Battle misconceptions and introduce your middle school students to the wonderful world of engineering!
STEM and engineering go hand-in-hand, but many middle school students (and grown-ups too!) don’t know exactly what it is or why they should know about it.
Every year, on Day 1 of STEM class, I ask my students, “What is engineering?” Here’s a sampling of the responses I usually get:
- “Building stuff”
- “Doing construction work”
- “Driving the subway trains”
So, every year, we have a lesson about what engineering is, how it touches our daily lives, and why it would make a great career.
First, students share their background knowledge about engineering. Then I task students with solving a mini engineering design challenge. This experience helps them start identifying some of their own misconceptions and construct a deeper understanding of what engineers do. Next, I have students research the definition of engineering and different engineering careers. Finally, students reflect on their learning and revise their definition of engineering from the beginning of class.
These concepts ground the rest of our work throughout the course.
When students learn that the products of engineering are found all around us, engineers work in just about any field imaginable, and we will be using engineering to solve real-world problems, they become much more interested in my class and the work we will do together.
Download a free copy of my low-prep lesson, and have fun introducing your students in the wonderful world of engineering!
If you want to learn more about stem-based education and why it’s important, read on here!
More Engaging Middle School Engineering Activities