What Is Family Engineering?

Family Engineering is a valuable resource for providing informal engineering learning experiences for elementary age children and their families. Modeled after the popular Family Math and Family Science programs, Family Engineering was developed by engineers and educators to promote 21st Century skills of inquiry, creativity, teamwork, and collaborative problem solving.

Family Engineering Will

  • Engage families in fun, hands-on activities and events
  • Help families learn about what engineers do and the roles they play in everyday life
  • Facilitate family discovery about the many career opportunities in engineering

The Family Engineering program can be used by any individual or organization to plan and conduct successful community outreach events. Activities and event formats are accessible and inviting to diverse audiences. They are easy to implement with simple, inexpensive materials. Family Engineering activities are suitable for a variety of community settings.

The development of the most recent publication in the series, Family Engineering: An Activity & Event Planning Guide was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation, in partnership with Michigan Technological University (MTU) and The American Society For Engineering Education (ASEE). The publication included contributions from a diverse team of educational and engineering professionals.

More About Family Engineering

Why Family Engineering Makes a Difference

Tomorrow’s workforce needs to be educated in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to compete in the global market and contribute to society. Current statistics show that we’re falling behind in preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s challenges.


We need to increase public understanding of what engineers do.

Most people have a limited understanding of what engineers do or how engineering affects daily life, and a career in engineering is often not a top priority for parents or kids. (American society for Quality Survey, Harris Interactive, 2008)


We need more diversity in the engineering field.

As educators, parents, and role models for kids, we all need to do a better job making engineering interesting and accessible to males AND females, regardless of ethnicity.


We need to involve families.

Research shows a significant improvement in children’s self-confidence and academic success when families are more actively engaged in their learning.


We need to inspire interest in engineering careers.

The demand for engineers is growing, but the U.S. is not producing enough graduates with an engineering degree. From 1990-2010, overall college graduation levels have grown by about 50%, but engineering degrees have flat-lined at 120,000 annually. (National Center for Education Statistics).


We need to engage children in learning about engineering at an early age.

Students who express interest in STEM in 8th grade are up to three times more likely to ultimately pursue STEM degrees later in life than students who do not express such interest. (Science magazine, 2006)

Family Engineering meets these needs!

During national field-testing, Family Engineering events had a significantly positive impact on families’ interest in engineering and understanding about what engineers do.