Here are a variety of resources for teaching and learning to engineer that MMSA has discovered, used, or developed over the past several years. Within each group, we’ve put the resources in alphabetical order. Please get in touch with us if you want to talk more about engineering in the classroom!
Table of Contents
Teaching Resources, Activities & Lesson Plans
A comprehensive resource for all things biomimicry, including online courses and design challenges. Search “Ask Nature’s” comprehensive catalog of nature’s solutions to human design challenges and sign up for a free Biomimicry in Youth Education Toolkit containing lesson plans, videos, and classroom tools.
The 15 Coolest Cases of Biomimicry
This site showcases biologically inspired engineering.
City Technology K-5 Designers of the Future
Lesson plans for three topic areas: Energy Systems, Force and Motion and Stuff that Works are available along with how to videos for each component. Each curriculum unit features design activities as contexts for standards-based math, science, ELA and social studies for students in K-5.
Companion website to the PBS reality-based television show featuring teams of 15-19-year-olds who are presented with a challenge to transform raw materials into workable solutions. Design Squad offers downloadable resources, descriptions of the show’s engineering challenges and solutions, and video clips that highlight the role of engineers in society. Portals for students, educators, and parents.
An organization dedicated to encouraging K-12 youth to consider engineering as a career path. The site features a searchable resource bank containing videos, hands-on activities, event planning kits, field trip ideas. Suitable for educators, outreach volunteers, parents, and students.
Educator Resource Center, Lyman Library, Museum of Science, Boston
The Educator Resource Center, located in the Lyman Library at the Museum of Science, Boston is part of the Museum’s goal to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) literacy in grades K – 12. Educators may schedule a time to review New England’s largest collection of high-quality technology and engineering curriculum materials that have been reviewed for connections to national and state standards. Browse the complete collection of resources using the online catalog.
Encourage Young Engineers and Scientists (EYES)
Encouraging Young Engineers and Scientists (EYES) is a student-run volunteer organization at Cornell University dedicated to promoting scientific literacy by advancing engineering and the sciences as potential career choices. Lesson plans on a variety of topics designed from the input of teachers, professors, and past/present members of EYES.
Engineering Go For It!
Access lesson plans, class activities, and web resources and sign up for e-newsletters. Middle and high school students will enjoy numerous aspects of this site including E-tube (videos showcasing interesting and exciting things engineers do), “Engineer Your Path,” and a virtual magazine featuring articles about innovative engineers. From the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).
Engineering Research Overview
National Science Foundation website that addresses current research by engineers such as: How do engineers help improve health?, What role do engineers play in national security?, How do engineers strengthen the economy?, Why are engineers exploring nanotechnology? Includes an interactive portal Engineering at All Scales.
Grand Challenges for Engineering
The National Academy of Engineering has identified 14 areas awaiting engineering solutions in the 21st century. The site includes background information on each identified challenge, provides a platform for global thinking of these challenges and additional resources and opportunities for educators.
Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century
A listing of the top 20 achievements of the 20th Century based on the book A Century of Innovation. Information about how each technology changed the world; the role engineering played in its development and view a historical timeline describing its progress.
How To SMILE
An online tool that allows in and out of school educators to search, create their own collection and share high-quality, hands-on science, math and engineering activities. Collections include learning resources from the Lawrence Hall of Science, Exploratorium, Science Museum of Minnesota, Children’s Museum of Houston, New York Hall of Science, ASTC, and others.
This collection differs from the many other online resources that provide instructional materials as its emphasis is teaching practices around engineering. The collection is being created by educators as they post lessons along with teaching notes and questions. Other members comment adding additional information and suggestions. There is also a LinkEngineering collection for after/out-of-school settings. A collaboration between the National Academy of Engineering and five partner organizations: Achieve, Inc., American Society for Engineering Education, Council of State Science Supervisors International Technology and Engineering Educators Association.
Lesson plans, video clips, and numerous other engineering-related resources available by grade span for K-4, 5-8, 9-12, higher and informal education. Select “For Educators” to locate materials specific to your interest and grade level.
