2018-08-08 / Front Page

INSPIRE gift guide promotes gifts teaching engineering

It’s less than six months until Christmas and Purdue’s INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering is trying to make shopping a little easier for parents.

For the fifth consecutive year, INSPIRE will issue its Engineering Gift Guide prior to the holiday shopping season.

The guide provides reviews and information about gifts that promote engineering thinking and design, including information about the specific engineering-related skills each gift promotes.

This year’s guide will be available in late October. For holiday or other shopping trips before then, the 2017 Engineering Gift Guide is available at https://engineering.purdue.edu/INSPIRE/EngineeringGiftGuide.

Elizabeth Gajdzik, assistant director of INPSIRE, said what makes their guide stand out is their focus on gifts that engage children in engineering learning.

Monica Cardella, director of INSPIRE, said the gift guide also helps educators identify games, toys and books that can promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning in classrooms, afterschool programs and museum settings.

“Helping children learn science, engineering and mathematics in both school and out-of-school settings is critical for ensuring that children have critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Early positive experiences with science, engineering and mathematics also help children develop lasting interests in STEM and lasting confidence in their own STEM abilities,” she said.

Gajdzik said, “While the focus of INSPIRE is conducting research on pre-college engineering education, we are passionate about developing resources – like the Engineering Gift Guide—that build on our research findings and benefit the broader public.”

Last year’s guide from Purdue University was the biggest so far, filled with almost 130 toys, games, books and applications that inspire STEM and engineering-related thinking and design. Finding the gift guide’s toys isn’t difficult for parents. A seal is issued by Purdue University and INSPIRE to games, toys and books to let consumers know that a gift promotes engineering thinking and design and was selected to be in the guide. Companies either include it on the gift itself or on their website.

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