Teaching Engineering Made Easy; A Friendly Introduction to Engineering Activities for Middle School Teachers (Volumes 1 and 2) are books of 20 engineering activities designed to introduce both teachers and students to the world of technology and engineering. Developed to help middle school teachers with no engineering background teach engineering, these easy and exciting, time and work saving books can be used in the classroom, an informal science environment, to enhance an event or competition, at an engineering camp or any other educational setting. They offer a ready collection of projects, lessons and activities to help teachers stimulate student’s thought processes and get them thinking like an engineer. By using these teaching guides, students can see that engineering is not something to be afraid of but a realistic way to solve the problems of everyday life.
The activities do not require a formal science lab and can be done with materials that are inexpensive and easy to find. Activities range from 20-minute problem solving exercises to several class period design or “challenge” activities. The challenge activities integrate perfectly with the Disciplinary Core Ideas of the NGSS. Engineering challenges are design problems that require students to identify needs, define problems (ETS1.A), identify design criteria and constraints, develop solutions (ETS1.B), and evaluate their solutions (ETS1.C).
In these activities, there are more than one “right” answer. In a class of 10 student teams, you will often see 10 different designs that all meet the design criteria. The right design is usually one that meets the engineering criteria and is built within the materials budget. Students will design, construct, and test their engineering design solution and collect relevant data (if applicable). They will then evaluate the solution in terms of design and performance criteria, constraints, priorities, and trade-offs while also identifying possible design improvements.