Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Review of Thinking Like an Engineer from Innovators Tribe

Since Buddy has entered his high school years this year, I feel it is important to do some career exploration.  I want him to get an idea of the types of jobs and career path he might take after high school.  This is why I was excited to receive Thinking Like an Engineer from Innovators Tribe to review with him lately.
Thinking Like an Engineer, Engineering, STEM, Architect, Hands On
Innovators Tribe is a company that was completely new to us before this review.  I really like their mission and what they want to do for students.  Innovators Tribe has developed courses for students in 6th -12th grade.  These courses intentionally develop your student's innovation, creativity, and discovery.  These online courses are not just about sitting down and reading material, they are hands-on, exciting, and will challenge your student to think in new ways.  This company wants to build your student's problem solving skills and help them become innovators.  They currently offer 2 courses with a 3rd course coming out soon.  The current classes are Thinking Like an Engineer and Thinking Like an Architect.  The course that is coming soon is Thinking Like a Carpenter

We received the Thinking Like an Engineer course to review.  This online course is designed to help students learn all about the career of being an engineer including what engineers do, the different types of engineers, some of the science and math used in this career, the advancements in engineering that have been made through out the years, and how to start thinking like an engineer.  There is approximately 30 hours worth of self-paced interactive lessons hands-on activities, and design challenges.  The 3D CAD software you need for this course is included in the course fee of $149 per year.  You can count this course either towards 1/4 of an elective credit or you can count it as a component of science courses for your student and if you have more than one student at home you can use this for multiple students at the same time.  Innovators Tribe generously gave us a 2 year subscription to check out this program.
There are 6 units included in this course.  They include:
  • Introduction to Engineering
  • Introduction to 3D Design (tools of modern design)
  • Engineering Rollercoasters!
  • Engineering Bridges
  • Nano Engineering (Discovery of a New World)
  • Thinking Like an Engineer - Course Conclusion
Each unit is broken down into smaller lessons that include a video on a specific topic and challenge activities.  Some of these activities are completed online and some are offline and hands-on.  The hands-on activities are completed with materials you probably already have around like printer paper, books, and tape.  There is a unit journal that you can download for each unit to fill out as you watch the lessons.  There are even some research projects where you student researches the different types of engineers and learns more about their job. 

This course required very little of me other than setting it up for Buddy.  Other than that, Mr. Kroeplin taught the classes and for that I am very thankful because I do not know much about being an engineer.  After the initial setup of our account, Buddy took over.  He would work on this program at least 3 days a week and sometimes more.  He would watch the video, if the lesson had one, and then he would usually start working on the challenges in the same day.  He liked to work on these while it was fresh in his mind.  He did really cool projects like designing a piece of furniture in the 3D CAD software, building a tower that was as close to 5 foot as you could get it  out of 4 sheets of printer paper, making a book tower that didn't crush its paper base, and more.  This is one program that he didn't complain about me adding to his schoolwork.  He looked forward to working on it and often times kicked me off the computer so he could log into his course.  He is almost halfway done with this course so far and is looking forward to completing it so I can add it to his transcript.
Buddy's tower didn't get up to 5 foot but he did a good job building and then rebuilding to get it taller after he figured out where he went wrong.
I asked Buddy to tell me his thoughts on this program and this is what he came up with.  He liked this program because it let you use your hands.  It gives you background info on what you are building, who is building it, and what it takes to build one.  It teaches you about what engineers do and how much they make.  If teaches you to think like an engineer.  It teaches you some of the physics behind what you build.  It teaches you about energy and math.  His only complaint about this course was that he was not a huge fan of the paper modeling because it was very intricate and detailed and since he has larger hands he had a hard time getting accurate folds.  I will tell you that he stuck with that challenge until he got it right though which I really appreciated him doing.  I liked this course because it taught him a subject that I really don't know about.  I also like it because it gives him a chance to explore this field and see if it is something he would like to look into more.  I feel like the course has been very well-rounded and kept his attention well.  It is a great mix of online learning and hands-on learning.  I really like that he is getting a chance to learn and build in design software.

We definitely recommend checking out Thinking Like an Engineer if you want to do some career exploration, learn how things are built, and get design software experience.  We also recommend checking out the other courses that Innovators Tribe offers.  I know we will be looking into them to get extra career exploration for Buddy.  As always you can check out the courses my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew got to explore by clicking on the banner below.
Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}

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