If you are interested in helping your kids explore and develop their engineering skills, then you might want to check out the online courses from Innovators Tribe
Innovators Tribe currently offers 3 hands on courses for kids who want to learn to design, create, and build.
Thinking Like A Carpenter (coming soon)
We were recently sent a 2 year subscription to Thinking Like An Engineer for the purpose of this review.
Thinking Like An Engineer
Thinking Like An Engineer is taught by Wayne Kroeplin, an experienced engineer and educator. This is an “Introduction To Engineering” course designed for kids in 6 grade through 12th grades. This course qualifies for highschool science credit, (check with your specific state for more info on highschool transcript requirements).
Thinking Like An Engineer is an online self paced course with 30+ hours of interactive lessons broken into 6 units.
- Unit 1 – Introduction to Engineering
- Unit 2 – Introduction to 3D Computer Design and Solid Modeling
- Unit 3 – Engineering Rollercoasters
- Unit 4 – Engineering Bridges
- Unit 5 – 3D Computer Design
- Unit 6 – Nano-Engineering
Thinking Like An Engineer includes 38 interactive lessons, 10 design and build challenge activities, activity guides, online support, and 3D design software, etc. With the subscription to Thinking Like An Engineer, we were also sent a bonus course called Thinking Like An Innovator that contained 9 additional lessons plus 3 challenge activities. Listed below is the course outline for both of these courses.
Course Outline / Table of Contents
Unit 1 – Introduction to Engineering
Lesson 1 : What is engineering?
Challenge activity: Design the tallest paper tower
Lesson 2 : Different types of engineers
Challenge activity: Design a paper structure that can carry the most books
Engineering in the News!
Lesson 3 : Engineering clean water
Challenge activity: build your own water filtration system
Lesson 4 : 14 Grand engineering challenges of the world
Unit 2 – Introduction to 3D Computer Design and Solid Modeling
Lesson 1 : How to get ideas out of your head (Tools of modern design and innovation)
Lesson 2 : Introduction to your software
Lesson 3 : Creating basic objects
Lesson 4 : Moving and connecting objects
Lesson 5 : Grouping objects
Lesson 6 : Edges and faces
Lesson 7 : Adding, Intersecting and subtracting material
Lesson 8 : Material properties
Lesson 9 : 3D scanning
Lesson 10 : Rapid prototyping – 3D printing
Unit 3 – Engineering Rollercoasters
Lesson 1 : Types of roller coasters
Lesson 2 : Roller coaster design
Lesson 3 : Energy and a little math
Lesson 4 : Roller coaster construction
Engineering in the News!
Lesson 5 : How to become a roller coaster engineer
Challenge activity: Build a paper roller coaster
Unit 4 – Engineering Bridges
Lesson 1 : An engineering mystery that stunned the world!
Lesson 2 : 5 types of bridges
Lesson 3 : Parts of a suspension bridge
Lesson 4 : How to build a suspension bridge
Challenge activity: Build and test your own suspension bridges
Engineering in the News!
Lesson 5 : Bridges and physics
Lesson 6 : Famous (and scariest) bridges in the world
Lesson 7 : Structural engineering (and a little math)
Lesson 8 : Testing the wind (gathering clues)
Challenge activity: Build your own wind tunnel and test your own model bridge sections.
Engineering in the News!
Lesson 9 : What really happened that day
Lesson 10 : Out with the old, in with the new
Lesson 11 : What engineers have learned
3D challenge: Bridge design software
Unit 5 – 3D Computer Design
Lesson 1 : Quick introduction to 3D computer design
Lesson 2 : Introduction and installation of 123D Design software
Lesson 3 : Learn how to use 123D Design (Tutorials)
Lesson 4 : Let’s make a car rim!
Design Challenge: Create a piece of furniture!
Lesson 5 : 3D printing (3D what?)
Design Challenge: Make it better in 3D!
Unit 6 – Nano-Engineering
Lesson 1 : How we see small things
Lesson 2 : The discovery of a new world!
Lesson 3 : What is Nano-Engineering?
Engineering in the News!
Summary – What do I do now?
Links for additional research in the world of engineering
High school offerings and career pathways
Thinking Like an Innovator
Lesson 1 : The 6 steps of innovation (A tragedy at sea)
Lesson 2 : What is a problem?
Lesson 3 : What is an idea?
Challenge activity: Brainstorming!
Lesson 4 : How to create more ideas
Lesson 5 : Brain Games!
Challenge activity: Mental fitness
Lesson 6 : 4 Poisons to innovators
Lesson 7 : The secret ingredient
Lesson 8 : How to make money!
Challenge activity: Solo cup
Lesson 9 : Woman Innovators
Check out this short video for more information about Thinking Like An Engineer course from Innovators Tribe:
We have only had this course a few weeks so far and all I can say is wow! This course is a wonderful way for kids to explore the field of engineering in a hands on way. Their time is divided between spending some time at the computer watching the lessons or designing, and other times actually creating different challenge projects. I am thrilled this course can be listed on my kids highschool transcript and can help them meet those requirements for graduation, while at the same time learning practical knowledge and skills that will help them as adults.
Each time my son sits down to work on his course, he is able to work independently and progress at his own pace. He logs into his program, watches the video lesson, then proceeds to the challenge activity if there is one for the lesson. Some of the lessons have challenge activities, and some do not.
