E is for Engineering and Everything

Scientists typically seek multiple strands of evidence to support or refute claims about the natural world, while engineers use an iterative problem solving process to meet specific, often human-related, needs.
–STEM Teaching Tools

e3 – engineering everything everywhere * Food * Toys * Water * Firefighting * CPALMS* engineering words * designed- built- man-made world * Engineering Today ET – daily engineering fact

5 minutes – simple intro activity

  • nature / designed built “man made” – favorite things
  • shapes 2d 3d spatial visualization
  • new – since you were born – write on board. card
  • old – primitive Greek Roman
  • borrowed – used for something else – space program
  • simple machines – Wonderopolis
  • engineering design process * plan create ask ? * deep * launch
  • notice listen question – troubleshoot fix improve * explore examples engineering * what how why
  • ask – question formulation
  • society – tech awards engineers without borders
  • “of the day” – fact definition word artifact * article

Explore – What’s the problem? Why?

  • Engineering – what it is – old new borrowed blue
  • Basic human needs * Maslow * Basic needs – food, water, clothing, housing, sanitation, education, healthcare * personal care, essential furnishings, transportation, communication, laundry
  • kids – infants, toys, games
  • families, community, celebration
  • improvement, exploration, discovery
  • Water * Shelter * Healthcare * Survival * Water– clean drinking water – filtration, vaporize, condense, manufacture – plastic forming *Firefighting – fire hydrant – valve, city water system
  • Engineering Challenges * Places – buildings, roads, bridges * Things – toys, planes, boats, trains, cars, pottery * People – engineers, inventors

Examples – What can it do?

Engineering – How does it work? How did they do that?

  • questions
  • Parts * Connections
  • Form and function * Maintainability * Sustainability * Scalability
  • Innovation * Invention * Automation
  • [Design thinking * Engineering design process * Failure * prototype * simulation * testing * Failure analysis * ask imagine plan create improve * find use protect make solve share * prototype test revise share present launch
  • Education * Maker space * Learning by Doing * myths, misunderstanding, misrepresentation * apprenticeship, internship * discovery / service learning * SWENext Educator * College Engineering Schools * feedback * celebrate * playful mindset
  • girls * Engineering Education Network * Think positive – self-confidence
  • questions, complexity, modeling, computational thinking, programming python, jupiter notebooks, feedback


  • K-5 teaching * engineering everywhere * notice, observe, listen * questions * feedback
  • engineering design process * inquiry * discovery * models, cycles
  • classroom * activities * just a minute * STEAM
  • playful mindset * toys
  • self-directed
  • path – framework, guide
  • strategies, global, big picture / local, individual, small group

engineering habits of mind

  • Engaging, fun, hands-on activities for the classroom
  • Ways to have students engage in engineering design processes
  • Ways to integrate engineering into the classroom
  • Increased awareness of engineering careers in today’s world

If it isn’t naturally occurring, it is Engineering.

Engineering has long been the silent E in STEM. And that is about to change. STEAM with the addition of Art, has shifted from the narrow focus on “hard” subjects to a broader, more holistic view of identifying and solving problems. This is a shift from the individual effort and the one “right” answer to collaborative approaches to addressing challenges that can extend to global implementation to benefit humanity and beyond, to exploring the outer reaches of the universe..

  • Leverage the power of E. We encourage teachers and students to tap into their inner engineer, exercising their imaginations, ingenuity, and critical thinking.

Because Engineering is everywhere it is harder to pick it out. Science and Math, even Art and Technology can be identified as separate things and can be broken into some basic pieces for teaching and learning. Engineering has lots of complex interconnected parts. That’s why Engineering is so interesting.

Engineering makes more sense with a top down approach. Start with the “big picture”.

  • Explore – What’s the problem? Why?
  • Examples – What can it do? * solutions, something that solves a problem or part of it
  • Engineering – How did they do that? How does it work?

In Engineering, there is a design process that considers all the requirements and limitations and constrains to come up with the “best” solution within these constraints and limitations. Usually it isn’t just a “one and done” – there is a lot of trial and error that goes into coming up with the appropriate solution for now. There could be “better” solutions under different circumstances in the future. That’s what makes Engineering so interesting!

Engineering notes for lesson plans

Engineering is everywhere. If it isn’t nature, it is Engineering. But Engineering is the “silent” E in STEM. We want to change that. We need your help to highlight the Engineering that is all around us.

I would appreciate your input and feedback on our project to raise awareness of Engineering in K-3. Engineers do so much more than drive trains. Research shows that kids start losing interest in STEM as early as third grade. You can help us help teachers relate their current lessons to broader STEM ideas that include Engineering.

You don’t have to know anything about Engineering. You actually know a lot more than you think you do. You just didn’t know that it was Engineering.

With the help of professional Engineers, Engineering students and STEM educators, the project team are reviewing many of the Florida CPALMS lesson plans for your grade level. They will highlight the Engineering ideas and vocabulary, and suggest facts and examples that you can include in your lesson. If you have other sources for lesson planning, we would be happy to include those as well.

These Engineering notes or “highlights” will be short and engaging. Just a few grade appropriate definitions and a couple of facts. Nothing complicated or time consuming.

The project is just getting started. I need 10 minutes of your time to discuss our project ideas and get your thoughts. It would be great to get information on your upcoming topics and lessons that you are planning to use. The project team can start reviewing those specific lessons to provide you with samples of the engineering highlights for your review and use.

I’m at Burns regularly, usually on Tuesdays.

Please let me know if you are interested. We can get together and chat. If you have questions. please don’t hesitate to call or email

Thanks. I look forward to working with you.

Warmest regards