Opening Festival

The Dream Big film aims to inspire audiences of all ages to want to learn more about engineering. An Opening Festival, held at the museums where the film premieres, provides the “learn more” right outside the theater door. Host a festival filled with family-friendly activity stations and local engineers to make a BIG impression in your community.

Blueprint for Success

1. Organize a planning committee. Bring together museum staff, education groups and representatives from the local engineering community.

2. Harness the power of the local engineering community (organizations, companies and universities) to get the word out, provide volunteers and recruit sponsors by involving them in the early planning.

3. A festival works best when you fill your space with multiple hands-on activity stations, demos and other programs selected to engage families and visitors of all ages.

4. Choose short activities that directly complement content in the Dream Big film. We suggest Windy City TowerBuild an Earthquake Resistant StructureStrongest ShapesCable-Stayed Bridge (perfect for your theater lobby), and Slender Tower.  You could also set up a demo station featuring the Engineering Encounters bridge design software as shown in the film.

5. Staff activity stations and demos with real engineers to serve as facilitators and role models. Have them watch the web tutorial Effectively Talking to Kids About Engineering.     

6. Dream Big shows kids and engineering students engaging in competitions. Invite a local Future City team to display their city model at your festival to add an element of kids talking to kids about engineering. You could also invite a local university solar car, Concrete Canoe or robotics team to demo their projects.

7. Use Dream Big’s resources—logos, photos, and artwork—to enhance your event and promotional efforts. 

8. Invite non-traditional audiences to participate in the Opening Festival.

9. Consider hosting an engineer from the DREAM BIG film at your event. (Contact MacGillivray Freeman for availability and possible costs.)

A Few More Details

  • Contact DiscoverE if you need volunteers or want to volunteer at your local museum.

  • If you are new to planning an Engineering Festival, review this brief training tutorial from DiscoverE.

  • Get more Opening Festival ideas from this chapter of the Museum Guide.

  • Get more Opening Festival ideas from this chapter of the Engineers Guide. 

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Calling All Educators

We need educators to test the Dream Big lesson plans in their classrooms and complete a brief survey. The first 100 qualified educators who complete the study earn a $50 Amazon gift card.

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