Engineer This!

Do you know a young person who likes to build things? To help young builders move to the next level of thinking without the demand for high-tech gizmos or expensive materials, you might explore Engineer This! 10 Amazing Projects for Young Mechanical Engineers. In Engineer This!, Carole McBride and Francisco Gonzales have compiled projects including rubber-band powered bat wings, a milk-jug plastic-egg-laying duck, and even a small catapult that shoots marshmallows and google-eyed animals.

The projects are engaging, but what raises the book above the level of a Pinterest collection is the commentary, designed to help young builders begin to think like junior engineers. The book begins with a section on engineering and design thinking, and then sprinkled through each project are “Think about this!” comments, intended to spark young people’s thinking beyond the immediate project.

It did not surprise me to notice that the authors dedicated the book to their daughters (and grandchildren). So many resources focused on engineering have a decidedly masculine cast. This one does not. While I can easily see young boys and girls both enjoying the book, there is a definite cuteness factor that may help craft-loving girls think about engineering as something that includes them as well.

As for me, I’m sorely tempted to try making that egg-laying milk jug creature myself.

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