Mrs. Fong Teaches Students Engineering Concepts through Questioning and Tinkering

“I want them to question how everything we use daily works and to think of why it works,” explained Fong.

“I wanted to give students of any age the opportunity to explore tinkering,” stated Mrs. Fong who is teaching an engineering class, for the PYLUSD 2019 Summer Enrichment Program at Van Buren Elementary. “They get to use engineering concepts to build small contraptions and come to understand how mechanical objects work together,” she added.

Mrs. Fong, who teaches Bryant Ranch Elementary in the traditional school year, has created a course for students of any age. 

Students in the class are experiencing a number of engineering projects. “In some of the classes we are building Cardboard Automata sculptures,” explained Mrs. Fong. “These use simple cam drives to animate an art sculpture. The students have to create mechanisms to make the artwork move.”

Karina Bier, a sixth grade student in Yorba Linda Middle School stated, “I love how Mrs. Fong teaches us something, and then lets us basically free! I come up with great ideas because of this!” Also, she added, “I have learned that there is always another way! It is very helpful.”

Fong’s  goals are for the students to enjoy themselves and begin to look at how machines work. “I want them to question how everything we use daily works and to think of why it works,” she explained. 

Another student, Arianna Mozaka, a fifth grade student at Woodsboro Elementary School stated, “The thing I enjoy most about this class is that everyday we do a new fun engineering project.”

She also said, “I learned many things from these activities but mostly it taught me about tension, how a circuit works, and most of all, patience.”

“Many of the students are very willing to participate in the activities,” explained Mrs. Fong. 

As a teacher Fong is also always learning to find new and interesting ways to challenge her students. “It’s hard to constantly come up with more fun things to tinker and invent.”

“It’s really a joy to watch the students work to solve the challenge.  I like how the students try to finish the challenges with unique inventions,” explained Mrs. Fong. “They can think of solutions that I haven’t even thought of yet.  When a student figures it out and solves the problem they’ve been struggling with, they are so happy and joyful!” 

When not teaching at Bryant Ranch or researching new projects for her engineering class, Mrs. Fong likes  challenge herself and  relax by playing  instruments such as the saxophone, flute, clarinet, piano, and ukulele. “I am a musician. I regularly play in the Placentia Symphonic Band as well as perform in other smaller groups in the area,” concluded Mrs. Fong.