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Elements of an Engineer
Volume 93, Program 24
11/19/2009
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Does your child create innovative designs to solve household problems? Have you wondered if your student has what it takes to be an engineer? If you’re not sure what to look for, get some suggestions from today’s guest, on Home School Heartbeat with HSLDA President Mike Smith.

Mike Smith:
Navy engineer and former professor of engineering Steve Wells is with me again today. Steve, part of the job description of homeschooling parents is to help guide their older students toward a career. What qualities might parents see in their child that are important for an engineer?

Steve Wells:
Mike, I would have to say there are three primary qualities that are important to a budding engineer. They are curiosity, critical thinking, and communication skills.

You know, Mike, it’s curiosity that makes kids interested in the world around them. It’s critical thinking that gets them to begin asking the question, “Why does this happen? How far will this fly if I change this?” and “Why are darker colored objects that sit in the sunlight, why are they hotter than the lighter colored objects?” Things like this.

Well, sometimes this curiosity and critical thinking can get some kids into a bit of a mess. Such as when they take apart the weed whacker and use the motor to make a go-kart, or when they disassemble the parts of an alarm clock and they’re lying about because they wanted to find out where that buzzing noise was coming from.

Well, you know, the last quality is the ability to communicate, and communicating to others using facts, making charts and graphs to show how things relate to each other, or even drawing pictures to illustrate their concepts or designs.

Mike:
Steve, that’s going to be very helpful to the moms and dads out there. And thank you for sharing that with us again today. And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.


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Sometimes math can seem like a frustrating topic—but it doesn’t have to be! Do you want to help your kids enjoy math? Join Steve Wells for a live, interactive webinar on HSLDA’s @home e-vents! Register today at the link above.

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