Teaching Children about Engineering

Although the engineering for a project like the UW-Madison Badger X-Loft program is quite complex, it is never too early to start teaching children the logical process that engineers use to solve problems. The general process for designing anything - from something as complex as a spacecraft to something as seemingly simple as a toothbrush - requires the application of the same logical processes, problem solving methods, and verification. The design process can be easily taught to even young children and can be applied to many problems both in and outside of the field of engineering. Although it is nearly impossible to teach an eight year-old to solve differential equations with appropriate understanding, it is easy to encourage that same eight year-old to follow the steps required to solve a design problem using critical reasoning skills.

Resources for Engineering Education in K-12 Schools

  • Design Squad - a television program on PBS. Their website has a series of educational and workshop materials about teaching the engineering design process to children.
  • NASA's "On the Moon" Educator Guide - A series of lesson plans and activities to teach children from grades 3-12 about engineering and space exploration using hands-on engineering and design problems.

    University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Engineering Physics
    If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email us at elder@engr.wisc.edu.
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Revised: 10/29/2010