Family engineering: Exploring engineering with elementary-age children and their parents

David R. Heil, Neil Hutzler, Christine M. Cunningham, Joan F. Chadde, Mia Jackson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The goal of Family Engineering is to actively engage elementary-age youth in exploring engineering activities and career opportunities with their parents. The program addresses both national and global needs for increasing the number and diversity of individuals interested and skilled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Family Engineering promotes 21st Century skills of inquiry, creativity, teamwork, and collaborative problem solving and can be used by individuals and organizations to plan and conduct successful community outreach events that increase public understanding and appreciation of engineering and the role it plays in everyday life. Modeled after the popular publications Family Science1 and Family Math 2 a new publication titled Family Engineering: An Activity and Event Planning Guide3 will serve as a valuable resource for professional engineering societies and student chapters of those societies as well as formal and informal educators who want to host a Family Engineering event in their community. With support from the National Science Foundation, hands-on activities that introduce families to traditional and integrated engineering disciplines and concepts were developed by a team of experienced curriculum developers; field tested at over 40 events in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Utah, and Wisconsin, to determine their suitability for a wide range of settings and audiences; and reviewed by professional educators and engineers. Formative evaluation guided development of the program and, once completed, summative evaluation conducted by an independent evaluation team measured impact and efficacy of the program's design, resource materials, and event formats. Findings indicate that Family Engineering activities and events are fun and engaging, result in families having an increased appreciation and understanding of engineering, and parents report an increased confidence and willingness to encourage their children to consider a career in engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - 2012
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012

Publication series

NameASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2153-5965


Other119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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