Engineering messages to share
Engineering design process
Leading STEM activities
Be a role model
Inviting a STEM Professional Into Your Classroom
Inviting a STEM professional to volunteer in your classroom or after school program is a great way to engage students and spark their interest in STEM careers.
- 100% of educators surveyed said bringing an engineer into their classroom was a valuable use of time.
Whether you are planning an in-person or virtual visit, here are some tips for reaching out to engineers, scientists and/or technicians in your community and getting them ready to volunteer.
Finding STEM Professionals
This is often the hardest part. But you probably know someone or have a great organization right in your area that is willing to help out.
- Ask your students if they have parents, family members or neighbors who work in STEM. You might be surprised at who already has engineers, scientists and/or technicians in their lives.
- Think about former students. Are any now pursuing STEM? Ask one to speak with your students about their career and the path they took to get there.
- Reach out to local organizations. Engineering or technology companies, engineering societies (like a local Society of Women Engineers or American Society of Civil Engineers chapters), and your area colleges and universities with engineering departments have employees or volunteers who are eager to help.They might also offer site-visits or virtual experiences for your students.
- Virtual option— Chats with Change Makers series is DiscoverE’s interview series where Tiffany talks to young and vibrant professionals working in a variety of STEM fields each month.
Ideas to Consider
- Are you interested in a virtual or in-person experience?
- Talk to the volunteer about what STEM subjects your students are exploring and what they already know about the volunteer’s field.
- Ask the volunteer if they plan to lead a hands-on STEM activity related to their work. Be sure it is an activity your class hasn’t already done and confirm whether the volunteer will provide all of the materials.
- Discuss in advance, how many students you have and much time the volunteer will have with them. Make sure to leave time for questions!
What the Visit May Look Like
- Average length: 45 to 60 minutes
- Sample virtual and in-person outline:
- Introduce themselves and their job.
- Lead a hands-on activity. You may need to help them with logistics and group dynamics.
- Wrap-up and relate the activity it back to her or his job.
- Answer any remaining questions.
If the visit will be virtual:
- Share what virtual meeting platform you are using (e.g. ZOOM, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams) and how to access the login information.
- Encourage the volunteer to try logging on in advance of the live session to get familiar with the online platform and be sure there are no firewall issues if they are using a work computer.
If the visit will be in-person:
- Share any rules that are in place for volunteers. If a background check is required, point them to an online site your school or organization recommends.
- Ask the volunteer what A/V or technical requirements they have, if any.
- Share any visitor check-in protocols they should be aware of upon arrival (parking, how to sign in, etc)?
Learn more about integrating engineering into your classroom or afterschool with these self-guided tutorials: