What is an engineer? Albert Einstein said it best when he stated, “Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been.” Engineering is a field of study that is growing leaps and bounds every year. Even if your child doesn’t foresee a future career in engineering, he or she will still definitely benefit from the knowledge gained from these resources.
1. The LEGO Architect.
LEGO bricks are the perfect resource for a budding engineer. They are the type of “toy” that can stay with a person all the way into adulthood. Many professional architects and civil engineers readily admit to still playing with LEGO as an adult. The LEGO Architect is a fascinating book created by experts at No Starch Press and is definite eye-candy for any LEGO fan. This book is very inspiring to anyone who is interested in going beyond the typical LEGO sets that can be purchased. Showing off 7 architectural styles and 12 models, the book also contains easy to follow instructions for building each of the 12 models.
2. The Art of LEGO Scale Modeling.
If your child is evenly remotely interested in aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering or even manufacturing, they will LOVE The Art of LEGO Scale Modeling. This book does not contain instructions for models to build, but it can serve as inspiration for kids who want to study vehicles, aircraft, ships, and trains. Any type of inspiration, especially with LEGO bricks, is a good thing. As it contains models crafted by 24 LEGO master builders, you just know the photos are a beauty. Also by No Starch Press.
3. TED-Ed videos.
TED has a website devoted entirely to lessons for students of all ages. Here is a direct link to the engineering videos for middle to high school students. Each video is roughly 5 minutes long and is packed with information students will find fascinating. After each video, there is a quiz, additional resources, and a guided discussion.
4. Engineers by DK Publishing.
Anyone who is passionate about a subject will always be interested in the history of that subject and the stories of the men and women involved. That is what this book is about. Engineers details the hard work, years of sacrifice, and sheer determination that engineers like Eli Whitney, Nikola Telsa, and the Wright Brothers gave to the world. This book covers everything from Imhotep, the great pyramid builder in ancient Egypt to modern engineers like Burt Rutan, the American aerospace engineer who designed Voyager, the first plane to fly non-stop around the world and SpaceShipOne, the first privately owned spacecraft.
Yes, catalogs. Visit Home Science Tools, Steve Spangler Science, Edmund Scientifics, and NASCO to request science catalogs. Your kids probably do not even realize that many of these products exist, so hand them several catalogs, along with a Sharpie marker, and ask them to circle items that interest them. If you find that your child circles mostly chemistry sets, you’ll know you have a future chemist on your hands.
6. Science World Magazine.
Science World is a current events magazine published by Scholastic 12 times during the school year (September – May.) There are many engineering stories published in each issue, such as how to build a massive kite, the world’s biggest ships, the Panama Canal, and recycled sewage water.
7. Engineering infographics.
From my post 100 Infographics for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Infographics can be an invaluable teaching tool. An infographic can:
- accomplish a quick, simple lesson without a lot of fluff.
- spark an interest in learning more about the given subject.
- show the importance of looking at numbers and raw data instead of relying on the interpretations of others.
- easily display a large amount of information in an easy to understand manner.
- communicate a message through numbers.
8. View in-depth career details.
There are many engineering disciplines, from aerospace to petroleum and this website covers outlooks, salaries, shares project ideas and external links for more information.
9. Engineering products from Pitsco.
10. Project Books.
There are many fantastic books available that are loaded with hands-on projects. Here are 3 of our favorites.
- Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering with 25 Projects
- Engineering the City: How Infrastructure Works, Projects and Principles for Beginners
- Hands-On Engineering: Real-World Projects
11. A BONUS that we recently discovered is the game Qwirkle. It is the perfect game for engineering minds. It is a simple game of matching colors and shapes that requires tactical maneuvers, quick-thinking and a well-planned strategy. Players of this addictive game score points by building rows and columns of brightly-colored tiles that are either all the same color or all the same shape, without creating duplicates. You can find the game AND lesson plans here.
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