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Investigate Fields of Engineering

Students will select a field of engineering and conduct research to learn more about it. They will write a summary telling what surprised them the most. Then they will create a brochure to teach others about their chosen field of engineering.

PROCESS:

  1. Have students identify different fields of engineering. To narrow their search, suggest that they begin with the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering's site Types of Engineering.
  2. Tell students to select one field of engineering and conduct research to learn more about it. Instruct them to identify types of jobs in that field. Challenge them to learn how the field has changed over time, specifically how women's roles in the field have evolved. Encourage students to identify prominent men and women-both past and present-who have worked in that field and to describe each person's most notable contributions. 
  3. Instruct students to analyze the information they've collected. Have them write a brief summary about what surprised them the most. Then give students time to brainstorm ideas about how they could use that information to inspire others to pursue a career in this field of engineering.
  4. Give each student a piece of plain white paper. Have them fold their papers vertically in thirds. Instruct students to use what they learned to create an innovative brochure about their chosen field of engineering.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their brochures with the class. Challenge classmates to identify at least one component in each brochure that would inspire them to pursue a career in those engineering fields.  

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:   

Grades 3-4:
Identify engineering fields as a class. Then divide the class into small groups, based on the type of engineering each student would like to pursue. Have groups conduct research to learn more about their chosen field. Instruct students to write a brief summary telling what they learned that surprised them the most. Then have each student create his or her own brochure.

Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Have each group conduct research to identify major fields of engineering. Instruct them to select one type of engineering to investigate further. When research is complete, have each student write a summary. Have students share their summaries in their groups. Then have them brainstorm ideas together. Instruct each student to create his or her own brochure about the selected field of engineering.

Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Have partners conduct research to identify major fields of engineering. Then have each student select one field to study further. When research is complete, have partners each write a summary and then share and compare what they learned. Encourage them to identify aspects of each field that they found to be the most interesting. Then have each student create his or her own brochure. Challenge students to select a design, message and format that will entice others to pursue careers in this field. 

Grades 9-10:
Have students conduct research to identify major fields of engineering. Instruct them to select the field that that interests them the most. Give students time to conduct research and summarize what surprised them the most. Divide the class into small groups. Have group members share and compare what they learned. Then have each student create his or her own brochure. Challenge them to present vital information in a creative way that will entice others to pursue careers in this field. Encourage them to include examples of the things that surprised them the most.