Second Grade Lesson 2 What is Engineering and what do

Second Grade
STEM Investigation – Lesson 2
What is Engineering and what do Engineers do?
Area of Focus
Students consider the work of engineers and explore various type of engineering through
partner and whole-group discussions and a sorting activity. Students consider ways that
children use engineering in a Rube Goldberg video. They extend their ideas by using items
from lesson 1 and consider ways items have been redesigned.
 2-3 INQF Scientists develop explanations, using observations and what they already
know about the world. Explanations should be based on evidence from investigations.
 2-3 APPA Simple problems can be solved through a technological design process that
includes; defining the problem, gathering information, exploring ideas, making a plan,
testing possible solutions to see which is best, and communicating the results.
 2 SL.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2
topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
Learning Target
I can explain what an engineer is and what they do.
I can explain how engineers influence technology in its design, production, and
Formative Assessment:
Engineers Probe—based on Uncovering Student Ideas – Vol. 3: pg. 93 modified
Internet Access with display
Items from Part 1 (phone, staple remover, watch, white out, pencil, paper clip)
Other versions of the items of Part 1 example: dial phone & cell phone
Chart paper
engineer, engineering, design /re-design
Area of Focus
Formative Assessment
Teacher Notes
Depending on reading level, read together the Engineers probe.
Have students choose one or more students with which they
most agree and write their response. When most students have
finished writing, pair students to discuss their responses.
The “best” response is
Amy’s response.
However, Lamar and
John have some correct
ideas in their responses
as well.
Four Corners: If time, have students share as a whole group
and/or determine locations for students to group themselves
around the response that they most agreed. Example: Say each
of the four children’s name and assign one name to a corner of
the room for students to meet and discuss.
Listening to student
responses will help you
adjust instruction.
What is engineering?
What is an engineer?
What is an engineer’s
role in technology?
In small groups, discuss the following questions: What is an
engineer? What is engineering? After a few minutes, elicit
thoughts from each group. Record them on chart paper.
An engineer is someone
who designs something
to solve a problem.
Engineering is the
application of science in
the design of objects or
machines that solve a
Show video:
This is from PBS’s Design Squad—there are numerous types of
engineers. This video shows the job of a packaging engineer.
After viewing, have students discuss whether there is anything to
add onto the list previously created. Add those onto the chart.
Show definitions of each. Discuss what students notice and/or
have questions about.
What types of
engineers are you
aware of?
What do they do?
Explain there are different types of engineers. Ask, “Are
there any types of engineers that you know about? What is
it that they do?” Elicit whole group, or have students
discuss in small groups and share out.
After several minutes, compile the brainstorm on one chart
for public record. One suggested layout:
Types of Engineers /
What do they do?
Activity: Hand out a bag of cards to each table group. Explain
that there are descriptions of different types of engineers and
what they do, as well as pictures that relate to their field. Have
students read the cards and match a picture card to go with
them. Tell students to be prepared to explain why they matched
the cards together. Have multiple engineer descriptions available
because the same kind of engineers may be involved in designing
a number of items.
If there is time, add what students had learned onto the chart.
Encourage them to explain in their own words as to what those
types of engineers do.
What does engineering
look like from the
perspective of a
student the age of your
Prepare for viewing the video by asking, “Think about what
engineering might be like for you or another child. What is
this student doing that is the same as an engineer? What is
this student doing that is different from an engineer?”
Students may not know
what types of engineers
there are, or what they
Collect and use pictures
of examples of
engineering from local
landmarks. Examples
could include, the Glass
Museum, the Narrows
Bridge, the Space
Needle, etc.
Be sure to review
pictures with students
so that they know what
the pictures are.
There may be more
than one correct match.
Encourage discussion
around why different
table groups may have
gotten different
Show video:
Have students discuss what engineering is from a child’s
perspective. Compare ideas during this discussion to the
public record created earlier. How have students’ ideas
How do engineers
influence technology?
Possible Responses about ways that children are engineers:
Legos, Forts, Blankets, Treehouse
Use different versions of an object (phone, pencil, etc.)
Have students look at their object from Lesson 1 “mystery
bags” and Ask:
How do you think engineering played a role in the
design of your piece of technology? Look at the
DETAILS within its design to help you decide.
What PROBLEM(S) did each detail solve?
What mistakes, flaws, or problems might have come
up that needed to be considered in its DESIGN?
What types of engineers played a role in the design or
production of this piece of technology? How did they
play a role?
Think of different versions of your object.
 How has this object evolved or changed?
 What problems or challenges did the changes
 What do you think engineers had to consider when
RE-DESIGNING the object?
Document on chart
paper to keep as a
public record for the
Wrap-up/Exit Card
On a piece of paper or index card have students respond to
a question(s) relating to engineering.
1. Choose an item from the classroom that you think
was designed by an engineer.
2. What problem do you think this item solved?
3. What kinds of engineers may have helped design
this item.
4. What is one kind of engineering that you would you
like to do? Explain why this kind of engineering is
interesting to you.
Consider student
responses when
planning for lesson 3.