A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that DiscoverE features information for kids in grades K-12 about engineering and items to help adults discuss the subject. There are no ads included anywhere on the site or its related pages. While some content is intended to help adults offer engineering-related advocacy, there's nothing inappropriate on the site. Most of the content for kids involves engineering-related learning activities that take from 30 minutes to multiple days to complete. To download the exercises, you need to enter your first and last name, email address, city and state, country, what organization you're with, and select volunteer, educator, or other.
What's it about?
DISCOVERE offers engineering career information and hands-on activities for K-12 students from a non-profit engineering outreach organization. Kids can, for instance, learn about circuits and conductors, building bridges, or design an assembly line, as an industrial engineer might. The activities involve a number of engineering disciplines, ranging from chemical to aerospace. Information about ongoing programs to encourage future engineers, online training to help volunteers and educators talk to kids about engineering, and other content about the field are also available.
Is it any good?
Kids can access dozens of interesting activities that offer experience with a number of types of engineering. There's also career-related information on DiscoverE for kids who are considering entering the field. Ones who aren't considering becoming an engineer, though, may also enjoy trying some of the nearly 200 engaging exercises. They can see how drag from air friction affects a plane they've built, for example. Some don't even require many materials, such as a coding activity where kids write instructions to direct someone to build a pyramid with cups.
Kids may not be too interested in some of the content on the site, such as the engineering advocacy training videos meant for adults. But descriptions of what engineers do and types of engineering careers, along with tips on how to prepare to focus on engineering in college, offer helpful information for kids who hope to pursue a career in the field. Activities list a suggested grade level, the time they take, and the topics and specific engineering disciplines that are involved. Kids can search for activities by discipline or for items that feature certain elements, like electricity or health. Many activities mention real-world applications, such as using magnetism to move trains instead of fossil fuels. A number of the activities have directions that are intended for adults, not kids -- mostly likely educators, since kids are referred to as students -- with recommendations to address certain concepts kids might be unfamiliar with. That may not immediately resonate with kids, but since DiscoverE projects can involve multiple steps and assembling various materials, an adult may need to help kids complete them. Ultimately, though, this shouldn't prevent kids from wanting to try things from the site.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how DiscoverE describes pursuing a career in engineering. What discipline would interest your child the most?
Does your child get frustrated if an activity takes some time to finish? Help your child complete one of the lengthier activities on the site to illustrate the importance of not giving up.
Can your child find an example of a project that's listed on the site that involves making something more green? What's the ecological impact of creating new systems or engineering new products?
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