Professional Development Opportunity

I’m about to make the most amazing offer that I’ve ever made.

It’s free and there are no strings attached.

You even get to take home an Engineering PowerPack and classroom materials kits such as the Prosthetic Hand and Protect Your Noggin. Almost $600 worth of materials totally free. Are you in?

There are only 10 instructor slots available. First come, first serve.

Program Name: GLEE (Girls Love Exploring Engineering) Summer Camp and Simultaneous Professional Development

How it works:  On Monday, you will learn several activities while the girls do ice breakers, watch videos and interact with other facilitators, a college engineering student and several high school students.  From Tuesday-Friday, armed with the activities you learned and constructed on Monday, you team facilitate the activities with the girls. During the week, when the girls have a field trip, watch videos, or listen to panel discussions (basically every spare minute), you go back into training. When the girls go home, we will refine the activities and discuss integration into your classroom or situation.

Historically, by the last day of the camp, 95% of the girls said they wanted to be engineers! You will go back to your classroom with increased confidence and bundles of materials to implement more engineering education into your instruction.

Audience: Late Elementary, Middle and Early High School Teachers, 5 days- 7 hours each day.

Location: Memorial High School, Tulsa, OK

Register Here

Engineering and STEM Resources

On our website, in addition to Kits, Blast Packs, Books, DVDs, Rubber Stamps, Pins, Presentations and Labs are resources for students, parents, teachers, schools, and mentors. With summer on the horizon, now is a great time to explore engineering career paths and supporting opportunities.

Summer Camp Directory – If you have a camp you want to add to the list, simply send us a listing, formatted similar to the others, and we will post it. There is no cost for camps or families.

Competitions – K-12 engineering, robotics and technology competitions.

Engineering Scholarships – This page will always be under construction as new scholarships become available and current scholarship are awarded. Bookmark this page so you can come back often and check for recently available opportunities! If you know of any available scholarships not listed on this page email us and we will list it here.

Women in Engineering Programs – Directory of colleges with Women in Engineering program offices.

Directory of Engineering Programs – There are many factors to consider when choosing a college program. One of the most important is whether or not that program is accredited. Accreditation assures that a program has met certain quality standards. To employers, graduate schools, and licensure and certification boards, graduation from an accredited program signifies adequate preparation for entry into the profession. In fact, many of these groups require graduation from an accredited program as a minimum qualification.

Directory of Engineering Technology Programs – Directory of colleges that offer associate and bachelor degrees in engineering technology.

Engineering Society Directory – Find support, scholarships and guidance for your degree choice.

Other Links and Resources to All Things Engineering – Everything else!

Call for Reviewers

RobotMakerscover801x522Would you be interested in reviewing Robot Makers? If you have a blog, a newsletter, magazine, ezine or website and would be willing to write and publish a review of this new book, just drop me an email with your address and I’ll send a copy your way.

If you want the book, along with a PowerPoint you can customize and use to talk about careers in robotics, order from the EESC before May 1st.

Build it, and They Will Come

Build what? A robot of course!

You may know about robots because you watched a deadly cyborg try to take over the world on television. Or, you are involved in or have seen a robotics competition, played with a Mindstorms LEGO set, or attended a science, engineering, or maker event. Although there are many definitions of a robot, in Robot Makers: An Essential Guide to Choosing a Career in Robotics, a robot is defined as an electromechanical device that can react to its environment and perform operations either on a tether by remote control, autonomously by wireless or Bluetooth connections, or as a hybrid of the two systems.

RobotMakerscover801x522In Robot Makers: An Essential Guide to Choosing a Career in Robotics, you will learn about working in the field of robotics, how it is exciting, and how it is getting more so every day. Because of technological leaps in the computer industry, many new opportunities are emerging. Engineers, programmers, and technicians design and maintain robots, research new applications for robots, and assist people in doing tasks that are less desirable. As such, robots have enormous potential for society. Equipped with the proper sensors, robots can inspect the quality of meat, measure the pollution emissions of manufacturing plants, assist in surgery, detect corrosion in sewer pipes, investigate the depths of a volcano, or assess the speed of a tornado. Robots can be used to improve the standard of living and provide more information about the planet or even the solar system.

