Introduce Your Kids to Engineers
Introduce Your Kids to Engineers
This past Friday, at our homeschool co-op, two men from John Deere, one a mechanical engineer, came to speak to our STEM classes. The engineer talked about different types of engineering fields. He said that he was really into cars and tinkering when he was young. BEFORE going to college, he contacted college professors and asked them about things he could do before getting to college to prepare himself for majoring in engineering.
So fellow parents (and any kids reading this), we have to remember to think outside the box and to be proactive. What an awesome idea to contact people who are DOING what you WANT to do to ASK them what you SHOULD be doing to get to that level. Many professionals will come speak to a group of children for FREE, but we have to proactively go out and find people to help in the mentoring process of our children. I am grateful to the homeschooling mom whose idea it was to have these men come and speak to our children.
After college, the engineer from John Deere said that he worked as a Manufacturing Engineer but wanted to take part in the design process, so he went to John Deere. He also later went back and obtained a business degree as he said he learned that engineering was just a part of the process. He felt better able to communicate with non-engineers whom he worked with on projects by having the business degree.
He gave the kids examples of different types of engineers. Some of the engineering types he named were aeronautical, electrical, software, chemical, nuclear, and civil engineering.
STEM Activity to Challenge the Students
After the men from John Deere spoke to the class, the kids were given toothpicks and marshmallows, and they were given the challenge of making the tallest figure in an allotted amount of time. The structure had to be able to stand on its own. The team with the tallest figure when time was called would be the winner.
There are two STEM classes at our homeschool co-op: an elementary class and a middle/high school class. There are only 3 girls in my daughter’s elementary class, and they usually work together on a team. Their team won in their class.
After the activity, the engineer talked about a major constraint of the activity, the marshmallows. If for example, the kids had been allowed to use play doh instead of marshmallows, that would have made their structure sturdier. In the middle/high school class, he talked about an engineering field most kids probably have never heard of, Materials Engineering. He said that this field of engineering is a good field to get into.
So let ring these words ring in your mind about what the mechanical engineer said: BEFORE going to college, he contacted college professors and asked them about things he could do before getting to college to prepare himself for majoring in engineering. We can’t wait to the last minute to start preparing our kids for their futures. If we start early enough, then doing a series of small steps will add up to big things.
So if you have a friend (or a friend of a friend) who is an engineer, scientist, mathematician, architect, computer scientist, or works in any type of STEM field, contact him and see if he would be willing to come talk to your child’s class at school or perhaps a youth group at your church. Someone who already works in STEM can give your child advice from his real world experience that is invaluable.
Have fun this week making math more fun and exposing your kids to STEM activities. It is such a blessing to be able to spend time with our children and to get to help them explore new things!
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