National Informal Science Education Network
Lesson plans, programs and activities, “mini” exhibits and kits are just some of the resources available to educators. Several digital kits, such as Nanodays, SustainABLE, and Building with Biology, are available for free download.
National Science Digital Library
Included in this searchable collection of high quality digital learning resources are instructional materials, activities, lesson plans, audio/video materials, images, web sites, simulations, visualizations, tools, and services.
PBS Learning Media
Offers short video clips and lesson plans for engineering, (listed under science) and is searchable by grade level. Includes materials from Cyberchase, Design Squad, DragonflyTV, Fetch! and other PBS programming.
PBS Learning Media Teachers Domain
Access thousands of innovative, standards-aligned digital resources interactive student experiences, and professional development opportunities associated with PBS content. Create a free account to build and organize collections to match individual needs.
Occupational Outlook Handbook Grades 7-12
Handbook describing hundreds of jobs, the training and education needed, earnings, expected job prospects, what workers do on the job, and working conditions.
Aimed at helping K-12 students, parents, and teachers quickly and easily find free project ideas in all areas of science and engineering. Students can use the “Topic Selection Wizard” feature to help find a project that best fits their interests, topic and time frame. Science Buddies has developed a blueprint that students can use to guide them through their projects.
Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers
Get to know dozens of scientists and engineers by watching video clips profiling the person’s work and secret interests and talents. From PBS’s “Secret Life” Nova series. Includes lesson plans.
Teach Engineering is searchable library comprising teacher-tested, standards-based engineering lessons for K-12 teachers to use in science and math classrooms. Lessons connect to real-world experiences and with curricular content already taught in K-12 classrooms. Also features “Sprinkles,” easy-to-conduct, abbreviated, hands-on versions of their most popular TeachEngineering activities designed for informal learning settings such as afterschool programs.
Teachers Try Science
This website for teachers provides free lesson plans, along with teaching strategies and resources designed to spark students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The site features collaboration tools, which enable teachers to discuss and share effective instructional practices.
The Tech: Museum of Innovation
Numerous resources in the Educator section including lesson plans, technology projects, and online educational resources from The Tech Museum in San Jose, California.
Developed for students, teachers, guidance counselors, and parents Try Engineering features lessons plans, contains a searchable bank of student design challenges, highlights engineering careers, and offers students answers to their engineering questions. EEE Spark, an online publication for students ages 14-18 to learn more about engineering, technology, and computing and raise excitement about careers in these disciplines. From the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), who also offer TryNano and TryComputing.
Vocational Information Center
A directory of lesson plans and activities for technical education and related vocational learning including carpentry, construction, electricity, heating-ventilation-air conditioning, plumbing, masonry, and more. (This is a curated list of useful sites. Some links may not work.)
Advanced Technological Education Television
This award-winning free Web video series features current information connecting high school students with high-tech education and employment opportunities. ATETV cameras take viewers inside the classroom and onto the job site to hear from high-tech workers themselves. This series debuted in 2009 and has been critically acclaimed for its efforts at showcasing real jobs in actual high-tech fields, and the educational paths to them. Sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation.
Applying the Design Process: Simple Solutions (6 min)
This PBS video showcases an engineering solution for third world countries to determine if water is safe to drink.
A video series that examines ultimate construction projects such as warships, public works structures, cruise liners and extreme thrill rides. The show takes viewers inside the amazing builds, interviewing on-site architects and engineers to provide a fresh perspective on complex construction techniques and unique architectural challenges. A 2003 Discovery Channel series available on YouTube #ExtremeEngineering.
IDEO Shopping Cart Project from ABC’s Nightline (21 min)
Follows a group of global design consultants as they re-engineer the common shopping cart.
LabTV is a collection of short videos featuring young (age 40 and under) medical scientists and engineers. LabTV showcases over 1,000 researchers working at dozens of leading universities, corporations, and the National Institutes of Health who will inspire the next generation of great young scientists as they share their inspiring personal stories: where they came from, how they chose their career, and why they love it. They also have a YouTUBE Channel.