Robot Makers explores the possible opportunities available for a career in robotics. It offers and provides students with information to help them determine the course of study they should pursue in high school as well as through college helping each student to make a career choice that will be rewarding as well as offer a life-long learning experience.

Visit the Engineering Education Service Center today to acquire your pre-publication copy of Robot Makers: An Essential Guide to Choosing a Career in Robotics. While there, you can review the table of contents and read a free sample of Chapter One. Take a few extra minutes to visit the other services offered at the Engineering Education Service Center (EESC). The EESC is an engineering education company that specializes in providing products for K-12 schools to teach and share the fun of engineering. From curriculum to books, DVDs, kits, apps and other motivational products, the EESC aims to make engineering understandable and accessible to everyone.

Pre-publication order bonuses!

  1. Everyone who orders before the May 1 publication date will receive a PowerPoint presentation on “Choosing a Career in Robotics” that you can use to talk to students about the available career choices. It’s colorful, graphically powerful, and is designed to save you time. As an extra bonus, on this particular PowerPoint, there are no copyright restrictions – it’s yours to use freely. You can edit it, pass it around or post it online – it’s up to you.
  2. For everyone who orders at least four copies (every library needs a copy), you will receive a Textrix Remote Control or Tetrix Autonomous Robotic Engineering Activity Guide. These guides, published by Pitsco and valued at $39.95, help students learn about robot engineering, simple machines, torque, power, and problem solving. Activities guide students in creating robots that draw, dance, herd golf balls, and more. These full-color guides can be used alone or as a supplement to current curriculum. Supplies are limited. One book per customer.

More Information

My Firstborn

ITAEIY4_300x450I refer to Is There an Engineer Inside You? as my firstborn and the genesis of who I became and what I do today. I began writing it when I was struggling in engineering school. It’s the book that I wish I’d had when making the decision to go to school.

That was back in 1997. The first edition was released in 1999. In 2000, the book was the #1 Engineering Career Guide at and I was asked to speak at a NASA conference.

Sixteen years later, I’m proud to say that it’s in the fourth edition and now published in not only the U.S. but also India and China. Seventeen colleges, schools, and organizations partnered with me last year to give away thousands to copies to students who want to be engineers or are considering an engineering degree.

It’s been, and continues to be, an amazing ride!

Robot Makers!

Robot Makers: An Essential guide to Choosing a Career in RoboticsAt long last, my new book, two years in the making, is finally ready! Robot Makers: An Essential Guide to Choosing a Career in Robotics is here and ready to help students choose a career in robotics. Robot making is a practical and engaging way for students to learn STEM subjects. Robotic competitions allow students to apply the skills inside or outside of the classroom. The experience is ideal preparation for entering the workforce, which is why participating students are frequently offered internship and employment opportunities while still in school.

If you have students that build robots, enjoy the experience and want more, Robot Makers is essential to helping them learn about the abundant opportunities in robotics, the many types of robots, what robots can do for us, what degree is needed to work as a roboticist, and how much money they can make.

The careers that support the industry offer opportunities to be creative and are challenging, prestigious, and satisfying.

In my excitement to share this title, I have two special give-aways for my readers.

  1. Everyone who orders before the May 1 publication date will receive a PowerPoint presentation on “Choosing a Career in Robotics” that you can use to talk to students about the available career choices. It’s colorful, has great pictures, and is designed to save you time. As an extra bonus, on this particular PowerPoint, there are no copyright restrictions – it’s yours to use freely. You can edit it, pass it around or post it online – it’s up to you.
  2. For everyone who orders at least four copies (every library needs a copy), you will receive a Textrix Remote Control or Autonomous Robotic Engineering Activity Guide. These guides, published by Pitsco and valued at $39.95, help students learn about robot engineering, simple machines, torque, power, and problem solving. Activities guide students in creating robots that draw, dance, herd golf balls, and more! These full-color guides can be used alone or as a supplement to current curriculum. Supplies are limited. One book per customer.

