Engineer It! is a great way to introduce your students to the process of experimentation and problem solving. Each component is designed around an engineering challenge that encourages you to Think, Build, Test, and Do It Again. Engineer It! also meets Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Oregon Benchmarks to come soon!) and activities have been tested in the classroom. Before you visit the exhibit, check out this teacherís guide and classroom activities. Identify which benchmarks relate to your grade level, learn how to prepare your students for a visit, and give your students a design or engineering challenge that can be built in class and tested at the exhibit. Activities have been created to apply to different skill levels and can be adapted for your students whether you teach kindergarten, 8th grade, or a grade in-between. If you plan on bringing projects to be tested during your fieldtrip, please notify your science center or museum staff prior to your visit.
There are three thematic areas in Engineer It!--Wind, Water, and Structures.
The Wind area is designed to engage students in the problem solving techniques used by engineers as they explore aerodynamics in three wind tunnel exhibits--Walk-In Wind Tunnel*, Windmills, and Paper Airplanes. In Engineer It!, information and materials are provided to make paper airplanes and windmills that will provoke questions about aerodynamic qualities that students will be able to answer by creating experiments and testing models.
The Water area consists of three boat-making activities--Paddleboats, Sailboats, and Speedboats*--in which your students will be challenged to build their own boats given certain constraints or limits. Again the emphasis is not necessarily on boat design, but rather on the process of thinking through a problem, designing and building a model, testing that model, and then repeating--building on the first experience.
The Structures section of the exhibition features three bridge-building and two arch-building activities, three shake table activities, a walk-on earthquake platform*, and investigations with gears and pulleys. The format of Think, Build, Test, Do It Again is common throughout.
Engineer It! incorporates videos to encourage children to consider engineering as a career choice. Videos showing young people involved in discussions of engineering in the classroom and in engineering projects are available at the Video Kiosk. Two of the videos are from the PBS "Futures" series. They feature nationally recognized mathematics teacher, Jaime Escalante, and his class as they explore the topics of architectural engineering and automotive engineering.
*only found in the traveling version of Engineer It!