Talking to Kids about Engineering


Most kids don’t know any engineers or technicians. And they don’t really know what engineers do. This leads to interesting assumptions—like engineers sit in a cubicle doing math problems all day.

Take five minutes and share what you do! Tell them about the creative, problem-solving aspects of your work. Check yourself for engineering jargon. Tip: think about how you’d tell a 3rd grader what you do.

Two other points:

  • Focus on engineering outputs. A lot of kids (and their parents) think engineers have to be straight A students to be a successful engineer. Rather than talk about what course requirements students need, talk about the rewards of being an engineer.
  • Connect engineering to helping people. Research shows when engineers share how their work makes a difference in people’s lives, girls and boys are more interested in the field. When you describe your work, share more than what you do (e.g., I design satellites). Talk about how your work benefits people or society in general (e.g., I design satellites that help detect drought or are used to predict the weather).

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