Engineering Adventures


“My third graders said the last week of school, ‘Good, now we are fourth graders and can join the after school STEM club!’ Thanks to Engineering Adventures, the word ‘STEM’ fires them up.”

- Denise Touchberry, teacher, Manatee County School District, Florida

Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials
Teacher Development/Training
Hands on/Project-Based
Informal /Out of School

Target Audience

All Students

Teachers/Educational Leaders




Pre-K - 5

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

In the past two years, more than 10,000 elementary-aged students in afterschool programs across the country have experienced the fun, hands-on Engineering Adventures curriculum, which has been shown to boost children’s interest and knowledge in engineering. Project leaders estimate that, with additional support, they could reach 80,000 more children in three years.


Program Overview

Engineering Adventures (EA) is a free curriculum created especially for 3rd-5th grade children in out-of-school, after-school, or camp programs. The mission of Engineering Adventures is to create exciting activities and experiences that allow all elementary learners to act as engineers and engage in the engineering design process.

Each EA curriculum unit presents children with real-world engineering problems that are relevant to their lives. In order to meet the needs of both after-school educators and the children they serve, units include fun, engaging activities with easy-to gather materials.

EA's goal is to make a positive impact on children's attitudes, to help kids feel confident about their ability to engineer, and to help children see themselves as engineers. Preliminary research has shown that after engaging in EA units, children have more positive attitudes towards science and engineering careers, as well as their own abilities as engineers.

How To Get Involved

Engineering Adventures offers diverse opportunities to support engineering education:

  • $500 would pay for one Engineering Adventures unit in an afterschool program serving 10-24 children.
  • $10,000 supports the development of a new Engineering Adventures lesson. $60-80,000 funds the development and evaluation of a new Engineering Adventures unit, which reaches some 3,000 children a year.

STEM professionals can volunteer to lead children through Engineering Adventures units in out of school programs.

Funders and Partners

S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, NASA


Melissa Higgins, Director of Curriculum Development

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Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.