Review: Thinking Like an Engineer

Do you like it when your children and students ask questions, and have interest light up their eyes?  I would not have thought of my lad as being an engineer....but for the past few weeks he's been designing,creating and asking questions as we work through Thinking Like an Engineer by Innovators Tribe. It has been fascinating watching his mind at work and his delight that genetic engineering is considered ENGINEERING!!!

So what can I tell you about Thinking Like an Engineer?

I can tell you that my son loves this program.  He doesn't fight the learning but eagerly approaches his lessons, and when he tries a project he keeps at it, making sure to follow the rules laid out for him.  It's a self-paced, STEM program that focuses on engineering, using hands on challenges to motivate the student.  Students can work through the program at their own speed, and they can go back and watch lessons again if they want to. It's a very user friendly program, easily operated by a 12 year old.   The only thing he needed help with was downloading the software program.

When you login you come to this page, which shows you how far you are through the program.  Right now my lad is about 8% through the course, working at it three days per week, which occasional extra time on Friday.   We have missed the odd day due to the start of "cold" season, overall he's been pretty consistent.
From there, you'll find yourself on a page like this.   Where you are in the course on one side, the video on the other. That green arrow advances you in the lesson.
Sometimes in the lesson you will see a picture of Mr. Koeplin as he teaches, other times you see a variety of slides. 
The challenges were spelled out clearly, which was great for my precise lad.  He managed to make a tower about 6 feet tall, that would stand longer than 10 seconds as long as there was no wind at all.   Wind, even a very gentle breeze would cause it to topple over.

My lad was wondering what he'll send up doing with the software, so I showed him the course outline.  Can you imagine his delight when he learned that he'll be making a rollercoaster and a bridge!  :)   So good to see excitement in a young fellow.
The book stack surprised me.  I expected maybe forty books all told.   But that lad ended up with much more than that.  I unfortunately walked in on him as he was putting a book on top ...without it being centered (my bad!) and the books toppled over.  He did his best to recreate it for the pic but it just didn't work the same.   

My Thoughts:
As I virtually had nothing with the program beyond setting it up and asking my lad where he was and what he needed to be doing... my thoughts are based on what I saw and heard.   Oh... and taking some video and pictures.  :)

LOTS of questions and conversation.  "Mom, did you know....."  "Mom, this was fun to do."  "Mom, come see what I did!!" 

Some frustration "But mom, they said if it fell over at all I had to start over completely"... which led to me asking "Well, can you tell me why it fell down?"  His response: "A wind made it fall cause I moved.  I followed up with:  "So is that the fault of what you built or circumstances upon your control?"   Learning happened, understanding dawned, and he learned all the different factors that engineers have to take into account.   I think it would be good to build those questions into the program, to help the students work through potential issues they run into, and perhaps they have, but I haven't listened to the entire program.   If they did, my son doesn't remember them doing so.

 My Son's Thoughts:
My overall opinion: "They did a good job.  I liked it." 
Specifics: "They did a good job explaining all of the stuff.  They were really good at explaining how to do the 123d software."  
Didn't like: "It would be nice if their full screen would actually become full screen, cause their screen is kinda small."
Recommendation:  "Get this program, because if you are at all interested in engineering of any kind, they will teach you about it."

Innovators Tribe
Thinking Like an Engineer

Note: A single subscription can be used for an entire household. We received a 2-year subscription. 
Good for grades 6-12. 
Taught by Wayne Kroeplin.
Online video and hands on STEM course.

Guess what...until November 11 they are having a sale...35% off, check it out eh?  

Also reviewed by the crew: Thinking Like an Architect.

75 members of the homeschool review crew have checked out their two programs.  Click here (or on the image below) to see what others had to say.

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  1. Sounds like a good fit for him. Nice program.

    1. It is a good fit for him

  2. This sounds like something my boys would LOVE! Heading over to check it out right now.


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