Why Engineering?

PLANETS is a partnership between learning experts and planetary scientists to create fun educational activities using NASA science applied to engineering challenges. PLANETS is funded by NASA and stands for Planetary Learning that Advances the Nexus of Engineering, Technology, and Science.

Participation in engineering activities has many potential benefits for youth.

1. Engineering projects reinforce topics youth are learning in school. Engaging students in hands-on, real-world engineering experiences can enliven math, science, and other content areas.

2. Engineering fosters problem-solving skills, including problem formulation, creativity, planning, and testing alternative solutions.

3. Children are fascinated with building and with taking things apart to see how they work. By encouraging these explorations, we can keep these interests alive. Describing their activities as “engineering” when youth are engaged in the natural design process can help them develop positive associations with engineering, and increase their desire to pursue such activities in the future.

4. Engineering and technological literacy are necessary for the 21st century. As our society increasingly depends on engineering and technology, our citizens need to understand these fields.

Try a sample activity at home

Print or apply for a free STEM kit below.

Age Range: This game is intended for kids ages 11-14 years to play independently or with family members. The engineering activity is intended as a family activity.

Time needed: About 30 minutes for each activity

  • 4-page investigation guide
  • 4 pages of image data sheets
  • 1 slide of diffraction grating (or peel the label off an old CD)
  • Black tape (or color any tape black with a permanent marker)
  • Small cardboard box (less than a foot along the longest edge)

Apply for the STEM Kit

Submit your application for a free PLANETS @ Home Remote Sensing STEM kit!

Thanks for playing!

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This material is based upon work supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award number NNX16AC53A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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