Introducing the engineering design process

Engineering Design Process Lesson Plans

Introducing the engineering design process to new STEM students is tricky. These engineering design process lesson plans will help your students become expert problem solvers and meet middle school engineering standards, while having a lot of fun! With over 220 pages of print and digital resources, you’ll have 5 weeks of rigorous and engaging instruction ready to go.

Engage Your Students and Explore the Engineering Design Process

Kick off the unit by engaging your students in a fun design challenge. Students will construct their own understanding of the engineering design process by experiencing the problem solving approach first hand. This background knowledge will help them make connections and learn vocabulary when you introduce the process in the next lesson.

Civil engineering STEM challenge for middle school students

Explain the Engineering Design Process

In the next three lessons, students will discover the steps in the engineering design process, learn important engineering vocabulary, and observe as others apply the design process in real-world design challenges. The combination of direct instruction, video, and choice activities will keep your students engaged and ensure they have a strong understanding of the design process and foundation in STEM.

Engineering design process lesson plan
PBS Design Squad movie guide
Engineering design process activities

Elaborate on Engineering in the Real World

Next students will investigate engineering careers through an engaging research project. They will explore various STEM careers and choose one type of engineering to learn more about. They will create a job advertisement that demonstrates what they learned about the career and present it to their peers.

Engineering Careers Research Project

Evaluate Mastery of the Design Process

At the end of the unit, students will demonstrate their mastery of the design process by completing a traditional paper or digital quiz, and participate in another engineering design challenge where they can apply their new skills and knowledge.

Wind Powered Car STEM Challenge
Engineering design process quiz for middle school STEM


Many middle school students struggle with participating effectively in group projects, but group work is an integral part of any STEM class. Included in this set of engineering design process activities is a Group Roles lesson plan that will help your students learn what it means to be a good group member and help them structure their group participation. I usually use this lesson before the first design challenge, and I tell students that their only grade for the first challenge is based on their teamwork skills and the rubric included in the lesson.

STEM engineering group roles

If you would like more guidance on how to support your students as they develop effective group work skills, check out this post on teamwork in STEM.

Buy and Save

Grab this unit today to get back your nights and weekends while knowing your students will be engaged learning the fundamentals of engineering! You’ll save 20% by purchasing the full bundle of engineering design process lesson plans here!

Engineering design process unit plan and lessons

If you are looking for more information about STEM and how to start your STEM class strong, read on here!

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