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STEM Beyond the School Day

Thinking Like Engineers

We’re starting a new series focused on STEM Learning (Science Technology Engineering & Math) in out of school time programming. 

We’re going to share information and resources for activities and key concepts, learn about different organizations and programs that exist around Connecticut to support STEM learning and the best way you, as a OST professional, can connect with these resources.  

Let’s start this series with thinking like engineers.  On a basic level, engineering is different from science, because when a scientist looks at the world around them they want to know how something works and why; an engineer looks at the world around them and wonders how they can make it work better.  Science gathers the knowledge that engineering applies to solve problems.

What We Do vs How We Do

Rather than seeking to understand why and when it rains (science) an engineer wants to figure out what we DO with the water we gather.  An engineer figures out HOW we can most efficiently catch water and save it for use later.  A scientist figures out if the water we caught is clean. An engineer figures out HOW we clean it if it isn’t.  Are these the same people?  Sometimes.  Engineers need science; scientists need engineering.  Want to learn a little more about this? Check out this article from EiE, it’s an excellent article for adults and students on the difference between scientists and engineers.

Over the next few weeks we’ll explore ideas around engineering mindsets or habits of mind and share activities and resources to build these skills.

Here’s a second take on the differences from 

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