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Engineer Academy

Author: Steve Martin, Jennifer Farley (illustrator)
Lower Age: 7+
Price: $12.99
Year Added: 2017

Engineer Academy is an activity book for children ages seven and up that introduces different areas of engineering through different hands-on, interactive activities and projects. The book has 64 pages of stickers, posters, and press-out materials that children can use to build their own models and prototypes. As they make their way through the Academy, children are introduced to six different types of engineer. Each engineering field is accompanied by different activities that include challenges to solve and physical models (made of everyday household objects) to build. Different activities encourage children to conduct tests and collect data with their models. For example, in the section on robotics engineers children are asked to make a model of a mechanical grabber arm similar to those found in real factories. Projects such as these provide illustrated instructions for how to design a model, but allow for different design choices depending on what children have available around their home. Throughout the book, projects like these also serve as checkpoints that encourage children to test their models and their understanding of what they are learning. After they have successfully completed a project task like building a grabber arm, they can place a sticker in their book. When they’ve successfully completed all the projects and finish the book, children can “graduate” from the Engineering Academy and receive a certificate of completion. This interactive book introduces concepts of engineering thinking and design alongside the real life applications of those concepts so that children become familiar with the breadth of engineering as a discipline.



Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about:

Define a problem, ask questions about the problem, make observations, learn about the problem, create a prototype or process, analyze a solution, idea generation, apply mathematics, apply science


Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: Criteria


Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift: Critical thinking, creative thinking, evidence-based reasoning, design, problem solving, logical thinking



Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews
    • Rating:  NA
    • Feedback: NA
  • Parents Reviews
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  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 4.75 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “The book provides great explanations to scientific concepts with analogies. Some activities invite the reader to design their own machines and robots. Overall it is a good book which promotes knowledge, and I believe it would be fun for a kid to read.”
      • “This book provides a fun context for children to explore different varieties of engineering careers through engineering thinking and design skills that those real-life engineers use. I think it is cool and unique that the book explores the real life impact of engineering and gives the details of kids hands on ways to explore engineering.”