Modeling Engineering Practices

Modeling Engineering Practices

Staff and volunteers will facilitate STEM learning experiences for youth to engage in engineering practices, including defining the problem, designing a solution, testing, responding to failure, and optimization.

As a result of ongoing, consistent professional development efforts, taff and volunteers will be able to:

  • Describe engineering practices in terms youth can understand.
  • Facilitate engineering challenges: including opportunities for youth to ask questions, define problems, evaluate solutions. and develop models or prototypes.


This is a Test

Participants will reflect on the Try and Try Again Video-Based Learning Module in order to emphasize the engineering design process.

View Guide

Re-Testing and Success

Participants will analyze a Video-Based Learning Module of staff supporting youth to re-test in order to help youth succeed through persistence.

View Guide

It’s a Process

Participants will engage in NASA’s Heavy Lifting Balloon Rocket activity to plan high-quality engineering activities.

View Guide

Easy as a Pickle Sandwich

Participants will design a sandwich “protector” to learn how engineers use multiple practices to design solutions.

View Guide

Discussing Testing in the Design Process

Participants will do a chalk talk around engineering design and testing in order to incorporate thoughtful testing and local resources.

View Guide

Design and Test

Participants will use “What-If” cards in order to help youth engage in engineering design practices like using criteria and constraints, facing a failed test, and redesign.

View Guide

Computer Science: It’s Easier Than You Think

Participants will explore what computer science is, why it is important for youth in their program, and how they can successfully teach computer science.

View Guide

Soda Straw Rockets

Build an air powered rocket and test how different factors affect the flight of your soda straw rocket.

Get Activity

Making, Tinkering & Engineering: What’s the Difference?

Making, tinkering, and engineering activities are all excellent ways to engage children and youth in afterschool and summer programs. A search of all three terms provides a myriad of activities that range from simple to complex, and that use materials from the standard kitchen or desktop items to computers and 3D printers. The kind of activities you choose will depend on your goals.

Learn More