National Engineers Week (NEW) is just around the corner. I have never been very aware of what activities are associated with NEW because we are usually heads down finishing robots at the same time. NEW tends to coincide with the last frantic week of build season for FRC and also right before the Oregon FTC Championships. So a lot of Oregon’s future engineers are celebrating in spirit but don’t have much time in practice to participate in their activities.
I’ve searched around their website and they have some cool resources that definitely bear further investigation.
Future City Competition: A middle school project based activity/competition in which students design a virtual city using SimCity4 software. Together with professional engineer mentors, they tackle real-world problems and design solutions. In addition to the virtual design component, there are essays to write, a model to build and a presentation to give. It appears there is no Oregon region but Washington does participate. It looks like it would be a lot fun and allow for lots of creativity and imagination. The time line is September – January with National Comptition taking place during National Engineers Week.
Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day: This traditionally takes place on the Thursday of National Engineers Week. There is a pledge for mentors to take to provide activities that get girls interested in engineering. In the old days, getting girls into science meant painting their chemistry set pink (and sometimes still is–here is a thoughtful blog post from Scientific American on this topic). Today cooler heads have prevailed and we have learned that the key to engaging girls in science and engineering is to show girls how creative and collaborative engineering can be. Getting to the heart of what satisfies professional women about their work is what truly motivates girls to pursue these fields. If they want to do it wearing pink and sparkly hair ties, more power to them. But its not required.
Discover E/ K-12 Engineering: Resources for educators to use during Engineers week (or any time).
Even if we’re working like crazy to finish robots during National Engineers Week, I’m going to take a little extra time to talk to the students around me about engineering as a school or career choice. There are lots of tools on the NEW website that should help with that.