Your Knowledge. Their Future.
Most kids (and their parents or caregivers) don’t know any engineers or technologists and they don’t really know what engineers do. You can change this.
Whether you have just five minutes or are ready to work with a group of students over a few months, you can make a difference by sharing engineering experiences with them.
Talk to children about engineering.
Whether they are your own children, friends’ children, or students in your neighborhood, kids are curious. In just five minutes you can share what you do. Be sure to tell them about the creative, problem-solving aspects of your work. Check yourself for jargon. Tip: think about how you’d tell a 3rd grader what you do.
Visit a classroom or after-school group.
Start by introducing yourself and your work. Then lead students through a hands-on activity that features the engineering design process. This is a great way to share how engineers approach a problem, gives students an open-ended challenge that allows for an iterative development process and lets you to make connections to your work.
- Select: Engineering Activities
- Online Training: Leading Kids Through a Successful Engineering Experience
- Download: Classroom Visit Planning Guide
Present engineering as a career.
Research shows that 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).
- Online Training: Effectively Talking to Kids about Engineering
- Download: Inspire Innovation: Discover Engineering Careers
Half a Day
Invite a student to shadow you at work.
Give a student a real behind-the-scenes look at engineering. Let them sit in on meetings, visit a work site, or participate in any of the various activities that make up an average workday.
Volunteer as a judge for a science and engineering fair.
As a judge you’ll get to be in the front row and amazed at what young people are capable of creating.
- Sign Up: Future City Competition Judge
Host a DiscoverE Family Day.
Public events are great ways to celebrate and engage large numbers of children and families in engineering. Set up hands-on activity stations in museums, malls, universities, parks, or libraries.
- Online Training: Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Large Scale Event
Mentor a group of students.
Working with a small group of students is a rewarding way to help inspire the next generation of engineers and technologists. You can organize your own program or volunteer with an established program.
- Sign up: Future City Mentor