Q: Why are hands-on teaching methods such as robotics and 3-D printing important to teaching STEM principles?
A: “Engineers are designers and not constructors. So when you design something, the whole point is to have something in your head put on paper to communicate with somebody else,” says Todd Morrison, middle and upper school engineering teacher at Lake Ridge Academy. “By actually designing stuff in your classroom and then going into a lab to build it, you start to encounter all the problems that are in your design that you didn’t think of because you had never done this before. Being able to understand why you would use certain materials in certain places really gives you a better understanding of what you’re doing. You learn from that process and it makes you a better engineer, of course, but in all fields.”