What you'll do
What problem do you want to solve -- Cook a hot dog with the sun? Make a car run on wind power? Communicate with birds? Design a solution and build it. Learn engineering design skills and you'll know how.
Levels of learning
Get started with 4-H'ers in your area
Get started on your own
- Wind energy experiment from National 4-H (free)
- Rubber band cars experiment from National 4-H (free)
- Iowa 4-H Science, Engineering & Technology Hot Sheet (free download)
- 3-D modeling derby, Engineering an Empire and other activity books from Utah 4-H (free download)
- Try Engineering (free online games)
Fairs and exhibits
Engineering design covers a broad range of topics and objects. Judges will look at how well you have applied the engineering design process.
You could design, build and test a:
- Hand that can grab items
- Water filtration device
- Musical instrument
- Model of a roller coaster
- Model of a bridge
- Bottle rocket launcher
- Goat milking stand
- Model of a wind turbine
- Rubber band car
- Solar oven
- Rube Goldberg-type Machine
- Wave-powered device to recharge boat batteries
The Engineering Design Process -A key way to learn about engineering design is to use the Engineering Design Process (EDP). The EDP is a cycle of individual steps that can be used in either a sequential order or a mixed order and be repeated as many times as needed. Applying the steps to creating solutions guides learning and provides a “roadmap” to the problem-solving process.
Future study and careers
You could study engineering. There are different kinds of engineers -- electrical, civil, mechanical and biosystems engineering, to name a few.
You could study design products, clothing, landscapes, building interiors and more.
If it wasn't designed by mother nature, it was probably designed by a designer or an engineer. They dream up and make possible most objects we use in modern life.
Reviewed in 2018