News & Events

Family Engineering at Escuela Avancemos Academia

November 2014

The Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, along with the Michigan Technological University (MTU) Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers student chapter, conducted a Family Engineering Night at Escuela Avancemos Academy in Southwest Detroit on Nov. 24, 2014. John Deere provided support for the event which featured activities in both English and Spanish and offered a free dinner. Approximately 180 participated–including grades K-5 students and families.

Students & families designed helmets (Brain Saver), towers to withstand high winds (Windy Towers), a prosthetic hand made of plastic spoons, rubber bands, and craft sticks (Give Me A Hand), and launchers that catapulted cotton balls (Launcher), as well as, participated in more than a dozen short hands-on activities in the cafeteria.

“The families loved it,” observed school principal Carlos Lopez. “All we heard from the kids the next day was how much they enjoyed engineering night!”

The following Michigan Tech students and college graduates presented at the event:

  • Uzi Mendez ’13 (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Michael Briseno (Biomedical and Electrical Engineering), undergraduate student
  • Zoe Miller (Civil Engineering), master’s student
  • Gabriella Shirkey ’13 (Scientific & Technical Communication)
  • Joan Chadde, Director, Center for Science and Environmental Outreach

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Ingeniería Familia en la Escuela Avancemos Academia

El Centro Tecnológico de Michigan para la Ciencia y Medio Ambiente de Extensión, junto con el capítulo estudiantil de la Universidad Tecnológica de Michigan (MTU ) de la Sociedad de Ingenieros Profesionales Hispanos , llevó a cabo una Noche Familiar de Ingeniería  en la Escuela Avancemos Academia el 24 de noviembre. John Deere proporcionado apoyo para el evento que contó con actividades tanto en Inglés y Español y se ofreció una cena gratis. Aproximadamente 180 participaron - incluyendo los grados K - 5 estudiantes y familias.


Estudiantes y Familias Los cascos diseñados ( Cerebro Saver) , torres para soportar vientos fuertes ( Vientos Towers ), una prótesis de mano hecha de cucharillas de plástico , bandas elásticas, y palitos de madera ( Give Me A Hand) , y los lanzadores que catapultaron bolas de algodón ( Launcher ) , así como más de una docena de manos cortas sobre las actividades en la cafetería.


Los siguientes estudiantes Michigan Tech y graduados universitarios presentó en el evento :
• Uzi Méndez '13 (Ingeniería Biomédica )
• Michael Briseño ( Biomédica e Ingeniería Eléctrica ), estudiante de pregrado
• Zoe Miller (Ingeniería Civil), estudiante de maestría
• Gabriella Shirkey '13 ( Comunicación Científica y Técnica )
• Joan Chadde, Director del Centro para la Ciencia y Divulgación Ambiental

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Family Engineering Workshop Leads to Multiple Events in Washington State

November 2014

Earlier this year, the Foundation for Family Science & Engineering provided a professional development workshop for educators, college students, and community partners in the Tri-Cities area of Washington state. So far, that one, hands-on workshop, which trained 45 volunteers on the Family Engineering program, has led to multiple workshops and events designed to expose more children and families to the hands-on fun of science and engineering exploration, strengthen STEM skills, and inspire more students to pursue STEM-related careers.

The original workshop was sponsored by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). PNNL is a co-founder of the Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory, which sponsored the activities highlighted below.

Family Engineering Event, May 2014:  After warming up with Opener activities, such as “Tumbling Towers” and “Learning From Failure,” 95 local family members tested their engineering skills to build a moveable “Artistic Robot” using a plastic cup, tongue depressors, markers, masking tape, a rubber eraser, and a motor.

1.MayRobot 2.MayRobots

Professional Development Workshop, Summer 2014:  More than 20 middle school teachers from Ochoa Middle School attended a half-day seminar, “Exploring the STEM Toolbox: Family Engineering” where presenters from PNNL, assisted by students and alumni from Delta High School, helped the teachers explore engineering activities and connections to Next Generation Science Standards.



Summer STEM Enrichment for Local Students:  Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities MESA and the Mid-Columbia STEM Education Colalboratory teamed up to provide a summer STEM event for K-12 boys and local Girl Scouts in Pasco, WA which included Family Engineering Openers and an Engineering Challenge activity. Sponsors reported that the students demonstrated perserverance through the engineering design process, and enjoyed working together to master each challenge.

Family Engineering Event, August 2014:  PNNL staff members and their children attended  a summer STEM event focused on “Simple Machines and Paper Engineering.”  The day’s core activity was Family Engineering’s “Create a Critter,” which was perfectly suited for the theme of the day.




Verizon Foundation Funds Family Engineering Training & Starter Kits for Detroit Public Schools

September 2014

Detroit Public Schools (DPS) received a $30,000 grant from Verizon Foundation  to promote Family Engineering. The grant was used to host a STEAM Teacher Workshop  in Fall 2013  and then to host a 1/2-day Family Engineering Teacher Workshop in Spring 2014.  DPS purchased 31 Family Engineering Kits to be distributed to teachers who both attended the Family Engineering Teacher Workshop and completed a Family Engineering application which outlined their plan to hold a Family Engineering event at their school.  A total of 16 schools attended the Spring 2014 workshop.  DPS will be hosting another training event to complete the Family Engineering Kit distribution.005 024 035 044

Children’s Engineering Exploration at Michigan Tech

August 2014

Two Michigan Technological University (MTU) students conducted a Children’s Engineering Exploration, as part of Michigan Tech’s Annual Alumni Reunion, August 7-10, 2014, using a Family Engineering activity. Both presenters are members of the National Society of Black Engineers: Anza Mitchell (from Georgia), is a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering, and  Terrianna Bradley (from Detroit), is a junior in Environmental Engineering.

Family Engineering Part of Family Transportation Night in Gulfport, Mississippi

March 2014

Building boats, packaging, and designing safe intersections were on the program for the first Family Transportation Activity Night held at Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School near Gulfport, Mississippi. Short opener and longer design challenge activities from the Family Engineering book were a part of the more than two dozen hands on activities offered that related to transportation. Parents and children compared packaging in Boxing Beans, designed an aerodynamic vehicle in Against the Wind, designed ‘cargo ships’ in Learning from Failure, and practiced their communication skills in Learning to Communicate.

“The Family Engineering book was an excellent resource for designing this transportation-themed program,” explained Joan Chadde, event coordinator. More than three dozen students and faculty from eight universities in five Midwestern states descended upon Ocean Springs to conduct activities for the event, held on February 25th. All event volunteers were trained remotely by Chadde via several webinars.

“This event was a great way to get the students excited about learning,” observed Assistant Principal Mary Rodgers, “and thinking about their future career path.” The family night was funded by the University of Wisconsin Madison Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research & Education (CFIRE) which coordinates hubs at ten midwestern universities. (

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