We have reviewed several phenomenal programs and products during 2017, many that will remain a part of our homeschool. This is our last review for the year and the educational fun that we are having with Thinking Like an Engineer from Innovators Tribe definitely feels as though the best was saved for last!
We were thrilled about this product, before we were even given access. My father is an engineer and it has been fun to watch all six of my kids display different engineering tendencies over the years. The Boy, however has been thinking like an engineer since he could crawl. Being the youngest, I have had much experience watching child’s play. He was different, very different. He was building things, not just stacking blocks, from a very young age. And when his structure toppled, he would reassess things and build it differently the second time. We have even witnessed him staring at something he has made, trying to figure out how to make it better or stronger, then he will take it apart and redo it. It is his nature and such a normal part of our daily lives. We waited with anticipation for our two-year family subscription to Thinking Like an Engineer to begin.
Thinking Like an Engineer, is a pre-recorded, online subscription-based curriculum that is self-paced. Subscriptions normally run $149 for eighteen months of access for the entire family. Although the curriculum is designed for kids in grades 6-12, our kids are in 2nd, 3rd and 7th grades and we have all benefited from the instruction and the activities.
We have enjoyed watching the lessons together, as a family. We connect our computer to our television and go through them together. Energy increases along with our excitement when we begin the activities that coincide with the lessons. For example, our first lesson taught about what engineering actually is and our challenge was to put our engineering caps on and build the tallest tower possible with only four sheets of standard printer paper and one foot of one inch masking tape. The tower must be able to stand on it’s own and we were challenged to try and build a tower more than five feet tall. This was wildly fun! The kids, Handsome, and I took on the challenge individually. It was fun to watch the kids attempt to build a structure, and then to try again if it failed. They pretended to pout, they giggled, then they jumped in and tried again, making it even better than their first attempt. Everyone built awesome towers and Handsome won the challenge against the rest of us. The challenges have definitely been the most fun with Thinking Like an Engineer.
There are a total of 28 lessons in Thinking Like an Engineer, as well as an additional bonus mini-course Thinking Like an Innovator. Topics covered include introduction to engineering, introduction to 3D design (software included), engineering rollercoasters, engineering bridges and nano engineering. Downloadable Student Journals are available for students to document their learning. I took the time to download all of the pages for the student journals and bound them so that we can keep things together and easily accessible.
One of the things I really like about this program is that the lessons are fairly short. We can usually get through a lesson in less than a half hour and spend as much time as needed on our challenge activities. The challenge activities are where the real learning begins. I appreciate that the kids get to experience engineering, not just learn about it. It is really fun to watch them tell others about it and then gather up the materials to take on the challenges with their friends.
Innovators Tribe offers another program, Thinking Like an Architect and Thinking Like a Carpenter is coming soon! Course subscriptions are generous, giving eighteen months of access for the entire family. This allows enough time to really take your time working through a program, or working through it multiple times. I imagine that we will complete it a second time around and spend more time on taking things a step further. I can imagine our children getting more out of it next year, when they are all a year older and are building upon their knowledge.
One thing worth noting is that unlike The Boy, both Bookworm Beauty and Sweetness did not see themselves ever becoming an engineer. In Lesson Two, types of engineers were introduced. It was amazing to get a glimpse of the many different types of engineers and to see the girls have a different opinion of engineering. We spent time, as suggested by the lesson, on Engineer Girl, a website dedicated to sharing the exciting world of engineering to girls. They quickly asked us to bookmark the page so that we could spend more time on it in the future.
We have thoroughly enjoyed adding Thinking Like an Engineer to our homeschool curriculum and fully anticipate adding Thinking Like an Architect and Thinking Like a Carpenter in the future. The hands-on learning environment brings these curriculum to life for us.