Making Stuff and Making More Stuff
This NOVA series follows the cutting-edge science tied to the next wave of technological innovation. Each 60-minute episode in the 4 part series examines a thematic aspect of pushing the boundaries of how stuff is made and introduces the scientists and engineers doing the work. Making Stuff includes Faster, Wilder, Colder, and Safer; Making More Stuff includes Stronger, Cleaner, Smaller, Smarter.
NASA for Kids: Intro to Engineering (3 min)
A short video describing what engineering is and how engineers approach their work using examples from space.
Nanotechnology, Science and Engineering of the Olympic Games, the Science of Innovation, the Science of Sports and many other STEM and Innovation video clips are available for classroom use.
Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt
National Public Radio follows the manufacture of T-shirts from the farm to closet in the global economy.
The Teaching Channel
The Boeing Company and Teaching Channel teamed up to create problem-based curricula. Design challenges include Polymers for Planet, Alternative Energy, CubeSats, Spy Gliders, BioSuits, Soft Landing, Bolt Catcher, Quieter Cabin, and Composites. The materials were inspired by the science and engineering innovations at Boeing. This special collection is in addition to the classroom video snapshots already populating the Teaching Channel on a variety of STEM topics.
What is Engineering?
From cell phones and toothpaste to buildings and planes; this fastpaced 4-minute video explains what engineering is and highlights how the many fields of engineering are involved in everyday items.
Engineering Adventures Out-of-School program for Grades 3-5
Developed by the Museum of Science, Boston, Engineering Adventures is a free, downloadable curriculum created especially for kids in grades 3 – 5 in out-of-school time programs. Choose from ten units with fun, hands-on engineering design challenges based on real events around the world.
Engineering Everywhere Afterschool program for Middle School
A free, downloadable engineering curriculum for middle school-aged youth in afterschool and camp programs developed by the Museum of Science, Boston. Engineering Everywhere empowers youth to tackle real-world engineering problems using the engineering design process, creativity, and collaboration. Choose from ten units with fun, hands-on activities based on real-world engineering challenges.
Engineering is Elementary Grades K-5
A research-based, standards-driven, and classroom-tested curriculum that integrates engineering and technology concepts and skills with elementary science topics. Lessons promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and connect with literacy and social studies. Storybooks featuring children from a variety of cultures and backgrounds introduce students to an engineering problem. Students then solve a problem similar to that faced by the storybook character. Through a hands-on engineering design challenge, students work in teams to apply their knowledge of science and mathematics; use their inquiry and problem-solving skills; and tap their creativity as they design, create, and improve possible solutions. Developed by the Museum of Science, Boston.
Engineering the Future Grades 9-12
A full-year course designed to introduce students to the world of technology and engineering. Students create products that solve problems involving thermal, fluid and electrical power systems; communications; manufacturing; and construction. Each challenge involves applications of science and math. The goal is to build technological literacy and critical reasoning skills and increase the pool of students interested in technical and scientific careers.
Modeled after Family Science and Family Math, Family Engineering is a program that actively engages elementary children (ages 7-12) and their families in fun, hands-on, engineering activities and events. The Family Engineering program developed an Activity and Event Planning Guide to aid school groups and communities to host a Family Engineering event.
KIDS As Planners: A Guide to Strengthening Students, Schools, and Communities through Service-Learning
This popular guide, now in a revised and expanded third edition, provides teachers and school administrators with a road map for integrating service-learning into their classes and curriculum. By engaging students in real-world problem-solving, service-learning helps expand content knowledge, engage students and teachers, foster good citizenship, and meet the needs of diverse learners.
Project Lead the Way Grades K-12
An array of comprehensive, turn-key programs for elementary (Launch), middle (Gateway) and high school (Engineering, Computer Science and Biomedical Science) students, PLTW programs are designed to appeal to all students, from those already engaged in STEM-related fields to those who find themselves uninterested in traditional science and math curricula. Students make the critical connection between STEM principles and solving the real challenges in our communities and the world. Courses are centered on activities that are hands-on and project-based.
