Two new books from Start Engineering introduce grade school and high school students to the ins and outs of engineering, including some little-known fields. “Start Engineering: A Career Guide” explains various engineering fields and their real-world, high-tech applications to high school students. For younger readers, “Dream Invent Create” is a similar work in poetry instead of prose, good for reading out loud to grades K through 2.
Recommended by the National Science Teacher Association, it supports Next Generation Science Standards.
Both books use vibrant illustrations to outline some aspects of engineering that students may not know, but which could help them in up-and-coming careers. Here are some of the forward-looking disciplines outlined in Start
Engineering that encourage kids to explore careers:
Jobs in biomedical engineering are expected to grow 27 percent through the year 2022, making biomedical engineering one of the most lucrative up-and-coming fields.
“Dream Invent Create” sums the field up this way: “They design prosthetics so athletes who have lost a limb can still run, jump, and swim. Biomedical engineers are designing surgical tools to make operations quicker and more precise, and working on new types of scanners to see what happens in the brain.” For high school students, dancers with bionic limbs show how biomedical engineering helps people not only walk, but also perform.
Genetic engineering can make food stay fresh longer, or make vegetables more resistant to fungi and bacteria, the text said. Food science intersects with engineering in several ways, from the chemistry of cooking to the architecture of agriculture. Agricultural engineers design farms that fit in small spaces in cities, or study how to grow food more efficiently using less water and fertilizer. Star Engineering’s career guide profiles Aaron Mandell, an environmental engineer developing a desalination process to turn sea water into fresh water.
For a truly cross-specialty project, some people are teaching robots to cook.
Virtual Reality and Computer Science
While not a new field by a long shot, computer science is one of the most in-demand and highest-paid fields in engineering, with companies like Google and Microsoft fighting to attract the brightest minds to the augmented reality projects that might be the next big thing. Programmers “build worlds from scratch” when they design video games, said Powen Yao, a computer science PhD student at the University of Southern California. Start Engineering shows computer scientists creating 3D movie graphics and apps.
Moving hand-in-hand with biomedical engineering is 3D printing, which enables less expensive prosthetic limbs. Start Engineering displays 3D printing along with more traditional manufacturing, showing children the variety of things that can be made in factories, with or without robot help. “Be a business pioneer/with factories to engineer.”
Some engineers are in it to get their hands dirty. Mining and petroleum engineers know the nitty-gritty about the raw materials and fuels that drive the nation’s economy. “Dream Invent Create” shows the wide variety of options within this field by illustrating surface mining, drilling, tapping natural gas, and drawing oil from the ocean. Petroleum engineers are the highest paid on the book’s list, with a salary of $95,300. Several colleges offer majors in mining engineering, but the University of Arizona has the only student-run multi-level mine in the nation.
Start Engineering also mentions the elephant in the room in their high-school level book. “The engineering profession is dominated by white males.” Along with lists of the highest-paid careers in engineering and the universities awarding the most degrees in the field, the career guide also provides a list of on-campus support resources for female and minority students.
Start Engineering books are available for classrooms from http://www.start-engineering.com.