How would it be different from your current house? What would be the same?

  • If you could program a robot to be able to do three things, what would they be?

  • What do you wish your phone or tablet could do? If you made an app to do just that, what would you call it?




Budge the Book 

This activity requires some real thought. 

  • Stand up a picture book, slightly open. Create a ramp out of something (or things)  in your home.
  • From four feet away, let an object roll down your ramp toward the book. (No pushing, just gravity!)


Here’s how Ms. Callie did it!

Paper Spinners


  • You will need twine (28inch long)
  • Cardboard circles
  • Paper
  • Glue
  • Markers.


  1. Using the cardboard, cut out a circle. 

  2. Use the cardboard circle as a template and cut out two circles for both sides of the cardboard. 

  3. Decorate the paper circles and glue them onto the cardboard circle. 

  4. Carefully poke two holes in the center of the cardboard. Loop the string through the holes and knot the strings together. 

You have a spinner! With two hands twirl the cardboard and pull the string and watch it spin.



Gravity Painting

Using some liquid watercolors drip the paint at the top of the paper. Let the paint drip down. Watch what happens and ask questions. What happens if you turn the paper around?


CREATE a program for your ROBOT family to follow!

When we programmed our mouse robot in the IDEA lab at school, 

we used cards with these symbols: 


At home, you can use masking tape, index cards and sharpee, or little blocks or Legos to lay out arrows telling your robot Dad or robot Mom where to go. Outside, you can form arrows out of sticks, leaves or rocks.



Did you remember what each of the cards meant? Here they are: 


You can even make it like a treasure hunt! What treasure could you put at the end of your program for your ROBOT to find?Take pictures of your program, or a video of Mom or Dad (or other family member) pretending to be ROBOTS following your program to get to the treasure!



Create a Matisse Masterpiece.

Henri Matisse was an important artist, who’s contribution to the art world is worth exploring. After viewing the small video, have the children cutout different colors of paper and create their own cutout masterpiece. Since this is also a science themed project—refer to the colors in the cutout. Does the picture change when colors are changed? Use some complimentary colors or hot and cold colors. How about analogous colors or neutral colors? Do they change the feel of the picture?

Famous Artist Puzzle

  • You’ll need a printer for this one. Download several pictures of Matisse or other famous artists. Make sure you have some background information that is age appropriate to match the image.  

  • Cut the picture into rectangles and mix it up. 

  • Have your child put the puzzle back together while you have a discussion on the artist of the puzzle. (What do you think of the piece of art? Let your child know that it’s ok not to like the piece. Encourage your child to give descriptive thoughts on the piece.  What is the subject about? What kind of colors did the artist use? Hot colors? Cool colors? Can you duplicate the artwork? Or what would your picture of this subject look like.)


Draw What You See:

With paper and pencil in hand, have the children draw what they see. They may use the shape method to draw or draw the contour of the object. Find a subject in nature. Ask them to describe the object. How does it look in different light? What color is it? Let the drawing be free and messy. Another suggestion is to have them draw an object without lifting their pencil.

Family Draw:

Draw quick sketches of a family member in a pose. Where does the arm start? How is the neck connected to the shoulders? Where are the ears? On top of the head? How does the eye placement change if you tilt your head?

Draw and color a beautiful Mandala

A mandala, which is Sanskrit for “circle” or “discoid object,” is a geometric design that holds a great deal of symbolism in Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Mandalas are believed to represent different aspects of the universe and are used as instruments of meditation and symbols of prayer most notably in China, Japan, and Tibet. In their most basic form, mandalas are circles contained within a square and arranged into sections that are all organized around a single, central point.  They are symmetrical, beautiful and tend to be complicated.

Very clear step by step directions here: https://www.art-is-fun.com/how-to-draw-a-mandala

Virtual Field Trip:

Visit to New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)


  • Code Karts: Fun Coding App for PreK-2nd grade
  • Busy Water and Busy Shapes: Creative problem solving Apps PreK-1st grade
  • Hopscotch App: Coding with introductory video series best for grades K -6





Matisse's Garden Book

Rosie Revere, Engineer