Over the past few weeks we have been able to explore a completely different subject to what we normally would. Thinking Like an Engineer from Innovators Tribe has been a great way for my sons to explore the fields of applied science, design, and technology.
What is Innovators Tribe? It is an online program that currently offers two courses: Thinking Like an Engineer and Thinking Like an Architect. A third course, Thinking Like a Carpenter is coming soon. Each of these courses are aimed at children in grades 6 through 12 and is approximately 30 hours in length. The courses consist of video lesson and hands-on activities. We received a two year subscription to Thinking Like an Engineer for this review.
Thinking Like an Engineer
This course comes with a handy printable syllabus and materials list which we printed out at the start. Included in the price are the video lessons and the links to free 3D software you will need to download for your child to complete the course. If you have more than one child that wants to take the course, they can, which makes this course great value for families.
The course contains five main units:
- Introduction to Engineering?
- Introduction to 3D Design
- Engineering Rollercoasters
- Engineering Bridges
- Nano Engineering
After watching a few videos that introduced engineering, it was time for the first challenge activity. In this activity, students had to build a five foot tower using only four sheets of printer paper and one foot of masking tape. The boys worked together, trying to create a tower that was able to stand longer than the 10 seconds required. It was hard, but they eventually did it. This is the first one they built, which was just slightly shorter than the five foot. Another go, improving their technique and they did it.
The second challenge was a weight challenge. In this, students had to create a structure that could hold a large stack of books one inch off the ground. For this challenge, the supplies were one sheet of paper and two feet of masking tape. They found this challenge a lot easier than the tower. They cut the paper into eight one-inch thick strips, taped two strips together and then rolled them up before taping the edge together. They made four of these and used them to hold his books up. They were able to put 75 books on this until the book tower started to lean. As our boys are older, we have a lot of smaller novels. If we had some larger books, they may have been able to make this book tower a lot more stable. But, 75 books without even damaging the four supports was a great effort. We couldn’t weigh the books as we don’t own a pair of scales large enough.
There was a third challenge which consisted of making a water filter. We didn’t complete this one, but did watch plenty of videos on how to do this. Currently, they are now well into unit two: Introduction to 3D Design. We have downloaded the program and they are starting to work out how to use it.
Overall, we have found this to be a really amazing program and highly recommend it for anyone interested in technology and applied science. I love that this course is self-paced and that you only need to purchase it once and use it with all the children in your house during the access period. The software also works on both Mac and Windows.