Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Are you raising kids interested in engineering? Have they asked you yet, “What do engineers really do?”. You can explore different careers in engineering through these age appropriate books and projects.
Explore different engineering careers with books and hands-on projects

Start Engineering

Good folks at Start Engineering asked me if I want to take a look their offerings of books about careers in engineering. They generously sent me all three books available on their website, each for a different age group.
What Is Engineering
What’s Engineering? is a coloring and activity book designed for kids age 4 to 6 who are non-readers or beginner readers. The first several pages have coloring pages accompanied by a short text which explains, on a very basic level, what engineers do. Then the book has activity pages – like a maze page, “what’s different?”, etc. I think it’s a good attempt to introduce engineering to young audience, especially to children who enjoy coloring books and activity books. Unfortunately, Smarty was never a fan of either, so she only gave this book a passing glance and volunteered to give it to a 3 year old son of our friends.
Dream Create Invent
Dream Invent Create is the second book in the series which is designed for students in elementary school. A bright double spread and a verse introduces kids to various engineering careers, from aeronautics engineer to telecommunications. I liked that authors didn’t try to rhyme long engineering words and instead introduced a specific engineering specialty in a short sentence around the page. I think both Smarty and I were surprised to see such a variety of engineering jobs introduced within a reasonably thin book.
Start Engineering Career Guide
Start Engineering Career Guide is for middle school and high school students seriously considering career in engineering, but my 8 year old liked this book best out of 3, because it contained most text and most detail about different engineering jobs. She was very fascinated by the chart in the end showing salaries for different engineering majors and also by the chart showing which colleges in the United States produce most engineers. I was impressed that even my own "exotic" engineering major of system engineering was included in the list of engineering options. I think it’s a good book to “strew” for high school freshmen, especially for those interested in STEM careers. Right now, however, Smarty is firmly convinced that she wants to be a neuroscientist and she was not tempted back to engineering careers. Luckily, she has a number of years yet to discover her passions and decide what she really wants to do.

Hands On Projects to Experience Engineering

Explore engineering careers with these fun engineering projects for kids

You can expand on Start Engineering books by doing a hands-on project with your kids and letting them experience a joy of being an engineer:
  1. Aerospace Engineering: Build a Canister Rocket (Science Kiddo)
  2. Agricultural Engineering: Design a Sensory Garden (The Jenny Evolution)
  3. Biomedical Engineering: Make an Articulated Hand (Instructables)
  4. Chemical Engineering: Heat Sensitive Color Changing Slime (Left Brain Craft Brain)
  5. Civil Engineering: Design Earthquake Proof Structures (Adventures in Mommydom)
  6. Computer Science: Computer Science for Elementary School (Planet Smarty Pants)
  7. Electrical Engineering: Homopolar Motor Dancers (Babble Dabble Do)
  8. Environmental Engineering: Design a Water Filter (Planet Smarty Pants)
  9. Mechanical Engineering: Simple Machines (Kids Activities Blog)
  10. Robotics Engineering: Lego Drawbot (Planet Smarty Pants)

Your Turn

Are your kids interested in becoming engineers?

More Engineering Activities for Kids

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An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

The third book looks pretty interesting. My gang would probably be interested in the charts.

Ticia said...

I have a boy who wants to be an engineer who'd love this.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

These books sound great. There are so many different kinds of engineers!

Kylie said...

My son is potentially headed down the engineer road so I'll be checking these out. Thanks!

acares said...

Great post! I always get asked by kids what engineers do.