Instructables

Project-Based Engineering for Kids

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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
58K120
Cork Launcher style
Highly customizable and fun to use
24K241
Mini Siege Engines style
Three different plans for cork-shooting projectile launchers
54K188
Mechanical Hand style
A simple hinge and trigger are used to extend one's grasp
24K292
Slingshot Cars style
Fast and fun, a good introductory project. Needs a bit of space.
11K28
Quick & Fun Engineering Projects style
Add flexibility to your project repertoire.
22K61
Cable Tie Truss Bridges style
Simple, sturdy, strong.
42K69
Crash Test Cars style
Keep a hard-boiled egg safe as it races other cars down a ramp and crashes into a wall.
25K66
Easy Hydraulic Machines style
Simple hydraulics are used to power four different projects of varying difficulty.
152K116
Tornado Tower style
This open-ended design challenge requires students to build towers that can withstand gusts of wind
3.6K9
Hydraulic JudoBots style
Simple hydraulics used to control grappling JudoBots
69K117
Bow and Arrow style
Some kids would build nothing but these if I let them
30K703
Geometric Shapes style
Combine simple 2D shapes made of straws and sticks to create more complex 3D constructs
1.9K7
Propeller-Powered Car style
A well balanced project with a satisfying end product.
41K69
Top Launcher style
An unusual project that explores the gyroscope effect
18K127
Craft Stick Mouse Trap style
A unique project that mimics the way a real mousetrap functions.
12K37
No-Glue Bow and Arrow style
This project uses the same principles as the other Bow and Arrow Instructable.
3.2K15
Triangle Slinger style
A simple variant of the Viking Catapult
2.1K18
Simple Sail Car style
An easy project powered by air captured in a paper sail
6.1K18
Marble Roller Coaster style
Fun! A project to engage all ages.
68K80
Gliding Car style
Push the car off of a table and watch it glide to the floor and continue rolling
8.3K101
Pyramid Catapult style
Held together only with tape and straws, yet incredibly sturdy and high-performing
5.5K32