You can inspire innovation in your teens with these STEM projects. Best of all, these engineering projects can be done at home with simple materials or made-for-you kits. Here are 5 hands-on project ideas to get your teen immersed in the field of engineering.
First, your budding teen engineer can try his hand at building a hydraulic claw. This engineering project will help your teen explore aspects of fluid pressure, force, mechanical work, and biomechanics.
Hydraulic systems are used in countless applications. Here are just a few examples:
- brakes and steering on cars
- hydraulic lifts and jacks for servicing cars
- airplane wing flaps, stabilizer controls, and landing gear
- mechanical arms on garbage trucks
- blades on bulldozers
Your teens will learn how to build their own hydraulic lifting claw while they continue to experiment with bonus design challenges in the Hydraulic Claw Tinker Crate.
Wind Powered Car
With only a few household materials, your teen can build a wind-powered car using a sandwich bag as the sail. They will learn about the engineering behind basic vehicles. As a result, they will notice how different components impact the overall functionality.
After building their first prototype, encourage them to ask questions like these to see how distance, speed, and time are all related.
- What is the distance your car traveled?
- Can you make it go farther?
- What was the speed of your car?
- How fast did it get there?
- How long did it take?
Trebuchets have been used through history in medieval siege warfare. Now your teens can test their engineering skills to see if they can build and fire a real, functioning trebuchet. But no worries, they won’t be launching stones or other missiles – only ping-pong balls!
To launch a projectile, a trebuchet utilizes the transfer of gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy. A massive counterweight at one end of a lever falls because of gravity. This causes the other end of the lever to rise and release a projectile from a sling.
Once they build their trebuchet, they can experiment with additional designs as they explore the physics of slings, levers, and air resistance.
Engineering Challenge: Building Bridges
Teens love the engineering challenge of building bridges. It couldn’t be more simple – or more complex! Explore the engineering process and the re-design that is necessary.
First you can introduce your teens to the three major types of bridges: the truss bridge, the suspension bridge, and the beam bridge.
Then using simple supplies, have them build bridges and continue to improve their design.
Some supplies could include:
- Pipe cleaners
- Popsicle sticks
- Masking tape
Finally, use this robotics kit to build a walking robot. Your teen can play with mechanical motion through robot building and experimentation.
Tinker Crates from KiwiCo develop kids’ natural creativity and curiosity using STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) principles while saving time for busy parents.
These kits help kids improve their creative problem solving while they innovate and experiment.
Tinker Crate encourages hands-on learning for kids and teens. Your students between the ages of 9 and 16+ will explore topics like:
- Mechanical engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Industrial engineering
- And more!
The Tinker Crate is a great resource if you want your teens to be able to work on engineering projects that include:
- clear instructions
- all the materials
- bonus videos to help with troubleshooting
Tinker Crates are a practical solution for the busy homeschool mom.
Additional STEM Resources
Did you know as a result of doing hands-on activities, your kids will improve in their academics as well? It’s true! Make sure to check out these additional teen engineering projects and resources for your homeschool.
KiwiCo was created to celebrate kids’ natural creativity and curiosity, while helping parents who want to bring enriching experiences to their children. We want to make it fun, easy, and delightful for families to spend time building, exploring and creating together. Read more about us here and check out our subscription boxes for kids.