The Table of Content and a Glimpse of Chapter One are Online.

SciGirls Seven: Proven Strategies for Engaging Girls in STEM

Yesterday I had the honor of attending a meeting for the new Oregon Girls Collaborative Project. Back in 2000, I became a champion on the board of the National Girls Collaborative Project. I’ve watched the project grow over the years and now, there is a program in Oregon. It’s great to see it so close to home.

The meeting was about Exemplary Practices for Engaging Girls in STEM. One of the major features was SciGirls. If you aren’t familiar, SciGirls is a PBS tv show for kids ages 8-12 that showcases bright, curious real tween girls putting science and engineering to work in their everyday lives. Each half-hour episode follows a different group of middle school girls, whose eagerness to find answers to their questions will inspire children to explore the world around them and discover that science and technology are everywhere!

scigirlsThe SciGirls approach—for the TV show, website, and educational materials—is rooted in research about how to engage girls in STEM. A quarter of a century of studies have converged on a set of common strategies that work, and these have become SciGirls’ foundation. These strategies are the SciGirls Seven.

  1. Girls benefit from collaboration, especially when they can participate and communicate fairly.
  2. Girls are motivated by projects they find personally relevant and meaningful.
  3. Girls enjoy hands-on, open-ended projects and investigations.
  4. Girls are motivated when they can approach projects in their own way, applying their creativity, unique talents, and preferred learning styles.
  5. Girls’ confidence and performance improves in response to specific, positive feedback on things they can control—such as effort, strategies, and behaviors.
  6. Girls gain confidence and trust in their own reasoning when encouraged to think critically
  7. Girls benefit from relationships with role models and mentors.

When designing programs to engage girls, the SciGirls Seven is a great place to start.

Engineering Curricula

go-to-guideHow to engineer change in your middle school science classroom

With the Next Generation Science Standards, your students won’t just be scientists—they’ll be engineers. But you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Seamlessly weave engineering and technology concepts into your middle school math and science lessons with this collection of time-tested engineering curricula for science classroom materials. Features include:

  • A handy table that leads you to the chapters you need
  • In-depth commentaries and illustrative examples
  • A vivid picture of each curriculum, its learning goals, and how it addresses the NGSS
  • More information on the integration of engineering and technology into middle school science education

Highly recommended, Go-to-Guides are also available for elementary and high school.

Engineering Technology Bachelor’s Degrees

databytesjanAs the table shows, Industrial Engineering Technology has exhibited the largest growth, with a 48 percent increase in bachelor’s degrees from 2008 to 2013. With the exception of Computer Engineering and Construction Engineering Technology, decreasing by 11 percent and 4 percent, respectively, there has been a steady increase in Engineering Technology bachelor’s degrees from 2008 to 2013.

Source: ASEE Databytes Connections Newsletter

Engineering and Sheep

windfarmsheepAbout two weeks ago, I attended the birthday party of a good friend. In making conversation I met a woman who owned a sheep farm. After I had the pleasure of learning oodles of information about sheep, she said,

“Don’t you encourage girls to go into engineering?”

“Yes, and boys too.” I said.

Then, to my horror, she said, “My daughter would have made a great engineer, she thinks just like a man.”

I sat there for a few seconds with my mouth open, unable to form words. I knew I couldn’t change her perception of engineering in the space of a party without getting crazy and without enough time. In addition, her daughter was now in her late twenties with children so no immediate change in behavior would change the trajectory of her daughter’s life.

When I recovered, in my struggle to stay civil and keep my voice steady, I said,

“What does your daughter do now?”

She said, “She never really found the right thing. She is working as a receptionist.”

