National Engineers Week is February 20–26, 2022! What better time to engage in engineering and design thinking activities in your classroom?! Engineering and design thinking can open up a whole new world of innovation and creativity for students.
National Engineers Week offers many opportunities to introduce your students to the world of engineering. Introduce them to change-making engineers. Engage students in a variety of STEM activities from Discover Engineering or TryEngineering. Introduce students to new stories with STEM read alouds. Celebrate Black History Month with STEM resources. Take it further by using this week to begin an engineering curriculum from the Boston Museum of Science (available for grades 3–5 or 6–8 or design your own unit with a video series called Engineering: The Engineering Process as a starting point. You can kick it all off by starting with an introduction to design thinking!
Design thinking is basically a human-centered process for creative problem solving. There are a variety of approaches to the design thinking process—some even have varied names like the LAUNCH Cycle. They all seek to engage students in creative problem-solving that translates to real-world scenarios. Design Thinking can be implemented in elementary school, ESL classrooms, middle school, and high school. There are a variety of activities available to get started, including a design thinking learning template. PBS offers lessons and activities for younger and older students, while NOVA offers a series of lessons for grades 6–12. Design thinking activities can be implemented from Kindergarten to high school. They can be simple (like inviting students to engage in a design process using materials from a creation station), complex (like game invention), and everything in between.
This February, celebrate National Engineers Week by involving your students in innovation and design thinking. As always, you can start off with classroom resources from TeachersFirst or ideas from the TeachersFirst blog. Happy National Engineer’s Week 2022!