Opinion

5 ways to introduce Engineering to your child(ren) or students by Tola Salau

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In recognition of World Engineers Week

We can safely say that pretty much all that we use was created by an engineer. Engineers and their skills are highly prized in various sectors from manufacturing to the medical field. The skills taught to Engineers is valuable in the 21st century to imbibe our youth with engineering concepts and also enable them develop the problem-solving skills that all engineers develop throughout their training. The ability to think through complex problems, collaborate with others, communicate properly, and become resilient are also important skills that are developed through Engineering.

We shouldn’t wait until our children get into college and explore Engineering as a career path, then begin to build these skills. Get them started out earlier!

  1. Breakdown what engineering entails: A lot of students have heard of engineers. Yet, the word “engineering” is a vague term and covers a wide range of career paths and skills. Aid your children to discuss this with you as a starting place. If your child has not had this conversation before, this will be a good place to start. Try using this as a guide for your discussion:
      • An engineer is someone who designs, builds, or maintains machines, engines, structures, and even the environment. They help create everything around us.
      • Also show them a great video that was shown to be highly effective to kids by Crash Course Kids: What’s An Engineer?
      • Brainstorm about the design and use (function) of  some everyday objects that we use and imagine with them how an engineer helped bring it into reality.
  2. Make a clear distinction that  Engineers don’t just build structures and machines. There are variety of engineers. It is hard to keep track of the different kinds of Engineers most times. Brainstorm about the various kinds with them, and investigate the right name for them if they can’t come up with it. Some different types of engineers include: Structural Engineers, Civil Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Chemical Engineers, Environmental Engineers, Manufacturing Engineers, Systems Engineers, and Material Scientists
  3. Breakdown the Engineering Design Process and how it allows Engineers to solve lots of many problems. The Engineering Design Process is a step-by-step process that engineers use to solve complex problems. Helping your child understand each stage of the process and the purpose of each stage will help them understand how engineers solve complex problems. Once we commence our STEM awareness programs, we will be loading videos from our various outreaches about this and many more issues on our website. See infographic below (courtesy of Teachengineering.org) engpr
  4. Find out what interests them and explore these topics with them. Whatever topics grab your child’s attention, you can be sure that an engineer is behind it in some way shape or form. Find out what your child what likes or what interests them in school or the world around them. Then, hook them with the question, “How does this connect to engineering? Did an engineer make that or help solve that problem?”
  5. Get down in the trenches with them.  There are so many amazing resources now that will give your child the opportunity to take the reins and think like an engineer. We also desire to help our children  to be “in-the-know” of the 21st Century radical advancements. We want to help you build the best learning path for your child(ren) or students. Gamify their learning and ensure they are fully engaged in  discovery for problem solving.  Most children love games. Let’s channel this into a lifetime of innovative thinking!

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