Lesson Homeward Bound:
Engineers in Action Everywhere

Quick Look

Grade Level: 4 (3-5)

Time Required: 15 minutes

Lesson Dependency:

Subject Areas: Science and Technology

An airplane taking off
Ariplanes are an engineering marvel
Copyright © http://www.public-domain-image.com/free-images/transportation-vehicles/aeroplanes-aircrafts/big-airplane-take-off/attachment/big-airplane-take-off


Students review the what they have learned throughout the five lessons in this unit. This includes a review of many types of engineers, reminding students of the various everyday products, structures and processes they design and create in our world.

Engineering Connection

Engineering is everywhere. Engineers have a hand in designing, creating or modifying nearly everything we touch, wear, eat, see and hear. In particular, looking at engineering related to the Olympics helps us learn about the creative work aerospace, biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical, environmental and mechanical engineers do every day. Engineers use their understanding of science and math to create things for the benefit of humanity and our world.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students should be able to:

  • Identify three different types of engineering and describe the responsibilities of each type.
  • Explain that engineers use math and science to solve real-world problems, help the environment, help people and create things for the benefit of society.

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.

  • Explain how various relationships can exist between technology and engineering and other content areas. (Grades 3 - 5) More Details

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Pre-Req Knowledge

Students should feel comfortable with the different types of engineering and have a basic understanding of the responsibilities of different types of engineers — knowledge obtained throughout the other lessons in this unit.


It has been quite an amazing trip. Beijing was awesome, and your whole class had a great time sight seeing and, of course, watching the Olympic soccer championship! Sadly, it is time to head home, but you can't wait to show your family and friends all of your cool photos and souvenirs. You reflect on the past few weeks of travel and adventure. You have seen and done and learned so much on this trip!

You know that your family and friends are going to ask a lot of questions about your trip and what you learned. As a class, you decide that you will have different groups of students focus on one area that you learned about and then provide a presentation for the entire class when you return home.

During your time in Beijing, you learned a lot about different kinds of engineers. Let's make a list on the board of all the different types of engineers that we know about. (List the following types of engineering on the board: biomedical, chemical, electrical, civil, environmental, aerospace and mechanical.) Great job. Now let's write down things that each engineer is responsible for designing and building. Wow – you all really have learned a lot!

Now that we have remembered these different types of engineers, and we know specifically what they do, can anyone come up with a good overall explanation of what engineers do in general? If you were attempting to explain exactly what engineering is to someone who did not know anything about it, what would you say? (Guide students towards the ideas of: Engineers help people, engineers help the environment, engineers use math, engineers use science, engineers solve real-world problems, engineers care about other people and engineers create things for the benefit of society. Hopefully, with some discussion the class decides on a definition similar to this: "Engineers use math and science to solve real-world problems, help the environment and help people.")

(optional: Show students the What Is Engineering? video)

You all have done such a good job learning through this whole unit – now you are ready to explain to your family and friends what engineering is and exactly what engineers do from day to day. And, perhaps you will decide to become engineers when you grow up and go to college. Maybe one day you will get to help design something for a future Olympics! Using the associated activity Communication Skills: Making Engineering Types Flyers & Quizzes students can craft a fun way of sharing what they learned during the lesosn. 

Lesson Background and Concepts for Teachers

This lesson serves as a review of information students have learned during the previous five lessons in the unit. They should be able to remember some details about each kind of engineering discussed in the class (biomedical, chemical, electrical, civil, environmental, mechanical and aerospace) and list some of the responsibilities of each engineer. Background information on the different types of engineering can be found in each lesson.

Associated Activities

Lesson Closure

You are home safe and sound – exhausted from your trip but full of great memories of the Beijing Olympics. You can't wait to tell your family about all the things you saw and what you learned during your travels. You have so many new ideas of what you would like to learn more about!

The last thing we are going to do for this unit is to take a survey. You are going to get to write down your favorite type of engineering and list three reasons why it is your favorite.

Just for a little review, engineering is taking scientific and mathematical knowledge and applying it to solve real-world problems and help people and the environment. Engineers create things for the benefit of society. Would any of you be interested in studying engineering in your future, maybe even becoming an engineer as your job? This trip to Beijing sure has taught us all a lot about engineering and how important engineers are in our world.


Pre-Lesson Assessment

Engineers in Action: As a class, have students list all the different types of engineering and then give examples of what each type of engineer does. Write these on the board so that the students can look at them as they decide what type of engineering they want to focus on for the activity.

Post-Introduction Assessment

Voting: Ask true/false questions and have students give thumbs up or thumbs down to vote. Sample Questions:

  1. Chemical engineers help to make chocolate, shampoo bottles, photographs and aspirin. (True)
  2. Environmental engineers focus on providing clean air and water. (True)
  3. Civil engineers design things like cars and spaceships. (False. Civil engineers focus on infrastructure, such as roads, tunnels or bridges.)
  4. Biodiesel pollutes more than regular gasoline. (False. Biodiesel pollutes the air less than regular gasoline.)
  5. Gasoline is a renewable and "green" resource. (False. Gasoline is a non-renewable resource that contributes to air pollution.)
  6. Engineers care about helping people. (True. Engineers care a lot about helping people and keeping them safe, as well as helping to keep the environment clean and healthy.)
  7. Engineers use math and science to solve problems and help people. (True)

Lesson Summary Assessment

Student Survey: On a blank sheet of papers, ask students to answer the following questions:

  1. Write down your overall explanation of what engineers do.
  2. Write down three types of engineers and explain what they do.
  3. Write down your favorite type of engineering and give three reasons why it is your favorite.
  4. Write down three neat things you learned from learning about engineering and engineers.

Lesson Extension Activities

Share with the class a list of engineering accomplishments (found at http://www. greatachievements.org/). Have students come up with other achievements that they feel have changed/bettered their lives.

Have each student research a friend or family member who is an engineer, or research a famous engineer. They should describe what type of engineer they are (were), what they work on or invented.

As a class, make a list (or a poster) of the 20 things we would miss most if they had not been created by engineers. Students should tell why they would miss that invention or innovation.


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National Academy of Engineering, 2006, http://www.greatachievements.org/


© 2006 by Regents of the University of Colorado.


Katherine Beggs; Denali Lander; Abigail Watrous; Janet Yowell

Supporting Program

Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado at 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: June 13, 2019

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