Go to the EiE Blog homepage

Do I Have to Buy the Engineering Kit? Here's How to DIY

Posted by Cynthia Berger on Thursday, August 11, 2016

Each Thursday on the EiE blog, we offer tips for teachers and answer your questions. 

2015.08.06_EiE_Materials_Kit_Parachutes-1Q. Our district will allow us to purchase EiE Teacher Guides, but not the Materials Kits. I really want to teach EiE! Can I still use your curriculum?

A. Yes! When we designed each curriculum unit, we deliberately created activities that call for easy-to-find, inexpensive materials so you can put together your own kit.

Go to the landing page for the unit you plan to teach and download a complete materials list. Or look in the front of your Teacher Guide; you'll find a materials list on page 20.

Your Teacher Guide is in a three-ring binder, so you can open the binder, remove the list, and take it with you to the store. (Or make a photocopy you can mark up!)

Each list specifies what materials you’ll need for a class with 30 students. As a homeschool educator, you can adjust those numbers downward to match the number of students you teach.

Engineering with Everyday Items


You probably have many of the materials you need for K–5 engineering right in your home . . . everyday items like empty juice cartons, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and drinking straws for the Designing Plant Packages unit, or plastic bags, masking tape, permanent markers, and coffee filters for the Designing Parachutes unit.

For materials you might not have on hand—like an inexpensive calculator, a big piece of posterboard, or safety goggles—check your local office supply store, discount department store, craft store, or home improvement store. Dollar stores also have some good deals on classroom engineering supplies!

If you do have difficulty finding an item you need for an EiE activity, please contact us at eie@mos.org and we'll help you locate an online vendor.

Inexpensive by Design

If your school is on a tight budget, you may achieve some savings by putting together your own EiE kits, depending on where you live and what unit you plan to teach.

But please know that we receive bulk discounts on the items in our kits, and we pass those discounts along to you. As a nonprofit organization, we’re absolutely dedicated to keeping our prices as low as possible, to make our materials as accessible as possible.

Get more answers to your questions on our EiE FAQs page.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on August 6, 2015.  It has been carefully reviewed for accuracy and up-to-date information.

Engineering is Elementary is a project of the National Center for Technological Literacy® at the Museum of Science, Boston.

Written by Cynthia Berger

Topics: EiE Resources for Teachers, EiE Teaching Tips

Subscribe to Email Updates