These days, everyone knows about the importance of STEM programs, classes, and activities for kids, but where should homeschoolers turn to teach more complex ideas to their middle school and high school students? We were recently given a complimentary review subscription to Thinking Like an Engineer, an online course from Innovators Tribe. THIS is a terrific resource to teach upper level thinking, problem solving, construction, design, and to help them tackle challenges in a creative and innovative way.
There are many ways that families could use this program. You certainly don’t have to homeschool to pick up this online course for your child. The entire course includes about 30 hours of work, which includes challenge activties, video lessons, using special 3D design tools, and more. A list of the modules and content, as well as the supplies needed to complete the course, are available to view and print out as well.
Thinking Like an Engineer Online Course
Thinking Like an Engineer covers many interesting topics. Even if your child has no interest in becoming an engineer one day, the complex thinking and ability to put their ideas into practical use is powerful. I watched my children gain confidence through doing the activities with it.
They will learn about nano engineering, building bridges, building roller coasters, types of engineers, 3D design, how to become an engineer, and more.
If you wanted to use it more quickly, you could easily complete it within several weeks. Once completed, it could count as a quarter high school credit. There is also a Thinking Like an Architect course, and a Thinking Like a Carpenter class is coming soon. Each of those could count as the same, so you could almost have a full year credit soon if your child completed them all!
My daughter and my oldest son have been enjoying the challenges in this Innovators Tribe class. I love the convenience of the online class, but the actual hands-on application expected of them. For the first challenge, they were given a little bit of masking tape and a few sheets of paper and were supposed to construct a free-standing tower that reached 5 feet tall.
My daughter finally figured it out, but it was hard for her! She went through about 6 different prototypes before discovering that having a tripod stand and tightly rolled paper was the way to go to create a structure that wouldn’t topple and that would reach the height needed.
I appreciated that no special or hard-to-find supplies were needed. Within the whole course, you simply need regular paper, card stock, scissors, clear tape, masking tape, and a small construction level. That’s it! I can totally deal with a supply list like that, what about you?
Online STEM Coursework for Middle and High School Students
The online class is set up to where it is very simple to use. You won’t have to worry about having complicated back end access to anything or huge record reports and data to track. This course does NOT keep grades, but students are encouraged to keep a course journal about the tasks they complete and information they learn.
When your student logs in, they are guided through the modules and a check appears as the different parts of the lessons are completed.
My kids had no trouble moving through the work. They loved that there were video lessons and explanations. I also heard my daughter say that she was glad that it was pretty brief. It gave just enough information to let her know what to do and give her a jumping off point for the challenge activties involved.
In addition to receiving this course with 30 hours of instruction and activities, you receive a BONUS mini-course. It is called Thinking Like an Innovator and has about 4 hours of work, including 8 lessons and some hands-on challenges. I think that’s a great way to end the engineering course, and it looks like a lot of fun, too!
I’m excited to complete this over our school year and into the summer. It’s cool to see my children thinking about their world in a new way and actually getting their hands “dirty” creating and designing things. I’ll be honest, I may jump in and do some of the challenges with them in the future! It’s great to get those creative juices flowing, and for a purpose.
To see how other families enjoyed this program, or to see how others liked the Thinking Like an Architect class, click the banner below.