Engineering is a great profession for today’s youth to consider. The demand for STEM professionals is expected to grow twice as fast as other careers. Recent research also shows that people in STEM professions have higher salaries and experience less unemployment than people in other fields (Okrent and Burke, 2021). You can generate student interest in engineering and ignite new passions by celebrating National Engineers Week 2023.
What is National Engineers Week?
If you are new to National Engineers Week, you may be wondering, “What is National Engineers Week?”, “Why do we celebrate National Engineers Week?”, or “When is National Engineers Week?”
Here are the basics:
- National Engineers Week, also known as EWeek, was founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951.
- According to NSPE, “EWeek is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers,” (2022).
- EWeek 2023 is taking place February 19th-25th.
- You can participate in National Engineers Week 2023 by planning an engineering activity with your students! Keep reading for some ideas.
Four ideas for celebrating National Engineers Week 2023
If you’re ready to help your students see themselves as future engineers, you can start small!
Every year in February, people around the world celebrate National Engineers Week. This year’s celebration will take place from February 19th through February 25th. Here are some easy and engaging activities to introduce your middle school students to engineering.
1. Teach a “What is engineering?” lesson
Grab this FREE lesson and teach your students what it means to be an engineer. First, they will explore their prior knowledge and misconceptions about engineering. Then they’ll problem-solve like an engineer when they participate in a STEM challenge using the engineering design process. Last, they’ll watch a NASA video about engineering careers and reflect on their learning.
2. Facilitate a STEM challenge
STEM challenges the perfect combination of rigor and fun! They start with a problem students must solve. Then students use the engineering design process along with their scientific, mathematical and technological skills and knowledge to develop their own unique solution to the problem. STEM challenges help students develop real-world skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity skills. Furthermore, they can also be used to introduce students to a wide range of engineering careers. Check out these ready-to-go challenges! Combine them with some simple materials and you’ll have everything you need to facilitate an awesome National Engineering Week learning experience!
3. Host an engineering movie day
If you are looking for something low-prep and super easy but still give your students an opportunity to learn about the importance of engineering, check out one of these engineering-themed movies!
- Dream Big (2017) – In this amazing documentary, students will meet engineers from a wide variety of backgrounds and specialties. They will discover some of the many marvels of engineering and analyze how engineering plays a role in our everyday lives.
- The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019) – This film is based on the true story of 14-year-old William Kamkwamba and his journey to end the drought plaguing his community by bringing wind power to his town in Malawi. Students will see William use the engineering design process to create a solution to a real world problem and the role perseverance plays in the process.
- Dolphin Tale (2011) – This movie follows the true story of Winter, a dolphin who loses her tail and gets saved by a rescue in Florida. Students will see rescue workers, volunteers, and engineers work together and use the engineering design process to create a new tail for Winter. Your students are sure to fall in love with Winter and be left wanting to learn more about this amazing dolphin and her rescuers.
- Hidden Figures (2016) – This award-winning film is based on the book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.” Set in the 1960s, students will follow the lives of three female “computers,” and learn about the science, engineering, and technology behind the NASA space program.
4. Research engineering careers
What does it mean to have a career in engineering? What are some examples of engineering careers? How many different kinds of engineers are there? Explore these questions and more with an engineering research careers project. They can choose a career to research, create a poster, and present it to the class.
Looking for more middle school engineering activities for National Engineers Week 2023?
You can score 5-weeks worth of engineering curriculum and save 20% when you purchase the engineering design process unit. Your students will learn the steps of the engineering design process, learn how to effectively work as a team in STEM, participate in 2 STEM challenges, research engineering careers, and more!
Grab these lessons today to get back your nights and weekends while knowing your students will be engaged in learning the basics of engineering!
National Society of Professional Engineers. (2022). Engineers Week. Retrieved November 27, 2022 from https://www.nspe.org/resources/partners-and-state-societies/engineers-week
Okrent, A. and A. Burke. (2021). The STEM Labor Force of Today: Scientists, Engineers, and Skilled Technical Workers. National Science Foundation. Retrieved November 27, 2022 from https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsb20212