Making engineering fun

TUSTIN — From circuit boards to cotton ball catapults, students at Tustin Elementary got a hands-on look at science on Thursday.

Family Engineering Night brought students and families together to learn about science in a practical way. Tustin Elementary teachers facilitated simple activities and instructors from the Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center brought equipment to teach students about electrical science.

“There is a big push to get more and more people into engineering and math,” said Tustin Elementary Title 1 teacher Susan Stahl. “So many kids are scared of math and science, and if we can show (these areas of study) in a different light, maybe they would consider a career (in those fields).”

The event, which is in its first year, was funded by the school’s Title 1 program. Nearly 90 individuals came to the event to learn about engineering.

Building a circuit board for a musical doorbell according to a diagram, fourth grader Ellie White was having fun and learning at the same time.

“My friend bought something like this and I built it before,” Ellie said, while diligently working to figure out why her doorbell didn’t chime. “I kinda like to build stuff.”

Showing students how engineering can be fun and plays a role in everyday life is what Family Engineering Night is all about.

“The kids have really enjoyed this,” Stahl said. “We’re trying to show them a positive view of engineering at a young age.”

Families also were given a free dinner before the event and each family left with a folder packed with information about engineering careers and engineering games to play at home.

The school plans to host Family Engineering Night annually.