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Project-Based Engineering for Kids

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Last update Jun 18

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This is a collection of project-based engineering lessons for kids. Project-based learning allows students to control the direction and pace of their learning. Activities that promote investigation, critical thinking, and hands-on subject matter are also central to project-based learning.

These project-based lessons focus on basic principles of physics, structural, and mechanical engineering. Physical models are built from a similar set of materials that can be easily sourced online (links are provided in-lesson).

All of the project plans in this collection are designed to be used in an after school enrichment setting, though you may use and modify these ideas for other not-for-profit purposes provided you cite The Workshop for Young Engineers.

This is a growing and improving collection of lesson plans. Please comment to share your ideas to improve lessons and photos of your designs.

Rubberband Helicopters: step-by-step style
A lesson in lift, drag, and stored energy
55K120
Cork Launcher style
Highly customizable and fun to use
23K233
Mini Siege Engines style
Three different plans for cork-shooting projectile launchers
52K181
Mechanical Hand style
A simple hinge and trigger are used to extend one's grasp
23K283
Slingshot Cars style
Fast and fun, a good introductory project. Needs a bit of space.
10K27
Quick & Fun Engineering Projects style
Add flexibility to your project repertoire.
20K60
Cable Tie Truss Bridges style
Simple, sturdy, strong.
41K69
Crash Test Cars style
Keep a hard-boiled egg safe as it races other cars down a ramp and crashes into a wall.
24K62
Easy Hydraulic Machines style
Simple hydraulics are used to power four different projects of varying difficulty.
145K115
Tornado Tower style
This open-ended design challenge requires students to build towers that can withstand gusts of wind
3.3K9
Hydraulic JudoBots style
Simple hydraulics used to control grappling JudoBots
68K117
Bow and Arrow style
Some kids would build nothing but these if I let them
30K695
Geometric Shapes style
Combine simple 2D shapes made of straws and sticks to create more complex 3D constructs
1.6K6
Propeller-Powered Car style
A well balanced project with a satisfying end product.
40K66
Top Launcher style
An unusual project that explores the gyroscope effect
17K127
Craft Stick Mouse Trap style
A unique project that mimics the way a real mousetrap functions.
12K36
No-Glue Bow and Arrow style
This project uses the same principles as the other Bow and Arrow Instructable.
2.9K13
Triangle Slinger style
A simple variant of the Viking Catapult
1.8K18
Simple Sail Car style
An easy project powered by air captured in a paper sail
5.5K18
Marble Roller Coaster style
Fun! A project to engage all ages.
65K77
Gliding Car style
Push the car off of a table and watch it glide to the floor and continue rolling
7.7K98
Pyramid Catapult style
Held together only with tape and straws, yet incredibly sturdy and high-performing
4.8K32

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