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 into 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 the 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 Learn With Mochi, we encourage a combination of hands-on activities and conversations with your kids. Since engineering happens in all fields, it is easy to begin conversations based on your child’s interests. Exploring these things together is the best encouragement you can give.
1. For kids who love music
Acoustical engineers work with sound (and sound-producing 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 acoustical engineering.
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 car project.
4. For kids who like construction
Civil engineers design structures and infrastructures from roads and railways to airports to bridges and harbors 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 robot 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 mechanical 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.