I stared at the floor as she went back to talking about sheep. How I wish she and her daughter had the opportunity to attend a Mother/Daughter TEA Workshop all those years ago. The event is a great education for mothers too and provides the support for a daughter to pursue a STEM career. In many workshops, I’ve had mothers approach me and ask if it was too late for them to become engineers. I’ve heard countless stories from mothers about how an event or person steered them away from engineering but now, they wanted to try again.

We don’t have to let history repeat itself. In the Mother/Daughter TEA workshop, mothers will see that their daughters make great engineers. The idea that engineering is only for people that think like men is skewed and outdated. Exposing mothers (or both parents) to engineering and to how her daughter can have a meaningful, prestigious and lucrative career is the one of the goals of the Mother/Daughter TEA workshop. They will understand the large range of career possibilities and see how and where their daughter’s talents fit. For any girl, having her mothers support can not only build a stronger relationship but can also increase her self-confidence. This event can provide the scaffolding to pursue her dreams.

The Mother/Daughter TEA is a 4-hour hands-on engineering workshop, usually on a Saturday morning, held in your community. If you aren’t doing these or planning one, contact me for more information. I still have about 10 Saturdays available this school year and would be happy to help you jump start an engineering program or recruit for your classes next year.

Crazy Popular Workshops!

If you want to promote engineering and/or STEM careers, below is table that outlines two of the best workshops you can offer students and parents. Of those polled, 96% of students that attended say they are now considering an engineering (or STEM) career.

If you want to engage students and parents, recruit for your engineering classes or motivate students, these workshops are the answer! All available dates in 2015 are listed in our new online booking system.

Jump aboard now because the train is already moving.

Crazy Popular Workshops!

Engineering Exploration Day (EED)Mother/Daughter TEA (Technology Engineering Aptitude)
Who attendsParent or guardian and middle school son or daughter.

*Ages can range from 5th-10th grade.
Usually Mother and middle school daughter. Can also be a Parent/Daughter Day so that either parent can attend.

*Ages can range from 5th-10th grade.
Number of attendeesUp to 40 teams of parents and children.Up to 40 teams of mothers and daughters.
Time of eventMost often, this event is held on a Saturday morning from 9:00am-1:00pm or 10:00am-2:00pm. Mini sessions can also run from 5:00-8:00pm on any night of the week.Most often, this event is held on a Saturday morning from 9:00am-1:00pm or 10:00am-2:00pm. Mini sessions can also run from 5:00-8:00pm on any night of the week.
Celeste Baine's ResponsibilitiesShe will bring all materials needed to engage no more than 40 parent/child teams in hands-on engineering activities for the entire workshop. Activities are customizable but usually include solving problems, building tabletop hovercrafts, designing catapults, helmets or cranes.

She will also bring prizes, and a copy of Is There an Engineer Inside You? for each student.
She will bring all materials needed to engage no more than 40 mother/daughter teams in hands-on engineering activities for the entire workshop. Activities are customizable but usually include solving problems, building tabletop hovercrafts, designing prosthetic hands, helmets or cranes and placing a band-aid on a Whale.

She will also bring prizes, a take-home engineering kit and a copy of Is There an Engineer Inside You? for each student.
Host Organization's Responsibilities1. Provide the workshop location.
2. Marketing, inviting and registering students and parents.
3. Provide morning snacks and lunch.
1. Provide the workshop location.
2. Marketing, inviting and registering students and parents.
3. Provide morning snacks and lunch.
Host one of these very popular workshops in your community!

In addition, if you want to have many of these workshops at your location (a very good idea), attend one of our Train the Trainer workshops to get on the fast track to offering this extraordinary opportunity.

For more information, download our event planning guide or email Celeste.

Celebrate eWeek

Engineers Week is right around the corner. This is a chance to celebrate engineering and technology with thousands of like-minded people all over the world.

To find out more about engineering and learn ways to celebrate, visit:

If you want to decorate the halls, put up some posters. The majority were designed by students and I promise you will find many that you like.

