Engineering With the Habits of Mind

What Are the Habits of Mind?

As some of you may know, I was a founding teacher of the Mission Hill School. While there, the Mission Hill Habits of Mind were developed as a way of thinking and as a way to establish what it means to be a “well-educated person”. These Habits of Mind help students to seek knowledge by asking good questions, as well as using sound methods for finding the answer. These habits are also a key part of thinking like, and becoming, an engineer!

What Kinds of Knowledge Are Students Creating?

  • EvidenceHow do we know what’s true and false? What evidence counts? How sure can we be? What makes it credible to us? Methods: Scientific Method, Design Cycle

K2 and Grade 1 students

  • ViewpointHow else might this look like if we stepped into other shoes? If we were looking at it from a different direction? If we had a different history or expectation? Methods: empathy and imagination


  • Cause and Effect: Is there a pattern? Have we seen something like this before? What are the possible consequences? Methods: research, historical knowledge, Scientific Method

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Grade 1 students

  • ConjectureWhat if…? Could it have been otherwise? Methods: imagination; knowledge of alternative possibilities; other Habits of Mind 

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  • RelevanceDoes it matter? Who cares?

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“We look like engineers ’cause we are!”

Here are more of our Young STEAM Inventors showing the relevance of our classroom activities and using the Habits of Mind to be like engineers:


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