Each week I teach a 90-minute Engineering Lab to my first graders. We solve design challenges based on the Next Generation Science Standards.
I've created a list of the many books I read aloud to help kids understand engineering.
First, here are the steps of the engineering process:
Each book summary is followed by the engineering steps that are explicitly described in the book's text or pictures.
Good intro to the design process and engineering terms.
Makes connections between professional engineers and kids who create products to solve problems.
A boy designs his dream car, adding features that solve the problems of conventional cars.
An inventive monkey uses tools and found objects to fashion an escape from an organ grinder.
Papa uses his knowledge of fish body parts to design a submarine.
Shows the joy of expecting, accepting, and learning from first-try failures. Delightful! Also ties in female aviators from history.
A goat and a duck build a vessel to cross the moat. Introduces concept of ballast.
A boy uses found objects to make a robot clean his room, but has to make adjustments after his robot gets out of hand.
These two books show how simple lines and shapes can help us begin to draw.
Mechanically gifted girl builds flying contraptions and becomes a hero by saving Boy Scouts. Makes the point that shy or awkward kids are worth love and respect.
A boy dreams up the perfect house, one that reflects his sense of fun and adventure.
Good, nuts-and-bolts explanation of housing construction. Great way to help kids make connections to the structures they are building in class.
A simple, charmingly illustrated guide to the steps in building a house.
Iggy is a boy who just wants to build things. He saves his teacher with his ingenuity!
How levers are used to make everyday tasks easier.
A family uses cardboard and found objects to create three-dimensional animals for every letter of the alphabet.
A true story about the first person to fly across the English Channel. Mistakes are taken in stride!
Introduces the concept of balance.
A girl has the most wonderful idea for an invention, but is stymied by many failures... until she takes a step back.
A young boy in Malawi gathers cast-off wire to build a galimoto, or toy vehicle. I love this book because the character takes something of little value (wire) and turns it into a work of art. Many children in Africa make galimotos.