National Engineering Week 2016: A Week of Engineering Activities

This week we celebrate engineers all around the country and the contributions they’ve made to society. In the U.S., National Engineering Week usually falls on the same week as George Washington’s birthday to pay tribute to his surveying and map making skills in the late 1700’s. It has been said that Washington surveyed over 200 tracts of land and is considered the first engineer for his work. In honor of National Engineering Week and all of Washington’s contributions, we’ve gathered a week’s worth of engineering activities you can try at home or in the classroom!

Day 1: Gumdrop Structures Engineering Challenge

To start your National Engineering Week off try this fun activity from The Homeschool Scientist!  The challenge is to design a structure that can hold a textbook using only gumdrops and toothpicks. Get all of the steps here and see if your children or students are up for the challenge!GumdropTriangles

Day 2: Design and Build a Roller Coaster

We found this fun, engineering activity over at Planet Smarty Pants. The idea is to have your children come up with their own roller coaster design and build it out of common materials you probably already have in your house. This also allows their creativity to really shine through and gain hands-on experience with building and designing the structure themselves. Get the full instructions here to make your very own roller coaster!


Day 3: Baking Soda Powered Boat

Make your own boat and watch it go with this activity from Science Sparks! We all know when baking soda and vinegar react it makes for an awesome science experiment as well as sensory play overload! Get the steps here and become your own boat engineer.Baking soda boat


Day 4: Which Shape is Strongest?

This activity from All for the Boys tests to see if a certain shape is stronger than another. Keep piling books or some other object on each shape and see which one can hold the most! For full instructions click here.


Day 5: Heat Saving Device

Now that your students are becoming expert engineers, let’s try a more difficult experiment. This experiment over at PBS Kids asks you to create your own device that keeps food warmer for a longer period of time. For all the details go here!


Day 6: Make a Rubber Band Car

This experiment from provides a great opportunity to introduce basic scientific principles such as kinetic, potential and mechanical energy. Build different sizes of this rubber band car and see which one is faster! For the full details click here.


Day 7: Newspaper Towers

As National Engineering Week comes to a close, we think this experiment is the perfect way to end the week! From The Ardent Teacher, this newspaper tower experiment tests both height and strength to see which tower can hold the most weight. For the full instructions you can go here and see what kinds of towers your students come up with!


We hope you enjoy this week’s worth of engineering activities for National Engineering Week! Please let us know in the comments below how these turned out for you and your students!

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