Engineering Week starts today! The National Society of Professional Engineers established this national celebration in 1951 to recognize contributions made by engineers and the impacts they have made on all of our lives, from the earliest inventors to our most modern innovators. Engineering Week always falls during the week of February 22nd, the birthday of President George Washington, who is considered our nation’s first engineer.
This year’s theme is Imagining Tomorrow. COVID-19 laid bare the critical work of engineers in creating a world safe from pandemics, climate change, cyber-attacks and other daunting global challenges. Inspired by these challenges, this year’s celebration focuses on the future and sets our sights on a more just, equitable and diverse community of engineering professionals to address the world’s needs. And, since the celebration falls within Black History month, there are additional opportunities to focus on bringing to light the often overlooked contributions to the field of engineering that have been made by Black innovators over the years.
This week, we encourage you to spend time with your students reviewing Engineering Essentials, revisiting names to know or experimenting with hands-on activities. Here’s a sample schedule you can use to customize your week to suit your learners needs:
Monday - Looking Back: A quick history lesson about the origins of engineering, or prominent engineers such as George Washington himself, can connect the dots for students in any subject. What do your learners already know about what it means to be an engineer? What inventions have engineers made that have already improved their community?
Tuesday - Experiment: Hands-on activities drive home your lesson impact. Allow your students to become engineers by giving them a job to do! Whether you decide to build chairs out of newspapers, protect an egg from falling a great distance, create an object that neither sinks or floats on top of water, or an award-winning activity from our K-5 units, you’re bound to see the gears turning.
→ Bonus! Check out our Slow Parachute engineering experiment, based on Paulo’s TryIt! Kit and Digital Storybook, for an overview of a lesson plan to use to introduce your learners to engineering principles!
Wednesday - Looking Forward: Engage your learners with their community around them with real-world connections. What problems do they see in their everyday life that could be solved with engineering skills? Encourage your students to think creatively and brainstorm creative solutions for problems like water runoff, solar lighting or climate change.
→ And, keep an eye out for our upcoming MOS exhibit: the Engineering Design Workshop! Coming March 23, our newest permanent exhibit will highlight professionals from different disciplines, including art, nature, sport, health, and re-usability, showing the diversity of engineering fields and the kinds of challenges that engineers solve for all of us.
Thursday - Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day: Girls continue to be underrepresented in engineering fields. Girl Day is your chance to showcase the important innovations that women have brought to the world of engineering. You can become a Role Model for female engineering students, examine the most popular engineering-related majors for women, or just format a lesson around the girls who have been left out of the conversation so far.
Friday - Names to Know: Whether you’re reviewing old Names To Know in Engineering posts on our blog (there will be a new one this week!), or searching through your textbooks for the unsung engineering heroes of your subject area, there are hundreds of innovators to be celebrated this week. Teach your kids about Elijah McCoy, Annie Easley or Archie Alexander or find new names to celebrate this week.
Visit the DiscoverEngineering home page for more ideas, activities and professional development resources for Engineering Week! Or, follow them at @DiscoverEOrg on Twitter - while you’re there, follow us at @EiE_Org and tag us in your Engineering Week posts using these hashtags: #Engineer4Tomorrow, #EWeek2021 and #EiECelebratesEngineeringWeek!