Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Rocks, Jeans, and Busy Machines
Growing up, I was taught that doctors and nurses heal people. Teachers form young minds, police and firemen help or save people. And as I grew I learned that journalists wanted to change the world. What did I hear about engineers? Zip, nada, zero.
Engineers were in that sort of nebulous geeky career field. Nobody knew exactly what they did, and certainly couldn’t talk about it. Unless of course you wanted to watch someone’s eyes glaze over. That’s always a cool effect.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I was much older, through my own work, that I came to the realization that it’s engineers who shape the world we live in. And it’s a shame that kids, especially girls, are not made aware of, or encouraged to enter this career field. They should be.
Girls as well as boys need to be encouraged to develop their brilliance. Math and science shouldn’t intimidate children, it should excite them. To quote the Engineering Kids website, “Engineering invokes creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills.” Isn’t that totally cool? Who wouldn’t want their kid to have those capabilities? Not that a liberal arts degree is a bad thing, but maybe going forward we could also include another option.
I came across this book while reading a copy of ENR (Engineering News-Record) and had to share it. Did you know there is a worldwide shortage of engineers? Long term, this will affect each of us. In ways you can’t imagine.
The authors, Raymundo and Alane Rivera, are young engineers and the book is self-published. It is very well done. The plan is a series of books showcasing different engineering specialties to kids ages 4-8. The first title Rocks, Jeans, and Busy Machines: An Engineering Kids Storybook, is available now, and there are more titles to come.
I’ve purchased a copy for my niece, who will be four in a few weeks. Who knows what she’ll be when she grows up. But maybe, just maybe, if she’s not an author, we’ll have another engineer in the family.
If you think this is a great idea, please pass it on.