Design Challenges for Middle School Students

No mind is the same, and as such, every mind learns new information differently than others. There is said to be three different types of learners: auditory(those who learn by listening), visual(those who learn by seeing), and kinesthetic(those who learn by doing). Today we are looking at the most common of the learners listed, kinesthetic learners. The kids in class that need to physically perform the task to imprint the knowledge into their brain.

Engineering is a difficult but crucial skill to teach every child, as they will use it to some extent throughout their entire life. Whether it be a career, a simple do-it-yourself project, or a brand new construction of Legos, engineering is done daily. Constant engineering is the best way to improve the lives of everyone around us and is being recognized as such by companies around the world. This has led to the creation of Design Challenges.

Design Challenges are small little projects for students to complete that will teach them a new element to engineering in a fun, easily understood way. Need to teach a 4th grader about how a Windmill works? Easy, sit down with this activity from DiscoverE.org to help them build a miniature one to power a LED light. They also have activities to teach about magnetic trains, making buildings that can withstand a storm, how the pyramids were built, and much more.

DiscoverE isn’t the only group to start creating challenges for kids. The well known company, PBS Kids, has also started putting together Design Challenges. Many of PBS’s challenges include practical mechanics that any child could have fun with as a toy, with the satisfaction of knowing they built it themselves. Some include a mini robot to run along the floor, a dance pad with flashing lights and sounds, glow sticks, sound effect greeting cards, and many more.

These Design Challenges can help newer generations shape the future, and with the foundation they set for younger children, Source America wants to push it further with our young adults. Source America has created a national engineering competition that challenges high school and college students to create new and innovative ways to help people with disabilities compete in the workplace. This has already lead to many great inventions, and will continue to do so for years to come.