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How can you encourage the kids in your life to get creative with engineering and making? One of the ways is to check out the resources of Engineers Week. Lots of schools in North America have this week off, so kids can dedicate some full days to exploring engineering, and teachers can hunt down some great projects.

If you do some searches for Engineers Week, you should be able to find an event put on by a nearby college or university. Add your state or city to the search and see what comes up. If you can’t find some existing programming, there are lots of ideas for putting on your own event with a group or couple of individuals. Some of the regional finds for Engineers Week include: ChicagoLand with good activities and student info. In Georgia, check out the bridge building in Atlanta. The University of Texas in El Paso has a week of events planned.

There are some great videos and other career tools at Engineer Your Life. Organizations like the AIAA have sections of their websites dedicated towards outreach for kids and educators. If you are near Washington DC, you may be able to check out Discover Engineering Family Day on February 21, 2009. Their site also has a decent resources section. For lesson plans, Try Engineering has a great collection of projects for the classroom grouped by age of students.

Future City is a competition used to get kids thinking of how they can create real solutions to some of the world’s most pressing engineering problems. The competition uses Sim City software for kids to model virtual environments, and they then build physical models on a budget and back it all up with written documentation. Check out their video for more. The Discover Engineering site has a wide collection of video, projects and other resources worth checking out. The American Society of Civil Engineers ASCE has a good Kids section of their site.

Women are under represented in the engineering field, and Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is designed to encourage girls to consider engineering as a career path. Check out Engineer Girl for more on how to help the young women in your life choose science and engineering.

Design Squad is an engineering television program featuring teenagers solving real problems while they work in competitive groups. Their site has a section on how to organize an event for kids doing engineering activities.

West Point Bridge Design software is the tool for some interesting explorations into structures, with a contest, it provides kids an engaging way to use their minds on the computer. Power Up the Game can also get kids thinking of ways to solve our energy challenges while having fun and getting screen time.

How do you celebrate creative problem solving with the kids in your life? Are there events that haven’t been included in the above list? Are you planning or going to an event for Engineers Week? Join the discussion in the comments, and contribute your photos and video to the Make Flickr pool.

Chris Connors

Making things is the best way to learn about our world.


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