Win a Book!

BigBookCoverWin a free copy of The Big Book of Engineering Challenges by sharing a strategy on my Facebook contest thread that you use to get students interested in learning more about engineering or STEM careers. We are giving away five books. The winners will be chosen at random. You can enter once per day. Winners will be announced on Monday, November 16, 2015.

Note: For every 100 comments, I will give away an additional five books! Increase your chance of winning by inviting your friends and colleagues to participate!


Get ready for 2014!

With 2014 right around the corner, it’s time for all of of us to reflect on our 2013 accomplishments and areas that we’d like to improve.

My professional New Year’s resolutions always looks something like this:

  1. Find new ways to communicate the cool factor of an engineering education.
  2. Conspire with other engineering evangelists to find new ways to communicate the cool factor.
  3. Communicate the cool factor to teachers, counselors and parents.
  4. Spread the joy.
  5. Repeat often.

Although my list defies resolution etiquette by not being very specific, it works for me. Sometimes I also add in the margin my definition of “cool factor” just in case I learn new things about engineering and somehow overlay the old information instead of adding to it.

Margin notes: Cool Factor = An engineering education teaches you how to think. You learn analytical, logical and problem-solving skills that help in everything that you do. Consider engineering education as a launching pad to become anything that you want to be. Spatial visualization, problem solving, teamwork, communication, and creativity can be transferred and applied to any field and are excellent tools for the future – whatever your future may be. Once you finish an engineering degree, you really feel like you can do anything.

This is how I do my part in making a better world. If people can spend 8-10 hours a day doing something they enjoy, the world will be a better place.

Happy Holidays!

In Search of an Icon

If we want engineering to be more broadly accepted by mainstream society and the media, we need to define what an engineer looks like. The field of engineering has become larger and more encompassing over time.

Engineers come in all forms.  There are currently 2.3 million engineers, engaged in everything from design to sales to testing, manufacturing, training, and marketing. You can find engineers working in the field, behind a desk, in a production plant, at a customer site, or even on an airplane. Engineers design, manufacture, build, research, write, investigate and present their findings. It’s easy to think of engineers designing rides at Disney or crawling around inside of a bridge to check for stress cracks – we know what that looks like but what about the engineers who don’t design our modern conveniences and structures? How do we show an appealing image of an engineer who is checking air quality or researching new and safer ways to dispose of compact fluorescent light bulbs?  How do we show students the image of an engineer who is trying to find ways to save animals on the brink of extinction? How do we show an engineer who is working on developing safer foods, less hazardous farming techniques or ways to cut down on crime? That’s a lot of job descriptions and categories to narrow into one icon that defines an engineer.

If Hollywood can make CSI shows look good to students (forensic scientists often study dead people for clues), we can definitely find a way to make engineering look more appealing too. And it starts with an icon or symbol that we can associate with an engineer.

All ideas are welcome!

Teaching Engineering Made Easy!

teme2ndThe engineering activity book, Teaching Engineering Made Easy: A Friendly Introduction to Engineering Activities for Middle School Teachers is being released in an 2nd edition! Updated and improved, it features activities for Chemical, Civil and Mechanical Engineering as well as team building and problem solving too. Each type of engineering also includes content on engineering careers so that you can inspire students to do their best by showing them not only how much money they can make right out of college but also what they can do with an engineering education (if desired, these pages are also reproducible as student handouts). By using this teaching guide, students can see that engineering is not something to be afraid of but a realistic way to solve the problems of everyday life.

This easy and exciting time and work saving book was developed to help middle and high school teachers with no engineering background teach engineering. It gives classroom teachers an easy and dynamic way to meet curriculum standards and competencies. You’ll find the lessons and activities to actively engage students in learning about engineering and our technological world by applying creativity and innovation as they complete the projects. The activities do not require a formal science lab and can be done with materials that are inexpensive and easy to find.

Each lesson includes background information, ITEEA and NSTA Standards Alignment, a list of materials needed to complete the activity, an easy-to-follow procedure for presenting the lesson, teacher notes, reproducible student sheets, and safety notes. Activities range from 20 minute problem solving exercises to several class period design or “challenge” activities.

Because I want you to be successful in the classroom, I have a few special offers.

1.    For every educator that orders this new edition before the publication date, you will also receive three PowerPoint presentations that you can use in class to explain about chemical, civil and mechanical engineering careers. They are colorful, engaging, and designed to save you time.

2.   A few years, ago, I wrote a book called, Engineers Make a Difference: Motivating Students to Pursue an Engineering Education with a Foreword by Cary Sneider. Because these books go hand-in-hand, everyone will receive a rebate certificate to receive a free copy! When you receive your order of Teaching Engineering Made Easy, just fill out the rebate certificate and mail it to us. We’ll ship your copy of Engineers Make a Difference right away for free.

3.       Last but not least, we have created several new activities for this new edition. I wanted the book to be more dynamic and fun. I prefer projects that are visual, make noise, fly, and move, so this updated edition reflects my passion in building. However, in the end, I found that we had several “spare” activities that are really good but we couldn’t fit them in the update. I’ve decided that everyone who purchases the new book will also receive all of the spare activities for free.

So order this updated and improved second edition today! You’ll receive three PowerPoint presentations (for Chemical, Civil and Mechanical engineering careers), a free copy of Engineers Make a Difference and a stash of extra engineering activities. You really can’t lose!

You can read the reviews, see the table of contents and watch my video trailer online.

Thanks for what you are doing to get kids interested in engineering!