Started in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, National Engineers Week is celebrated every President’s Day in honor of President George Washington’s birthday. Did you know that in addition to being the first president of the United States, George Washington was considered to be one of the nation’s first engineers? As a kid, George loved to build things. Later, he famously designed his own house and the tools to maintain it (including a huge plow!)
From the houses we live in to the bridges we cross, engineering touches every aspect of modern life. Specifically, engineering is the branch of science and technology that deals with the design, construction, and use of engines, machines, and structures! Engineering skills are essential for all aspects of building. This week, engineers and educators will honor the people who create wonders in the fields of engineering. And there is so much to celebrate!
Whether you are a parent or a teacher, there are so many ways you can encourage your kids to get excited about engineering. It’s important not just because engineering fields offer awesome job opportunities, but because engineering skills and problem-solving abilities are valuable wherever kids go next in life.
The most important thing is to encourage kids to have fun while learning about engineering. Here at KiwiCo we encourage a combination of hands-on activities and conversations with your kids. Since engineering happens in all fields, it is easy to begin the conversations based on your child’s interests. Exploring these things together is the best encouragement you can give.
Many of our STEM crates map to NGSS standards. To order crates for your classroom, check out these classroom packs.
1. For kids who love music
Acoustical engineers work with sound (and sound producting vibrations) in real-world situations such as concert halls. Many acoustical engineers collaborate with architects to help ensure that a building is designed for sound clarity. To learn more about accoustical engineering, check out our headphone kit which includes lessons and activities on the science of sound.
2. For kids who love rockets
Aerospace engineers design and test aircraft, spacecraft and satellites and other flying things. From the Beluga transporter to supersonic jets, moon landings to the Mars shuttle, the feats of aerospace engineers are awe-inspiring. For a real life connection, take the kids to an airport! Kids who are into rockets will love our bottle rocket project.
3. For kids who love cars (and other vehicles)
Automotive engineers design and test passenger cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles or off-road vehicles. To engineer your own vehicle consider this wind-powered vehicle project or this balloon cars project.
4. For kids who like construction
Civil engineers design structures and infrastructures from roads and railways to airports to bridges and harbours and buildings. Civil engineers plan, design and maintain the environments in which we live. Build your own bridge with the bridge-building activity below.
5. For kids who love computers
Computer engineers personalize and customize applications to solve problems! For a fun computer engineering project, this Robots and Coding project teaches kids how to write programs and solve puzzles.
6. For kids who love robots
Robotics engineers design, test and building robots! If your kid loves robots, check out this Robot Crawler project to construct motor-powered robots that walk (and race!). Kids will explore linkages, friction, and mechanical energy.
7. For kids who meddle with machines
Mechanical engineers design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain machinery systems. Mechanical engineering is the oldest and broadest type of engineering so it overlaps with many other types of engineers. For a fun activity consider making the Mechanical Claw — a project that was inspired by the biomechanics of the hand.
To learn more about National Engineers Week, visit www.discovere.org. To order high quantities of our crates for schools and groups check out our bulk ordering page. To learn more about how you can spark scientific curiousity and learning, visit us at Kiwico.