If you run contests or competitions and need inexpensive student prizes, check out our colorful and fun engineering pins.

If you want to do easy, fun and high-engagement hands-on activities with students, take a look at Teaching Engineering Made Easy for activity ideas and inspiration.

If you are an engineer planning to visit a classroom, take a look at our eWeek kits to make your visit memorable and dynamic.

Whatever you do, just be sure to celebrate. The week runs from Feb 22-28, 2015.

The Beauty of Hydraulics

phandWhen teaching engineering design, there are a few principles that make you think differently. Everyone is used to putting puzzle pieces together in a certain way. We each have own way of doing things. But hydraulics changes everything.

In our new Hydraulics Challenge Laboratory, teams of students are given syringes, tubing and an assortment of other materials to challenge them to create something powered by hydraulics. To make a syringe, filled with water, power and move something stretches your mind. It makes you think differently. I’ve seen students whiz through hydraulic activities and I’ve seen them get stumped. The best part is that at the end of a 60-minute build period, they all have something that works.

If you want to have fun during Engineers Week this year, this lab is the way to go! You’ll receive a box of materials that will enable you to hold five hydraulic design challenges. There are enough consumables to have 5 teams of students create a puppy that sits on command, 5 teams can make a draw bridge, another 5 can make cranes or prosthetic hands or marble chutes. 25 teams of students can work simultaneously on exactly what they want. When they are through, reuse the syringes and tubing and you’ll still have enough materials to do it again the next day and the day after that (for up to 5 days). There are no wrong answers and what a great way to experience engineering design!

Check it out!

Girls and Engineering – Training Date Added

Reserve your spot in our upcoming Mother Daughter TEA (Technology Engineering Aptitude) Train-the-Trainer Workshop! This event is one of the best I’ve ever seen at getting middle school girls interested in engineering and technical careers. If you aren’t holding one in your community, your girls are missing out on an extraordinary opportunity.

Date: February 21, 2015, 9:00-3:30

Mother/Daughter TEA held at Ferris State University in Nov, 2014


The Train-the-Trainer workshop is an opportunity to become a certified TEA trainer and enables you to use our materials, resources and marketing connections to hold your own Mother/Daughter TEA events in your community. When you want to host TEAs in your community, your credentials will save time and money.  You’ll walk into a room of 40 girls (and Moms or Dads too) with everything needed to smoothly facilitate an engaging event that will help prepare them for high wage opportunities in the engineering and technology industries.

There’s more! This upcoming training is very special in that everyone who comes will receive a free Is There an Engineer Inside You? upgrade!  Usually, within each toolkit is a set of 40 copies of Ideas in Action: a Girl’s Guide to Careers in Engineering that you can give to each girl to take home and learn more about engineering careers. For this Feb 21 workshop only, you will receive a case of Is There an Engineer Inside You? instead of Ideas in Action. This is a $998 value – more than the cost of the workshop!

Date: February 21, 2015, 9:00-3:30

Location: Willamalane Adult Center, Springfield, OR

If you are planning to attend this training, register right away to reserve your spot. Space is limited.

Book Title Contest Results

cuterobot1Last week we held a book title contest for my new book about careers in robotics. We had 42 titles submitted. The competition was fierce. We investigated, tried and explored each entry. In the end, we decided upon…… (drum roll please),

Robot Makers: Careers in Robotics

The prize goes to Mark Piotrowski for submitting RobotKeepers: Careers in Robotics. Although Mark’s submittal was not the title we ultimately selected, it served as the genesis of the idea.

Congratulations Mark!

Pre-publication copies will be available for Engineers Week 2015! Stay tuned for more about it in the coming months.


Book Title Contest

Want to win a free book? Help me name my new book. Post your ideas in the comments of this posting or email them to me and you’ll be in the running to win a free autographed copy when it is released in March! Title should be snappy, descriptive and enticing. You can enter as many times as you want.

