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Embrace Your Students Inner Engineer

February 09, 2024

by Sutton Reekes, Communication and Media Manager, Imagination Station

Engineers have a hand in everything we do. Think about it. The screen you’re reading this on. The car you take to work. The roads you drive. Even the running shoes you wear, an engineer played a role in creating those too.

Engineers are part of why the world looks the way it does and why our lives are more convenient – thanks to the technologies engineers design.

To celebrate and honor the work of engineers, National Engineers Week is celebrated every February to highlight the accomplishments that got us to where we are today and inspire future generations to become engineers.

By 2031, STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – jobs are expected to grow by at least 11%, which is two times faster than other occupations. However, in the STEM field and within engineering alone, there are gaps in representation.

To help create a more inclusive and representative STEAM field, the younger generation has to feel empowered. Educators – alongside parents – play an important role in encouraging kids to pursue STEM and engineering. This month, you can honor National Engineers Week by helping inspire the future designers of tomorrow:

Use real-life problems and examples when teaching STEM
Much of engineering and STEM jobs involve creative thinking and problem-solving. Giving students real-world examples to figure out while they’re in class allows them to understand how these concepts work outside of the classroom.

Encourage student collaboration
Engineers are team players. In these roles, collaboration is the key to coming up with the next greatest invention and you can mimic this in your own classroom. Allowing students to work together through group projects and classwork can help foster a similar environment students would see in the real world and prepare them for the future.

Showcase engineering in different school subjects
Engineering is everywhere, and you can incorporate STEAM into any subject. For example, if you’re looking at historical monuments in social studies class, you can add STEAM to it by asking your students to talk about who used this building and why. Ask them to explain how they think the building was built and have them walk through designing their building from idea to conception. By adding engineering questions to other subjects, you can connect STEAM to all your students' work.

Visit Imagination Station 
There's no better place to soar to than the science center when looking to inspire your students to pursue engineering. We have several exhibits including our Catenary Arch, Shake Table and KAPLA Blocks experiences that challenge students to test their creativity and problem-solving skills. Each of these exhibits is hands-on, meaning your students will be able to see themselves as an engineer and consider it as a future career.

Another important way to inspire the future is by exposing kids to engineering professionals who look like them. When students see themselves represented, they’re inspired and confident, knowing they can do those jobs too. Each year during Girl Power, Imagination Station empowers girls in grades 3-8 to see their future in STEAM by interacting and learning alongside strong, female STEAM professionals.

At the science center, inspiring future engineers – or scientists, technologists, artists or mathematicians – is what we do every day.  We are working to create a community celebrated for its diversity and representation in all fields. Let’s all work together to reach that goal.