Ten engineering challenges for elementary pupils

In the context of the European educational project ENGINEER, ten different “challenges” have been developed in ten different engineering fields.

The challenges are teaching modules/courses and consist in a useful toolbox for teachers to present science and technology in a pleasant and entertaining way in the classroom. In this way, the pupils are introduced to the Engineering principles in an early stage, develop their knowledge and skills and they may be encouraged to select STEM courses in high school.

The engineering “challenges” have been developed by science museum specialists in cooperation with elementary school teachers. Students follow a five-step design process (“Ask”, “Imagine”, “Plan”, “Create”, “Improve”) using engineering principles to solve simple problems such as building a glider to carry messages between friends or constructing a system to water plants. They start with investigating the problem and looking at the science needed to solve it. Then applying this knowledge, they design and create solutions to an engineering problem.

The project is based on the highly successful Engineering is Elementary (EiE) program, a brainchild of Boston's Museum of Science, which now operates in many states throughout the US.

Target: 9-12 years old

  1. Huff and puff: Designing a device for measuring exhalation volume
  2. A fine balance: Building a hanging sculpture
  3. Knee deep: Designing and constructing a water pond
  4. High and dry: Protecting objects on a floating platform
  5. Music to the ears: Designing and creating a sound generator
  6. Suck it up: Designing a contraption that sucks up debris
  7. Life support: Direct water flow to plants
  8. Frisky feet: Winter-proof a pair of shoes
  9. Popular mechanics: Becoming a designer of machines
  10. High flyers: Building a glider with everyday materials

The ENGINEER project was funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Program, Science and Society (No 288989)