Changing Our World: Girls in Engineering Day Activities

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day which aims to mobilize women and men in an effort to connect girls to careers in engineering.

Engineering Day Activities @EvaVarga.netIn years past, we have taken part in several Girls in Engineering events locally, supported by universities and private organizations including the American Association of University Women, The Society of Women Engineers, and SciGirls. As a result, my daughter has been encouraged to pursue a career in a STEM field.

Founded originally by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, National Engineers Week is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. The 2016 National Engineers Week is February 21st – 27th.

Only 12% of the nation’s engineers are women, and more than half of school-aged girls say they do not consider careers in science, technology, engineering or math. Misha Malyshev, CEO of Teza Technologies,  works with partner nonprofits to increase educational opportunities and encourage young women to pursue STEM careers.

Learn how you can encourage your girl to take an interest in science and engineering.

Girl Day Celebrates Girl Engineers

February 25th has been designated as Girl Day, an opportunity to teach girls about the difference they can make in the world as an engineer or STEM professional and to celebrate women in STEM. The goal is to show girls how creative engineering is and how engineers are changing our world. 

Engineers Week_Girl DayKids (especially girls) often don’t know about engineering, or they have misconceptions about the field. Whether you are a parent, teacher, counselor, or volunteer here are five things to share about engineers and their work.

Curiosity—Engineers ask lots of questions. Why? How? What if? 

Creativity—Engineering is a great outlet for the imagination—the perfect field for independent thinkers. 

Teamwork—Engineering takes teamwork, and engineers work with al kinds of people inside and outside the field. Whether they’re designers or architects, doctors or entrepreneurs, engineers are surrounded by smart, inspiring people.

Opportunities—An engineering degree offers lots of freedom in finding a person’s dream job. It can be a launching pad for jobs in business, design, medicine, law, and government. To employers or graduate schools, an engineering degree reflects a well-educated individual who has been taught ways of analyzing and solving problems that can lead to success in all kinds of fields.

Helping Others—Imagine what life would be like without pollution controls to preserve the environment, life-saving medical equipment, or low-cost building materials for fighting global poverty. All this takes engineering. In very real and concrete ways, engineers save lives, prevent disease, reduce poverty, and protect our planet.

Hands-on Activities 

Looking for a hands-on activity for your co-op or STEM Club? Here’s are a few of my favorites:

Reverse Engineering Activity—The science of taking things apart to see how they work; kids LOVE this activity.

Protect the Beach—Engineers design and build protection for our beaches, lakes, and rivers. From DiscoverE, this activity demonstrates how waves affect sand on a beach.

Seismic Shake-Up—From Design Squad Global: Hundreds of millions of people live in places around the world where earthquakes are common. Can you design a structure that’s stable and sturdy enough to survive an earthquake’s vibrations? Then test your structure on a shake table, a device engineers use to simulate the shaking of an earthquake.

Build a Simple Motor—Explore in depth how we can convert the potential chemical energy inside a battery to kinetic energy by creating a very simple motor.

Emergency ShelterFrom Design Squad Global: Who might need an emergency shelter—and why? People seeking shelter could include hikers, campers, homeless people, or people caught in a flood, hurricane, or other disaster. Decide who you want to design your shelter for. Then build one sturdy and big enough to hold at least one person.

Build a Roller Coaster—Last time you went on an amusement ride, did you realize it took engineers to design such thrill-producing rides and keep them safe? Different types of engineers work together to build roller coasters. Mechanical engineers might design the loops & drops while structural engineers oversee the structural aspect of the design. Let’s get creative! Design and build a roller.

Engineering: World's Tallest Buildings Unit StudyYou might also be interested in the engineering unit I developed for my STEM Club kids as we explored the World’s Tallest Buildings. This short unit study includes a timeline project, integrated writing assignment, and an oral presentation.

Linking up at Junior High Junction

About Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