My son has finished the first four lessons and challenge activities in Unit 1 and is currently working in Unit 2. I have primarily focused this review on his experience with Unit 1. His favorite part so far has been the challenge activities. There is a course outline / syllabus and a basic materials list that you can download and print.
For the first unit challenges, we gathered materials from around the house, and picked up a few at the local store too: pencil, paper, scissors, clear tape, ruler, measuring tape, masking tape, a small construction level, recycled soda bottles, measuring cup, spoon, water, dirt, coffee filter, rocks, sand, etc.
The Challenge Activities kids get to do include designing and building: various towers, structures, water filters, and more. The Design Activities kids get to do include: roller coasters, bridges, Rube Goldberg machine, and learning to design with 3D CAD software.
This is a great opportunity to learn about engineering.
Here are some of the hands on challenge activity projects my kids have been building:
Challenge Activity Lesson 1 – Design the tallest paper tower as tall as you can using only 4 sheets of paper and 1 foot of masking tape. Try to reach a goal of 5 feet tall that can stand on its own without falling over.
He tried several times to get his tower to five feet, but I didn’t get a picture of all of his attempts. The tower was difficult to get it to stand straight without it falling over.
He eventually built his base wider and wider for better stability and it resulted in a shorter than 5 foot tower.
He wanted to explore this concept even more, so he tried a different method on his own with four more sheets of paper and 1 more foot of masking tape. This time he turned his paper into a grid so he could work with it better. He said he prefers working with blocks instead of circles.
He went with a wider base again to support the upper levels and prevent it from falling over. This base was tall too. We discussed that he could have used a shorter base that was still wide.
He came up with a model he liked, that wasn’t as tall as 5 feet, but stood straight without falling over.
Challenge Activity Lesson 2 – Design a paper structure that can carry (support the weight of) the most books.
Again, he chose to work with block shapes for his support structure.
He managed to load 31 books just fine, but on the 32nd book his tower of books collapsed on 1 side.
He made various structures several times to try different systems to see which design could support the most books.
Challenge Activity Lesson 3 – build your own water filtration system.
This was a fun experiment. My son used a plastic bottle, cut in half, and covered the pouring end with a coffee filter secured with a rubber band. Then he added a layer of small pebbles, and two layers of sand to create a water filtration system.
Next, he mixed dirt into water in a measuring bowl and stirred it with a spoon until most of the dirt dissolved into the water. Then he slowly poured the dirty water into his filter system.
He was very pleased when the water coming out of the homemade filter was clear and all of the dirt was gone.
This is an excellent lesson for kids and adults of all ages. There is a shortage of clean water in this world. There are people in in various places who don’t have clean water to drink, to cook with, or to bath in. Many people die from diarrhea from bacterial and parasite contamination they get from dirty drinking water. Knowing how create a water filtration system could save your life someday.
He would definitely want to make a few modifications to this homemade filter before actually drinking this water. If left as is, he could use the clear water by boiling the water to kill any pathogens before consuming it. Or if he had access to add a layer of charcoal to the bottom layer, and a layer of grass to the top layer of this filter, and possibly even use a bandanna or tee shirt as the first layer the dirty water is poured through before it enters the filter system, would help to get the water as clean as possible.
Even his little brother was impressed he could turn muddy water back into clear water.
It seems like kids are natural engineers. They love to explore, build, create, and problem solve. From birth their mind is filled with wonder and great potential. Kids naturally have an optimistic outlook and most of the time they still believe that everything is possible. Father God is the greatest engineer of all time, and we are created in his image. No wonder kids are natural engineers!
My son really likes this course and says he enjoys learning from the instructor, Wayne Kroeplin, because he explains everything very clearly and he gives lots of examples. He is interesting to listen to. When the course is finished, hopefully he will have reached the goals of what it means to think, problem solve, design, create, and build like an engineer.
Goals kids will be able to reach by the end of this course include:
- Explain and apply 6 steps of problem-solving.
- Know how to use techniques.
- Explain ideas.
- Explain “solution.”
- Demonstrate the use of different brain-games that boost innovation skills.
- Identify the 4 poisons to innovation and their cure.
- Explain the importance of engineering and problem-solving using real-world examples.
- Explain 14 grand problem-solving challenges that need solutions.
- Define: tension, compression, twisting, bending, shearing, torsion, vortices, vortex shedding, aerodynamics, dead load, live load, structural-engineering, girder, truss, friction, potential and kinetic energies, g-force.
- Give examples of how math subjects are used in engineering: Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, Advanced Calculus, Trigonometry, Probability & Statistics, Physics.
- Demonstrate the correct use of various tools: ruler, construction level, 3D design software, etc
Thinking Like An Engineer is a terrific course. We are having a lot of fun with it. I would encourage everyone to give it a try. A great skill to have is to learn how to identify a problem or need that might be in your own home or community or across the world, and solve the need with things we can design and create. Father God has truly blessed us in his image with an intelligent mind and so much creative potential.
Be sure to check out the website and social media for all the latest news and product updates. There are also some interesting videos on the teacher’s youtube channel and you can get an even better feel for the kind of teacher he is and the materials he teaches. Right now InnovatorsTribe is running a special sale of 35% off all their courses. The current sale runs through 11/11/17.
Website (InnovatorsTribe): https://www.innovatorstribe.com/
Youtube (Wayne Kroeplin): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRZ9sOi8qIKqFH3Z5g7VURg
Homeschool Review Crew
Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using products from Innovator’s Tribe in their home.