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TryEngineering Today!

TryEngineering Today! is dedicated to providing the latest news and information for students, parents, teachers, and counselors interested in engineering, computing technology and related topics.

thank you
May 8, 2018 |

TryEngineering.org wants to extend a great big THANK YOU to all of the STEM teacher-warriors working tirelessly to help students discover their inner innovators. We know that teaching STEM involves a great deal of planning, preparation, materials, and sometimes even a dash of chaos. By introducing students to STEM you are giving them the freedom to wonder, create, collaborate, tinker, and sometimes even fail. STEM teaches students to stay curious, play, take risks, and never give up. Through these experiences, you are shaping the dreamers, disruptors, and difference-makers of tomorrow!

Future city
May 1, 2018 | Teacher Opportunities

Future City is an award-winning STEAM program adopted by educators like you for over 25 years. Students build 21st-century skills—problem solving, project management, and teamwork—all within an environment that fosters authentic thinking and a growth mindset.

Future City engages young minds and encourages independent thinking. It inspires non-traditional learners and challenges high achievers.

Use this promo code, and share it with your STEAM educator friends so they can register for Future City 2018-2019 for free. You’ll get one of the most comprehensive STEAM programs that aligns with academic standards, including Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.


April 30, 2018 | Announcements

Check out the latest trailer for the Zappy Squirrel App:


Figure 1. A house and topography model. Source: Epilog Laser
April 17, 2018 | Sponsored

Jennifer Bosavage

Laser engravers are versatile pieces of equipment in schools. Not only do they offer a great way to teach students skilled craftsmanship, but they also provide a way for schools to save money on student and teacher awards, directional and instructional signage and various other projects that were once outsourced. Lasers are user-friendly and easy to operate, and most students are mesmerized by the technology when they see the laser in action, which makes them excited about creating their own laser projects. Here are four amazing ways laser engravers and cutters are being used in the classroom.

Architectural Models

Students with an interest in architecture or design can build models of their designs with various types of materials, including wood, acrylic, matboard and other prototype materials. Students learn how to develop a design and then realize it by using CAD programs to create a small-scale replica.

Challenging students to design things that scale-up to a size larger than the prototype encourages them to “think big.” In addition, geology can be built into these types of lessons, with students required to situate their creations on certain topography types.

Musical Instruments

Figure 2. A personalized guitar engraving. Source: Epilog LaserBuilding musical instruments from scratch helps students understand how the instruments work as well as the physics of sound. For example, an electric guitar can be designed from scratch using plywood and a laser cutter. To create a template, students can download images from the internet and use measurements from a model guitar, create the design and then cut out the body using a laser cutter. Using cardboard for the prototype is preferred to allow for adjustments before cutting wood. Students will quickly see how the slightest deviation in design will impact the final product’s sound quality. Additionally, the instruments can be engraved as desired with students’ names or with far more intricate designs. In addition to students building or personalizing their own instruments, school music departments that rent equipment can brand and serialize rental instruments to increase traceability and reduce theft.


Drama departments are frequently in a bind, looking for that perfect costume or piece for set design. Laser cutters can cut fabric to make elaborate, unique costumes for school productions, which allows students who are interested in fashion and theater to laser cut clothes and costumes, another meaningfully way to participate in a school activity. Materials can be inexpensive as well. As noted above, cardboard is an economical choice when creating design prototypes, as it is inexpensive and cuts quickly. Creating structures from cardboard is a simple way to test complex designs. Any sturdy cardboard can be used, from corrugated to recycled shipping boxes. Slotting, stacking and folding the material can all be done without compromising its integrity to create 3D forms.

Figure 3. Design and fabricate unique trophies and awards. Source: Epilog LaserAwards

Laser engravers can certainly handle basic tasks such as personalizing trophies and plaques. But they can also create one-of-a-kind awards using unique templates that administrators or students themselves design. Scrap material can be repurposed into custom awards created from many different types of substrates. Epilog offers an award template to get students started, but there are endless possibilities. A quick search on Pinterest provides many creative ideas for laser cut trophies, medals and awards. We know that student recognition is important, and a unique token of a student’s achievement that is customized just for them makes the distinction even greater.

