Bringing engineering into your classroom showcases the interconnectedness of science, math, technology and the humanities. Take this self-guided tutorial and learn to identify common engineering myths, build your understanding of the engineering design process and how to apply it to hands-on activities, and get concrete steps you can use to easily integrate engineering. This training is offered at three grade bands: Elementary, Middle and High.
Bringing Engineering to Life
in High School
An online tutorial for high school teachers
1. Why Teach Engineering?
2. Engineering Myths and Truths
3. The EDP (Engineering Design
4. Classroom Connections
5. Engineering Suggestions
You be a better teacher
Your students be better learners
ENGINEERING CAN HELP
Engineering offers a practical,
efficient way to teach STEM. It also
showcases the interconnectedness of
math, science, technology, and
helps students see the relevance of
these subjects to their own lives
Engineering often improves learning and student
achievement in science and math.
Source: Why Use Engineering in Education?” National Academy of Engineering
Emphasize of engineering equally
with science to underscore its
importance to K–12 education.
Next Generation Science Standards
The E in STEM pulls
it all together.
WHY TEACH ENGINEERING?
Doing engineering inspires more students than
you might expect to consider a STEM career.
Engineering is a versatile, lucrative
career on the forefront of solving the
world’s problems and making life
better. The more high school
students understand about
engineering, the more they will
consider it as a career path.
High school is a critical time to teach
engineering. It can be transformative
for both you and your students.
Next, high school math teacher Todd Matia
is going to share his experiences.
Engineers sit alone behind a
desk and do math calculations
Myths and Truths
Engineers work in teams and are
constantly on the go—holding
design meetings, reviewing specs
with clients, testing or inspecting
Engineering is the domain of
The face of engineering is
changing fast as more students
discover it as a great career.
Engineering is basically the same
thing as science, and you’re
already teaching science.
They are different and
Science answers questions through
Engineering solves problems through
Science is familiar and you know
how to teach it, but engineering
is foreign territory.
Science and engineering overlap.
The both involve…
developing and using models
refining a solution to a real-world
using mathematical representations
Myths and Truths
Engineering is dry and pragmatic,
focused on facts and numbers. It’s
not imaginative or artistic.
Engineers use their creativity
and analytical skills to invent,
design, and build things that
matter. By finding imaginative
and practical solutions,
engineers are changing the
world all the time.
design process (EDP)
is at the heart of all
This next example illustrates
what the EDP looks in a high
TENNIS ANYONE? ACTIVITY
Design a racket out of everyday
materials and use it to hit a
ping-pong ball against a target.
• Velcro ping-pong ball
• Target board
• Paper towel tubes
• Pipe Cleaners
Make a racket that hits a
ping pong ball against a
target several times.
• Use only the listed
• The racket is strong enough
to make the ball stick when
it hits the target.
• Discuss tennis racket
• Examine properties of
• Explore potential solutions
• Choose one idea
• Sketch it
• Discuss how it will work
• Look for potential
• Designs will evolve
• It’s a messy, loud stage
• It’s worth it…it makes
engineering come to life!
• Set up testing zone
• Record results
• Redesign to improve
• Add requirements for kids
who need more of a challenge
Test, Improve, Redesign
• Students present their
• Discuss what worked, what
• Say what they liked about
each other’s designs
Engineers move back and forth
among these steps. They might share
results at any point, for example, and
use feedback to go back to
Students will try to skip steps, like
design, and go right to build.
When planning, decide how much
time students will spend on each
step. You’ll also notice that some
activities emphasize certain steps
more than others.
Engineering design process
Three Teaching Methods
In all three approaches, the
teacher becomes a guide and
trouble shooter, rather than main
conveyor of information.
STUDENTS LEARN BY DOING
The second part of the formula is
combining the messages with a
Learning by doing helps students understand why
failure is such an important part of the process.
Todd, the teacher you met earlier,
uses engineering to teach project
management as well.
See how it helps his students
manage lengthy, big projects
and allows him to concentrate
on content and
How do you turn engineering into
something you can do in a high
school classroom, on a tight
YOU’VE SEEN THE BENEFITS . . .
Start by integrating engineering
activities into an existing math or
Hands-on activities are a great
way to bring engineering into
Find activities at DiscoverE.org
You may also offer a whole course on
engineering. Predesigned curricula are
available from vendors such as…
Project Lead the Way
Paxton/Patterson STEM Learning
Some schools start engineering
academies. NAF, for example, has a
high school engineering academy.
There are many other ways to
expose high school students to
An afterschool engineering club
gives students time to delve deep.
ASCE Civil Engineering Club
Invite students to participate in
engineering contests, like….
Discuss how to incorporate
engineering into the high school
curriculum with your professional
learning community or grade-level
Invite engineers into your
classroom. They can help with
a project and talk about their
Local chapters of engineering
Local engineering companies
FIND GUEST ENGINEERS
Ask students to watch, listen, or
read a news article about a problem
in their community that engineers
Visit DiscoverE to see what kinds of
engineering events you would like to
participate in with your students!
That’s it! You’re ready to bring
engineering alive for your students.
How are you going to begin?