Engineering is a field of study that is growing leaps and bounds every year. What exactly does an engineer do?
You should ask is there anything that an engineer doesn’t do. An engineer uses scientific and mathematical principles to develop solutions to problems. They are the geniuses who find ways to meet our needs. They research, analyse, design, invent, create, build, program, test, supervise, improvise, and much much more. Albert Einstein said it best when he stated, “Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been.”
If you are educating a future engineer, add some of these products onto your shopping list for Christmas, birthdays, or “just because” gifts. They will thank you for it!
My New Favorite Books for a Future Engineer
Rocket Science for the Rest of Us
A successful aerospace engineer, which is one of the branches my son is heavily interested in, must have a pretty firm grasp of basic science. That is what this book gives. Rocket Science for the Rest of Us (like me) is an easy to understand guide to quantum physics, quantum mechanics, antimatter, black holes, aerospace technology, and scientific theories. Dark matter machine? Particle accelerator? Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer? Cesium fountain clock? “Huh?” you say. All of those complicated scientific inventions were created by engineers. And you will understand it all after reading this book.
365 Things to Do with LEGO Bricks
This is another fantastic new LEGO book from DK Publishing. My son is a teenager, but he still enjoyed looking through this book, which was written for ages 12 and under. Kids with engineering mindsets will love this book for several reasons: #1 – there are no instructions, just pictures, so you really have to use your critical thinking and visual spatial abilities when trying to figure out how to build one of the creations. #2 – there are projects in this book that are really out of the box, like the two below (a key lock and colorful 3D shapes). Some of these creations are out of the scope of what a typical kid would conjure in their imagination, yet they turn out to be very simple to build. #3 – engineers in general have very efficient minds and rapid thoughts. They thrive under pressure and are very successful even when being timed. This book comes with a built-in timer so that you can race the clock while constructing.
More Books for a Future Engineer
1,000 Inventions and Discoveries
From making fire to building the gadgets of the 21st century, this book will help you uncover the stories behind the remarkable ideas and devices that have shaped our world. Innovations in science, space, technology, transportation, medicine, mathematics, and language are covered, along with a timeline of history highlighting all inventions and discoveries from the airbag to DNA, lie detectors to hormones, and money to the signs of the zodiac. Feature boxes delve into the details of the lives of Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and more, while amazing images and archive materials bring their achievements to life. 1,000 Inventions and Discoveries will AMAZE and inspire a love of history in kids.
Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things
This book is a valuable resource for transforming ordinary objects into the extraordinary. With over 80 solutions and bonus applications at your disposal, you will be ready for almost any situation.
Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction
With this book, you can turn modern household products and office supplies, like rubber bands, pens, toothpicks, and paper clips, into an impressive, miniaturized, arsenal.
A favorite book of almost every father-son team I know. Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices
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 Tesla, 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.
Engineering 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
Magazines for a Future Engineer
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.
Popular Mechanics Magazine
This magazine offers the very latest in technology, engineering, digital privacy and tool tests. Available in print or digital.
Toys, Kits and Games for a Future Engineer
Qwirkle 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.
Engineering Products from Pitsco
K’NEX Real Bridge Building Set
With this set, you can build up to seven 5-6′ foot long bridges. It includes 2,304 parts and pieces packaged in 2 convenient storage bins. It also includes a comprehensive Teacher’s Guide. View ALL the K’NEX sets here.
Minecraft is the ultimate building and engineering video game for all ages. If you can imagine it, you can build it.
Mini Tesla Coil
This mini Tesla Coil is a great way to demonstrate the principles of wireless electricity.
Robotic Arm Edge
This is a very affordable robotic arm that is capable of gripping, extending and rotation. One Amazon customer left a comment and stated that her 15 year old brother was teaching the robotic arm how to write with a Sharpie pen!
Model Rocket Kit
This kit contains two rockets. The Amazon is 30″ tall, quick to assemble, and can reach heights up to 650 feet. The Crossfire will take a few hours to build, and can reach heights up to 1,200 feet. This set will not disappoint!
Novelties for a Future Engineer
Engineer. Solving problems
Another hilarious mug perfect for the person who finds faults in everything…and luckily knows exactly how to fix them.
I’m An Engineer Mug
This mug is hysterical! Most engineers are brilliant with math, programming and have incredible visual-spatial abilities, but grammar and spelling are often not their strong suits.
Arguing with an Engineer
I think this mug is my favorite of the three because my two guys thrive on debates. Sometimes it takes me awhile to realize that they are not really arguing with me to prove a point or to change my mind, they are doing it because they enjoy it.
T-shirts for a Future Engineer
Logical Engineer T-shirt
Logic right? A classic gift for a budding engineer.
I’m an Engineer T-shirt
…to save time let’s just assume I’m never wrong. (Eyeroll.) Another classic gift for a budding engineer.
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