Content sponsored by Epilog Laser: https://www.epiloglaser.com/gs-try-engineering/.



This content was provided by Epilog Laser. In business since 1988, Epilog Laser has worked hard to become the leader in the laser engraving, cutting and marking industry. We are innovators. We are problem solvers. We are committed to designing and manufacturing the highest-quality laser systems, right here in our Golden, CO headquarters. Read More.

TET Classroom
April 4, 2018 | Teacher Opportunities

Infuse your Classroom with the Power of STEM eMentorship!
TryEngineering Together™ is an innovative STEM eMentorship program that fosters connections between 3rd-5th grade students in under resourced classrooms and real engineering and technology professionals in a safe online environment.
Teacher applications are currently being accepted for classroom grants to participate in the program, which begins in Fall 2018. 


Become a STEM leader at your school and apply today! 


Download the TryEngineering Together Flyer










Figure 1. Schools can save significant sums by engraving their own awards, plaques and signs. Source: Epilog Laser
March 16, 2018 | Sponsored

Jennifer Bosavage

For middle schools and high schools a high-quality, durable laser cutter engraver is a highly sought-after tool. Even elementary schools are getting excited about this type of equipment. Laser cutters help to develop valuable technical skills, nurture logical and creative thought processes and, in the long run, can actually save schools money.

In addition to classroom usage, schools with laser cutters can create their own student and teacher awards and recognition products, design and produce directional and instructional signage and fabricate much more. While some school boards might have little money to spend on new equipment, a case can be made to show budget-minded school boards why they need to consider laser cutters, and how such tools can make the investment worthwhile.

1. Laser Cutters Develop Technical Skills
Learning to use a laser cutter and engraver is fairly easy. Because they’re intuitive and easy to operate, less time is spent teaching students how to operate the machinery so more time can be devoted to actually using it. Laser cutting systems work in a way that's similar to printers but instead of ink, the laser uses a beam of light to etch and engrave or cut through a variety of materials. Students can learn how to operate a laser, use graphic software to design for the laser, ensure proper laser safety and develop computer-assisted programming skills.

The technical skills students develop in high school might well expose them to a career path. Those in the skilled trades are well compensated: on average, the paychecks for trades are either at or above other careers. Research from the State of Michigan found that skilled trades provide an above average median wage, paying between $12 and $34 an hour. Laser cutters help educators transform students into project-based builders well before they reach the job market. Those skills serve students well regardless of whether they are looking for a full-time or part-time job, and also can provide the foundation for a budding entrepreneur.

2. Laser Cutters Foster Creativity and Design
All laser projects require a design plan. This typically is created in a vector-based graphic software program that tells the laser where to cut and where to engrave. Designing for the laser helps develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. In addition, research has found that students learn better and retain more with hands-on projects that have real-life applications. Students can create virtually anything using laser cutters, from simple projects such as text engraving to more intricate 3D models, all while practicing math skills, learning laser design skills and creating finished products.

3D printers are another commonly sought-after device for schools and are great companions for laser cutters in a student makerspace. However, if the school must choose between a 3D printer and a laser cutter, smart money is on the laser cutter. Lasers are significantly faster than 3D printers. Due to their speed, lasers can help ensure that every student in a typical class can complete a small project in a single period.

3. Laser Cutters Deliver Bang for the Taxpayers’ Buck
A school with a laser can produce its own student and teacher awards and plaques, as well as one-of-a-kind gifts or custom promotional products for fundraising. No more time is wasted trying to find affordable outside vendors when so many tasks can be accomplished by students in a variety of classes, clubs or other programs. For example, drama students can use the laser to create and enhance sets, props and costumes.

