Hands-on Activity: For Those Back Home...

Contributed by: Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder

A U.S. Air Force Capt. Sheila Carlson in the cockpit of an aircraft communicating on the radio at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.
Pilots need to have good communication skills
Copyright © Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Defense.gov_News_Photo_080501-F-2828D-239.jpg


Students review information learned during the past five lessons and activities of the Introduction to Engineering unit. Working in teams, they create flyers and short quizzes about various types of engineering to share with the class and collect into a "Olympic Engineering Binder" for the class to keep.

Engineering Connection

It is important for engineers to have good communication skills. Engineers usually work in teams, and are responsible to clearly explain their ideas and designs to others.

Pre-Req Knowledge

This is a wrap-up of the other five lessons in the unit. The students should now have a good understanding of many types of engineering and the differing responsibilities of each.

Learning Objectives

After this activity, students should be able to:

  • List seven different kinds of engineers (biomedical, chemical, environmental, civil, electrical, mechanical and aerospace).
  • Explain which kind of engineering they are most fascinated with and why.

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Educational Standards

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

Suggest an alignment not listed above

Materials List

Each group needs:

  • White paper
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Variety of colored markers or crayons
  • Research materials: Encyclopedias and/or Internet access

To share with the class:

  • One large binder
  • Three-hole punch


Well, you have now returned from your amazing trip to Beijing, where you learned so much about so many different kinds of engineering! In addition to learning about different types of engineers, you also learned that it is really important for engineers to be able to share their ideas with other people and to be able to work in teams.

Today, you will work in teams to share your ideas about engineering with your classmates. Each group will develop a brochure/flyer that explains one kind of engineer and what s/he gets to design, test and build. And, you will also make a short quiz to test your classmates' knowledge!

Once all groups have shared their flyers and quizzes with the class, collect them for a class "Olympic Engineering" binder so that we can remember our wonderful trip to Beijing and all that we learned there.


Before the Activity

  • Gather all necessary materials.

With the Students

  1. Split the class into seven groups. This could be done by numbering off or having the students list which type of engineering in which they are most interested or draw engineering types (see types listed in Step 2) out of a hat or bowl.
  2. If not already done through Step 1, assign each group one type of engineering to work on: biomedical, chemical, civil, environmental, electrical, mechanical and aerospace. (Note: Although computer science differs from electrical engineering, allow the electrical engineering students to include computer science applications. Similarly, the chemical engineering groups can include material science applications.)
  3. Have each group create a brochure/flyer for their type of engineering. Flyers should include:
  1. a definition of their type of engineering,
  2. a short list of the cool features designed/created by their type of engineering, and
  3. some kind of drawing or visual to represent their type of engineering.
  1. Have each group create a short quiz for the class based on their type of engineering. Quizzes should include:
  1. 5 questions about their type of engineering and
  2. an answer sheet.
  1. Have each group share their quiz with another group and see if they can answer the quiz questions correctly. Remind students to encourage each other and not make fun of students who may not give the right answers.
  2. Have each group present their flyer to the class and have them ask the class their quiz questions. Students should raise their hand to answer each question.
  3. Collect all of the flyers and quizzes and put them together in an "Olympic Engineering" binder for the class to share. See Activity Extensions for more creative ideas on what to add to this binder throughout the school year.


Troubleshooting Tips

If students are having trouble remembering details about each type of engineering, provide articles/handouts describing the different types of engineering or allow them access to basic research materials or the Internet to look up interesting facts.


Pre-Activity Assessment

Discussion/Review: Discuss with the class the different types of engineering they have been learning about. Ask them which engineer they would most like to be and why. Encourage students to connect the things that they currently like to do and are interested in with a particular type of engineering ("I really like to hike and camp, so I would like to become an environmental engineer to make sure that our air stays free of pollution.")

Activity Embedded Assessment

Quiz Questions: Have the students pass their finished quizzes to another group and see if the other group can answer the questions. If they have difficulty, ask the group that wrote the quiz to explain the answers to the answering group.

Post-Activity Assessment

Engineering Jeopardy: Set up a game of "Jeopardy" to test the engineering knowledge of the class. Make a board that has a variety of answers with different monetary values. Each correct question (to a chosen answer) gives the team that amount of money. Each wrong answer (i.e., wrong question) subtracts that amount from the team's total. The questions for the game could be taken from the quiz questions the students came up with or be created by the teacher. Split the class into two or three teams so that everyone is involved in the game. Award the winning team a small prize if you so desire.

Activity Extensions

Bind the students' work into a binder that the class will have access to throughout the year. Ask the students to think of other things they would like to include in the binder to make it more complete. Some ideas are: a list of engineering definitions, lists of famous engineers or more details for each type of engineering, or a list of innovative products designed by specific types of engineers. This binder could grow as the class learns more about engineering concepts throughout the year.

Activity Scaling

For upper grades, have the students include some more technical questions in their quizzes using math or science.

For lower grades, come up with the questions as a class and discuss the answers together.


Katherine Beggs; Denali Lander; Abigail Watrous; Janet Yowell


© 2006 by Regents of the University of Colorado.

Supporting Program

Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder


The contents of this digital library curriculum were developed under a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation GK-12 grant no. 0338326. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the Department of Education or National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Last modified: July 5, 2017