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YES Elementary

Elementary children are naturally curious about their world. YES Elementary uses a structured problem solving approach to channel children’s creativity and develop an engineering mindset. Students work together to solve open-ended, hands-on engineering design challenges. An illustrated story or comic introduces the problem. As they connect the problem to their lives and communities, draw on STEM knowledge, and engage in engineering and scientific practices, students develop STEM identities.

YES Elementary Units Under Development:

The YES Elementary team is currently developing the following units. These will be available online, free of charge, in 2022. Additional units will follow.

Please notify me when curricula are available »

  • Kindergarten: Engineering Sun Hats
    Students explore the cooling effects of shade as they engineer sun hats that block sunlight and meet users’ needs.
  • Grade 1: Engineering Nightlights
    Students investigate how materials interact with light as they engineer nightlights that communicate a message and provide different amounts of light based on user preferences.
  • Grade 2: Engineering Hand Pollinators
    After learning about pollinators and their importance, students engineer hand pollinators that move pollen from one flower to another.
  • Grade 3: Engineering Magnetic Dog Doors
    Students engineer dog door systems for an animal shelter that can open or stay closed using magnetic forces.
  • Grade 4: Engineering Safety Vests
    Students engineer vests that incorporate an electric communication system of their own design to increase pedestrian, cyclist, or skateboarder safety at a busy intersection.
  • Grade 5: Engineering Plastic Filters
    Students consider the effects of plastics on the marine ecosystem and community members as they design filters to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean.

Curricular resources for each unit include:

  • Teacher Guide with Eight Engineering Lessons
  • Optional Introductory Lessons
  • Context-Setting Story (K–2) or Comic (3–5)
  • Student Engineering Notebook
  • Vocabulary Cards
  • Prep Lessons
  • Extension Lessons
  • Assessments
  • Family Resources
  • Slides for Classroom Projections
yes elementary logo circular graphic showing steps in design process - ask, imagine, plan, create, text


Youth Engineering Solutions educates the next generation of problem solvers and engineers by developing equitable, research-based, and classroom-tested preK-8 engineering and STEM curricula; preparing and empowering educators to teach engineering; and conducting rigorous research that informs K-12 engineering education.

Youth Engineering Solutions (YES)

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802