Thinking Like an Engineer | Review

Thinking Like an Engineer

Thinking Like an Engineer, a fully online, self-paced, and interactive course by Innovators Tribe, is teaching my 7th grader, Malachi, to be a problem solver and innovator.

Throughout this hands-on engineering course, students will learn to explain and apply problem-solving techniques, what an idea is and how to have more of them, what the real definition of the word “solution” is, the importance of engineering and problem-solving using real-world examples, the 14 grand problem-solving challenges that need solutions, and more.

Some of the terms your students will learn include: tension, compression, twisting, bending, shearing, torsion, vortices, vortex shedding, aerodynamics, dead load, live load, structural-engineering, girder, truss, friction, potential and kinetic energies, and g-force.

Students will also demonstrate the correct use of a ruler, construction level, and 3D design software.

If you've been wanting a STEM course for your math loving kid, check out what's included:

Innovators Tribe What You Get
Course units include:

  1. Introduction to Engineering?
  2. Introduction to 3D Computer Design (tools of modern design)
  3. Engineering Rollercoasters
  4. Engineering Bridges
  5. Nano-Engineering
  6. Thinking Like an Engineer - Course Conclusion 

This course includes about 30 hours of work (including activities), and can be used for 1/4 credit towards high school.

Lessons are text and interactive multimedia.

Mr. K is a fabulous teacher. He walks you through this course step by step using detailed instructions, video, and visual aids. Malachi, 12, has completed 22 out 50 lessons or 44% of the program on his own and is loving it.

When I log into his dashboard, I can see his progress and the type of activities he has completed:

While the course is presented through interactive multimedia, much of the course is hands-on application, such as the following Weight Challenge. 

Weight Challenge

The challenge was to design and build a structure that can support the most books using one sheet of regular printer paper and 2 feet of 1" masking tape, but the books have to be one inch off the floor. 

The rules: you can try as many times as you want, but you must start over with a new piece of paper and masking tape. 

Malachi's first attempt did not hold any weight, but his second attempt held 13 books. 

I thought he had a good idea to make the cubes to make a larger base, but I have an idea I want to try.

In Unit 2, he downloaded and installed 3D software from AutoDesk called 123D Design for Education. He did this on his own and has completed several design challenges since.

Just playing around and becoming familiar with the software:

This unit was challenging, but the video lessons walked him through each challenge step by step. You can see more below where Malachi shares his thoughts. 

When he got to the Advanced Option to download Autodesk Fusion 360, he skipped that lesson thinking it was for older students, but I encouraged him to try it. 

This program has been perfect for Malachi who has been asking me for months for a design program after I told him about computer-aided design to get his mind off of wanting to play Minecraft. I wanted him to find an option that was more productive and could have an impact on his future - real design. 

Here's what Malachi had to say:

"Hello, this is Malachi. I’ll be writing about what I do and do not like about my Innovators Tribe engineering course.

I love that it gives me hard challenges like the paper tower. I mean, how with four sheets of printer paper and one foot of masking tape (yeah Mr. K is really specific which is a good thing) are you supposed to make a five feet tall tower? Is that even possible? I guess so because some of his other students made one as tall as Mr. K!? I tried like four times though (30 minutes each time), and I still couldn't do it. My tallest paper tower was four feet nine inches, three inches short of the minimum!

I also loved learning about different types of engineers, and how much they earned. Did you know that NASA engineers earn $97,480 per year and $46.86 per hour? Chemical engineers earn $90,300 per year and $43.42 per hour, and nuclear engineers earn $140k a year?

My favorite thing about this course, however, was getting to use my own CAD software. I made a pretty sick car rim.

I also enjoyed revolving things and figuring out the original 2D shape of 3D objects. For example, the car rim I made started out as a Y, and then I revolved it. I also made a bowl out of a C.

I was really excited to learn about roller coasters.

I loved learning about all 14 of the (drumroll please!) Grand Engineering Challenges like enhancing virtual reality, making solar energy affordable, preventing nuclear terror, and providing clean drinking water for millions of people around the world.

Things I don't like:

I don't like that it is going by so fast, but having hour long lessons helps slow me down." :)

My Final Thoughts

This really is an amazing program. I highly recommend this course for any student interested in technology and applied science. You won't be disappointed.

My son is learning how to think like an innovator by seeing the world through the eyes of an engineer. I couldn't be more pleased that he is happy and productive, and I'm looking forward to learning more about Mr. K's other courses: Thinking Like an Architect and Thinking Like a Carpenter.

I want my son to do all of them.

Learn more about Innovator's Tribe here, and read more reviews by clicking below.

Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}

Innovators Tribe

Crew Disclaimer

1 comment

  1. Yes yes yes! Seth has just LOVVVEEEEDDDD spending time exploring what he can do with the program. He doesn't "think outside the box" like he should sometimes, and this program is helping him think more that way. His real love is the CAD program.

    I think Malachi and Seth would get along pretty well since it appears their mind functions similarly! ;)