Written for high school students, the book is about career opportunities in robotics. It covers who works in robotics, the types of robots, applications of robots, and the degrees usually associated with careers in robotics. To give you a better idea of what is inside, a rough table of contents is below.

You have until midnight on Monday, Dec 15. I’ll announce the winner next week. Good Luck!


Part One – All About Robots

  • What is a Robot
  • Who works in Robotics?

Part Two – Types of Robots

  • Fixed Robots – Factory and Industrial Manipulators
  • Mobile
    • Ground
    • Aerial
    • Marine

Part Three – Applications

  • Robots in the Military
  • Robots in Medicine and Healthcare
  • Robots in Space
  • Disaster Robotics
  • Sporting Robots
  • Educational Robots

Part Four – The Many Approaches to Careers in Robotics

  • Engineering
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Computer Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Electromechanical Engineering
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Manufacturing Engineering
    • Robotics Engineering
  • Engineering Technology
    • Biomedical Engineering Technology
    • Computer Engineering Technology
    • Mechanical Engineering Technology
    • Electromechanical Engineering Technology
    • Electrical Engineering Technology
    • Manufacturing Engineering Technology
  • Computer Science

Part Five – Getting Started



Girls, parents learn about engineering

ferristeaThe Mother/Daughter TEA (Technology Engineering Aptitude) Workshop is simply the best event I have ever seen at getting girls interested in engineering. Designed for middle school girls, the STEM workshop strives to educate girls and their mothers and/or fathers about the abundant opportunities in engineering and all fields of technology.

If you aren’t already holding events like this, drop everything and position yourself to hold one this upcoming Spring. Spring is a good time because students and parents are looking ahead, thinking about classes, and reviewing options for next year. I have facilitated this event in both the Fall and Spring. The majority of workshops, held in the Spring, are sold out.

I started this month at Ferris State University. The event was held for 8th-11th grade girls. Two weeks from the kickoff, with only 40 slots available, we had six families on the waiting list. This event was special because the University president stopped by to show his support, the admissions department talked about scholarships, and after the workshop, when the girls were very excited about engineering and technology careers, the administration took the mother/daughter teams on a tour of the school. It was a jam-packed day of learning and exploring.

From there, I traveled to Weber State University for our annual event. Weber State University has held these events every year for the last six years. In fact, it is so popular that we now hold two events – a mini event on Friday night and the regular TEA on Saturday. Each time, they pack the house with girls that are interested in engineering and technology careers.

As I reflect on the three workshops, read over emails from happy parents, and download the photos, I couldn’t be happier about the lives we touched.

Find out more about holding a Mother or Parent /Daughter Workshop your community.


Book Give-Away Distribution

ITAEIY4_300x450If you missed the opportunity to get a free copy of Is There an Engineer Inside You?, you’ll have to wait until next year – unless you are one of the lucky ones who attends an event sponsored by one of our book give-away partners.

We are currently in the second year of a five year program to freely distribute 100,000 books. Books have been shipped all over the world and are also available as a free download on many partner’s websites.

In the 2013-2014 school year, about 8000 books were distributed.

This year, the numbers are already better! I am forecasting that almost 16,000 books will be distributed and downloaded – a 100% increase! There are 17 partners working hard to promote engineering education and this effort will undoubtedly reach more students, teachers, counselors, and parents.

If you have a special program and wish to receive books next year, watch for my 100K Book Give-Away announcement this Spring and jump in with your request/application.

