Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2018

TryEngineering

Helpful but aging engineering career site caters to all

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Science

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • College & Career Prep
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
3–12
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Pros: Resources for kids and adults, extensive lesson plan collection, and useful extracurricular activity knowledge base.

Cons: Some outdated content; lessons could use updating; less common engineering fields aren't well represented.

Bottom Line: This one-stop shop is best used for helping teachers plan engineering lessons and getting students involved with the community.

Teachers can use TryEngineering to find science and engineering lesson plans and resources. Almost 150 printable lesson plans include everything teachers need to know for implementation in the classroom. As your students get older, direct them to the Become an Engineer section so they can learn how many different kinds of engineers there are and discover the variety of responsibilities for each career. For those students who intend to study engineering in college, the Find a University section can be a starting point for discovering engineering programs all over the world. Profiled engineers and images on the site represent a variety of demographics, including age, gender, geography, and ethnic background.

The Get Involved! section of the site has the most potential to get students actively involved in engineering fields. Have them search for summer camps, competitions, internships, scholarships, and more. Keep in mind that some of the resources and games listed on the site are outdated or no longer available. 

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TryEngineering is an educational site for all things engineering: career information, a database of university programs, lesson plans, and online games. Put together by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a not-for-profit technical professional organization, the site helps students research over 25 engineering fields, such as aerospace, computer, mechanical, and civil engineering, with over a dozen of them explained in detail. Some less common engineering fields, such as ceramic, mining, and petroleum engineering, are also described in brief. Profiles of actual engineers help students understand what work in the field looks like day-to-day. Additionally, the site includes links to many afterschool programs, competitions, maker events, scholarships, internships, and clubs. 

TryEngineering showcases nearly 150 detailed science and engineering lesson plans for students in grades three through 12 that are aligned to educational standards, as well as dozens of engineering-related games. Visitors to the site can narrow down the resources to see those directed toward students, parents, teachers, or guidance counselors.

Using the resources on TryEngineering, students, teachers, parents, and guidance counselors will learn about dozens of engineering careers, and discover which universities have which engineering programs. Visitors to the site will learn about the types of work engineers do, specializations, famous engineers in the field, places to find work, skills that are required, and suggested coursework and activities to support engineering goals. They can research over 3,300 universities around the world, and learn about engineering from experts in those fields.

The lesson plans (almost 150 of them) get students actually doing engineering by involving them in experiments, projects, and design challenges. Though the student sheets could use a visual refresh, students will still learn about the engineering design process along with the ways engineering and science fit together. Using this site carries learning not just into the classroom, but into students' communities as well, helping them find local activities, clubs, internships, and maker events, laying the groundwork for later education and employment. The games section is hit or miss in quality and serves more as a distraction than a place to find robust learning experiences. 

The content is arranged in several different ways, and it's generally easy to find what you're looking for (though the interface isn't particularly engaging, and some links and information are outdated). For a free resource, TryEngineering has a large number of high-quality lesson plans, resources, and planning help for teachers and students from third grade to graduate school. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

A friendly site pulls in students, teachers, parents, and guidance counselors, with sections aimed at each audience. Lesson plan projects get kids doing but are starting to show their age.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Students can research engineering careers and college majors all over the world, and the site links to many older games online. Extensive lesson plans help teachers implement design challenges.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The site is well organized, with most sections accessible from multiple directions. The included lesson plans cover everything teachers need for implementation.


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