Can I just start out to say that this is THE ONE and ONLY product that our 8th grader was actually excited about? What product is it, you ask? Thinking Like an Engineer by Innovators Tribe.
If you haven't figured it out by now, our 8th grader doesn't get excited about much.
You-Gi-Oh cards, Pokémon cards, and his music are about it. Most days he's not grumpy or anything (notice I said most days). He just doesn't get excited. He has always been one of those kids that is just pretty mellow and not excitable. Then came Thinking Like an Engineer.
Here's how it went at the beginning. I was looking over the curriculum and noticed that they had two options to choose from: Thinking Like an Engineer and Thinking Like an Architect. I pulled him into my room, where I was working, and chatted with him about both of the options. I showed him both introduction videos to show him some of the detail. I wanted to see his reaction to see if this was going to be a no-go. He seemed pretty interested in the Thinking Like an Engineer class.I told him that since this was a high school class, we could chat with his dad at dinner to see his thoughts. So I left it at that for the time being.
Then came dinner time. I opened up the subject once we were all eating and then he exploded with excitement. Sometimes it is so hard to read him. I was surprised at all of his excitement! He was talking about all of the details to his dad. His dad wanted to see the videos and so we showed him. They spent the next 2 hours discussing 3D design and engineering. You see, my husband is going through school right now to become certified in AutoCad and Drafting. They had something in common that they could talk about!
Of course, we decided to try for the Thinking Like an Engineer. I filled out the necessary information and then we waited. I thought that he had forgotten about it, but one day, as we were walking into a grocery store, he asked me if I had heard anything about it because he was excited to get started with it. What?! Is this my "never excited about anything" child? Hallelujah! Something that sparked his interest!
Obviously, we were chosen to review this. He was so excited! As soon as I received the email with the instructions, he had to start it immediately! Wow! That is so cool. I think he did 2-3 lessons that first day.
Okay, I have to tell you that he wasn't too thrilled with the first "chapter" of the course. It is an overview of engineering itself. He really wanted to dive right into the 3D software that comes with the course, so he was disappointed that he had to do other lesson first. I think that this is great, though. This is, after all, an engineering course. They go over the different types of engineers and what they do.
Here are some of the activities that he did for the first chapter:
He made a paper tower using 4 pieces of paper and tape. I have to admit, I had the wrong size tape, so I think we used more than what was allotted. He is about 5'6" and it is about as tall as him.
Here's a video showing that it stood up for more than the 10 seconds that was required.
Here's another project that dad got involved in. He had to make a foundation that could withstand a lot of weight.
The trick is that he could only use 1 piece of paper.
Here is the design that they came up with. Cylinders! Look at all of those books! They could have gone higher, but they decided that it was tall enough. They didn't want it falling over onto the table. In hindsight, they said that they should have done it on the floor. Oops!
Another project was a water filtration system.
Then, in the second chapter, you get into the 3D Design software. They have you download the software and then they walk you through how to use it.
He was so excited about learning this, he had to bring it over to show his grandparents. Yep, Cheetos helps with learning.
Here he is showing something on the software. He learned all of this on the first day! Granted he did 3 lessons of the 3D design lessons on the first day we downloaded it, but who's counting?
Since I left him to do the program, mostly, on his own, I wanted his take on it. Here's what he had to say:
"Innovators Tribe does well at showing the many different types of engineering there are. I like that they give you everything you need to learn about 123D Design. They need to tell you the supplies you'll need for the water filtration project at the beginning of the program. Before the first two projects, they need to give you some level of information so you will have the necessary tools to complete the projects well. Overall, I personally think it is a good program that is worth it."
Let's talk about a few of the points that he brought up. First, the supplies for the water filtration system. These supplies were not listed in the supplies at the beginning of the class. I looked, but maybe I missed them. I usually like to have the supplies ready for any projects beforehand. He just had to wait a few days in order to complete it so I could buy what he needed.
Second, information needed before completing the first two projects. These were very difficult for him on his own. He has no previous engineering or physics knowledge before taking this course. They just simply had to build these projects without giving any background information about how to go about it. I understand that they wanted the student to use his own thinking and knowledge to do them, but when the student has no knowledge of the science behind them, that proves very difficult.
I agree that Thinking Like an Engineer by Innovators Tribe is a keeper! He will continue and complete this class for high school credit. It's a great course and he's loving it more and more.
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