2014-2015 EESC Distribution

  1. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (200 books)
  2. Global STEM Education Center (50 books)
  3. Nicholson STEM Academy (144 books)
  4. Reading High School (1 book)
  5. Everett Public Schools (2 books)
  6. Raisbeck Aviation High School (64 books)
  7. Rockingham Middle School (40 books)
  8. Bio-Med Academy (16 books)
  9. Penn Manor High School Engineering Club (100 books)
  10. Casa Verde High School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (30 books)
  11. Muscatine Community School District (40 books)
  12. Timberlane Regional High School (1 book)
  13. Hampton City Schools (18 books)
  14. Meadow Hill Middle School (15 books)
  15. Robbins AFB, GA (20 books)
  16. Union Public Schools (15 books)
  17. Affton High School – Future Strong STEM night (80 books)
  18. Assumption School (1 book)
  19. St. Cloud Area School District 742 (12 books)
  20. Syracuse University (40 books)
  21. Midway Elementary School of Science and Engineering (6 books)
  22. Northampton Community College (10 books)
  23. Futureintech (20 books)
  24. Wichita State University, STEMpact2020 (40 books)

2014-2015 Book Give-Away Partners

My thanks and gratitude go to the Official National Partners that banded together to put this book in the hands of thousands of students. Each partner is giving away 300 books plus their websites are great places to visit and get a free download.

  1. Auburn University
  2. Boston Society of Civil Engineers
  3. Christian Brothers University
  4. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
  5. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  6. Louisiana Tech University
  7. Missouri University of Science and Technology
  8. Northwestern State University
  9. Prefreshman Engineering Program, The University of Texas at San Antonio
  10. Purdue University
  11. Rowan University
  12. SeaPerch
  13. Society of Women Engineers, Tulsa Northeast Oklahoma Section
  14. Tulsa Public Schools
  15. University of Evansville
  16. University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  17. Weber State University


Robotics Club Interview

cuterobot1The following questions were from an interview conducted by an Elementary Education student at University of Oklahoma.

1. What are the benefits of having Robotics in elementary schools?

Robotics, or building anything, increases a child’s spatial visualization skills. In other words, it helps them see in 3-D which helps in design, creativity and “making” other things (think Maker movement). It also increases their self-esteem. In a study done in Peru, they found that in 2nd, 4th and 6th grades, students who used LEGO had an increase in self-esteem. It also increased their technology, language and math skills.

2. How can Robotics be beneficial for students who will not grow up to be engineers?

I believe an engineering education is the best education anyone can get – even if they don’t want to be an engineer because the education teaches you how to think. Students learn analytical and problem solving thought processes that help in everything that they do – even raising children (“Cheaper by the Dozen” was a movie about two industrial engineers raising 12 children).

Robotics is also a great way to figure out who you are. It’s fun, challenging and can help students find their strengths. They learn to work in teams and communicate with other people. They share ideas, come up with innovative solutions and problem solve. Again, these skills can help in everything that they do.

Another important point is exposure. How can students know what they like or don’t like and what skills they have or can develop, if they aren’t exposed to STEM based opportunities?  In the United States, 70% of the jobs require at least 4 years of math in high school. Robotics can give them the motivation to keep their aspirations high. They are exposed to the application of science, engineering, technology and math. They have the opportunity to know why they take science and math classes and have another reason to pay attention in class.

There is no downside. The worst case is that they find they don’t like it. That exposure is also important to their development.

3. How easy can it be to incorporate Robotics and Robotics-like activities into a school if you are a teacher who has no experience with robots or engineering?

In my opinion, if the teacher has the time and funding or materials, it’s very doable. The most critical elements are:

  1. Finding an engineer that is willing to help mentor and talk about real-world applications.
  2. Finding another teacher that has done it and talking to or working with them to get it started.

Some teachers have great difficulty with classroom control in engineering design. They are used to having very tight control so that their students behave in a certain way. Engineering design requires the opposite. They have to be OK with the class being loud, crazy or chaotic. Teamwork, brainstorming and designing are not quiet and orderly processes. Beginning to teach engineering or robotics in an informal club environment is a very low-stress/high-reward way to get experience teaching these subjects.

Engineering design also has a “fail” component which is opposite to how most classes are taught. Learning from failure is critical to good design. Teachers who emphasize that there are no wrong answers and that design is a constantly evolving process usually have great classroom success.