Engineers Week is an internationally observed celebration of engineering that takes place in mid-February. Engineers Week Chicago includes a variety of events for families and professionals alike. Engineers Week 2019 runs from February 16-22, 2020. Check out the many options for the weekend of February 23 on our events page. February 21 is nationally recognized as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day as part of E-Week, and Argonne Labs usually holds a popular program just for that audience.
With features including skyscrapers, raised sidewalks, and a reversed river, Chicago has a long history of engineering innovations. Around E-week both Illinois Tech (West Suburban campus) and the Chicago Architecture Center offer special Engineering Week programs.
In March, plan a trip down to Champaign-Urbana for the amazing Engineering Open House at U of I. And, in May, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the Chicago’s many working bridges at the Bridgehouse Museum.
But what can you do beyond seeing the sites and attending the festivals to raise engineering-minded kids?
Raising Future Engineers
What skills do kids need to develop to become successful engineers?
In addition to hard skills, like math and science, successful engineers need attributes like creative confidence and a maker or a growth mindset. You can nurture young inventors by allowing time and space for your child to:
- be creative
- enjoy free play, and
- be outside and/or unplugged.
Soft skills for budding engineers include:
- critical thinking
- ability to recover and learn from failure
Carole Dweck’s Ted talk and book on the growth mindset and Making Makers by Ann Marie Thomas provide insight and support for parents. We also have a great list of STEM books for kids! This post contains affiliate links.
Activities for STEM Kids and Future Engineers
Toys can be helpful, too. Things like 3D Doodle Pen, GoldieBlox, Makey-Makey, Snap Circuits, Sphero , Squishy Circuits, and littleBits allow for open-ended play while building tech and engineering skills.
And, of course, our STEM Camp Guide is full of ideas for fun, engineering and STEM learning in relaxed settings without homework or tests.
Diversity in the Engineering Profession
Expose all students early and often to diverse STEM professionals and role models. When hosting or sponsoring a STEM event, team, or competition make sure that women and minorities are represented in leadership roles, such as coaches and judges at a robotics tournament. Actively look for opportunities to promote engineering in under-represented communities. You can also reach out to groups like the Society for Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers and Hispanic Professional Engineers for suggestions, mentors, and guest speakers.
STEM Kids Chicago provides information on the best events around the Metro area. Join our newsletter and we’ll deliver an awesome roundup of news and events to you twice a month. If you’re looking for afterschool or weekend programs, be sure to check our Guide to Coding Classes around Chicago and our Guide to 20 Awesome STEM Enrichment Classes.