Science Companion Grades K-6
Science Companion’s engineering design project modules can either be stand alone or used in conjunction with Science Companion units and curriculum from FOSS and STC: Animal Homes, Electrical Circuits, Moving Systems, Simple Machines, Human Tools and Human Systems.
Stuff that Works! A Technology Curriculum for the Elementary Grades Grades K-5
A curriculum series based on everyday situations, materials, and artifacts with units organized around a single topic addressing how and why basic technology works. Guides include Mechanisms and other Systems; Packaging and other Structures; Designed Environments: Places, Practices and Plans; Signs, Symbols and Codes; and Mapping. Sample lesson plans and additional STEM lessons can be accessed on the site.
Engineering Design Process Examples
STEM Resources Designed for Girls
Though aimed primarily at middle school girls, this National Academy of Engineering resource offers profiles of women engineers, information about engineering careers, shares “fun facts” and sponsors an annual engineering essay contest for girls in grades 3-12.
Engineer Your Life
An online guide to engineering careers for high school girls. Short video vignettes and photo essays showcase female engineers working to solve problems – saving lives, preventing disease, reducing poverty, and protecting our planet.
National Girls Collaborative Project
A national effort aimed at facilitating the coordination of girl-serving projects, organizations and institutions focused on creating and sustaining gender equity in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
PBS series for tween girls interested in STEM. Each episode follows a group of middle school girls who design their own investigations on topics ranging from the environment to engineering and nutrition. The show’s website is integrated into the episodes with archived projects from the site being featured on the show.
Resources aimed at support girls and underrepresented youth in discovering a passion for technology, science, and engineering through hands-on learning and career exploration. Includes a comprehensive toolkit addressing topics such as STEM messaging, how to give girls feedback, and the art of questioning as well as a library of STEM activities.
Standards, Frameworks and Readings for Engineering & Tech
Framework for K-12 Science Education
The Framework informed the development of the Next Generation Science Standards, proposing a three dimensional approach to K-12 science education and more prominently features engineering and technology alongside the natural sciences (physical sciences, life sciences, and earth and space sciences). A must read for standards developers, teachers, curriculum coordinators, assessment developers, state and district science administrators, and educators who teach science in informal environments and more generally those interested in supporting K-12 science and engineering education. A National Academy Press resource available for free download.
Next Generation Science Standards
In the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) engineering design is integrated throughout the standards across K-12. In addition to reviewing the standards, educators should also consult Appendix I, Engineering Design, as it defines engineering, describes approaches and outlines a developmental progression of engineering across K-12 and Appendix F, Science and Engineering Practices which provides the nature of and grade span matrices for the 8 practices (the skills and the knowledge associated with those skills). Available for free download.
The National Science Teacher’s Association has developed an NGSS Hub, NGSS@NSTA, which enables easy navigation of the standards and appendices, has tools for curriculum planning and curated classroom resources for integrating engineering.
Engineering in K-12 Education
A National Academy Press resource that reviews the scope and implications of engineering education and makes recommendations to address curriculum, policy and funding. Includes analysis of several K-12 engineering curricula and includes the cognitive sciences about how children learn engineering concepts and skills. Available for free download.
How Kids Learn Engineering, Schunn
This article summarizes current research into how and when children learn engineering concepts and skills, written by Christian Schunn (2009).
Bozeman Science NGSS Video Series
To-the-point short videos for each of the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas and Cross-Cutting Concepts are overviews of each of the Next Generation Science Standard components are included in Paul Andersen’s comprehensive collection of videos.
Technically Speaking: Why All Americans Need to Know More About Technology
This book clearly and decisively explains what it means to be a technologically-literate citizen and discusses issues of concern including technological education in K-12 schools. Case studies of current issues convey why ordinary citizens need to understand technology to make responsible decisions. Available for free download from the National Academy Press.