Sports departments can cut custom appliques for jackets and team t-shirts, or even engrave game-winning commemorative baseballs, footballs and equipment. Art students can experiment with new materials and applications to hone their craft and create new pieces. Music departments can use the laser to serialize or brand instruments to reduce theft.


The most effective school boards invest in programs that support and cultivate student learning — the top priority. School resources, therefore, are spent on promoting achievement for all students. Laser engravers and cutters can be utilized by an entire school community, including teachers and faculty. Not only can the machines teach a valuable skill that could lead to a career and potential entrepreneurship, but also pay for themselves by allowing operators to create products the school would have to spend taxpayer money on. Effective boards understand their accountability to the communities they serve. Therefore, procuring a school laser cutter should be looked on as an investment in students and schools, rather than as expenditure.

Content sponsored by Epilog Laser: https://www.epiloglaser.com/gs-try-engineering/.

This content was provided by Epilog Laser. In business since 1988, Epilog Laser has worked hard to become the leader in the laser engraving, cutting and marking industry. We are innovators. We are problem solvers. We are committed to designing and manufacturing the highest-quality laser systems, right here in our Golden, CO headquarters. Read More.

Laser tag
March 14, 2018 | Sponsored

Check out this amazing new lesson plan sponsored by Epilog Laser! Using vector-based graphic design software and an Epilog Laser cutter/engraver, students will learn to design and produce their very own custom backpack/luggage tag.

View the lesson plan

This content was provided by Epilog Laser. In business since 1988, Epilog Laser has worked hard to become the leader in the laser engraving, cutting and marking industry. We are innovators. We are problem solvers. We are committed to designing and manufacturing the highest-quality laser systems, right here in our Golden, CO headquarters. Read More.

March 8, 2018 | Profiles

Check out this inspiring profile of EPICS in IEEE leader Victoria Serrano. Learn about her LEGO EV3 Snake project out of Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá and what a STEM career means to her. #WomenInStem #EpicsinIEEE

Read more: http://epics.ieee.org/project-leader-spotlight-victoria-serrano/

March 1, 2018 |

Motivating Students to Read and Write: The Role of eMentors

Thursday, March 1, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST

Presented by Laura Woodside, National Board-Certified Classroom Teacher and Vice President, Education Products for Cricket Media; and Graceann Griffin, Basic Skills & Gifted and Talented Teacher, Harding Elementary School, Kenilworth, NJ
Sponsored by Cricket Media.

If you attend the live session, you’ll be emailed a CE certificate within 24 hours of the webinar. If you view the recording and would like a CE certificate, join the Connected Teaching and Learning community and go to the Webinar Archives folder to take the CE quiz.

Motivation determines, directs and sustains what students learn. When it comes to writing, most students struggle to find that motivation. In this edWebinar we will take a close look at how giving students grades 3-5 in under-resourced classrooms an authentic audience for their writing can dramatically boost their intrinsic motivation to write.

Laura Woodside and Graceann Griffin will explore how matching students with caring adult pen pals can give them personalized writing support, writing role models, and the opportunity to experience the real-life value of reading and writing. Join us to learn about:

  • The benefits of integrating eMentors into the curriculum to support purposeful writing instruction and provide added individual attention for students
  • Creative techniques to leverage the mentoring experience to build literacy, communications skills and engage students in early career explorations including STEM careers
  • How to safely and securely support student and eMentor relationships and model how students can benefit from connections in the larger community
  • Why eMentoring is a growing micro-volunteering opportunity that adult volunteers love
  • How to leverage students’ writing with their eMentors to uncover students’ interests and challenges so instruction can be personalized and individualized to further engage students

There will be time to get your questions answered after the presentation. You will take away new techniques for building reading, writing, critical thinking, and technology skills through authentic, purposeful content and career explorations as well as practical suggestions for integrating community and industry volunteers into your classroom. You also will hear about eMentoring programs that are currently available for K-12 classrooms and the opportunity to apply for an eMentoring grant program to get 1:1 mentorship for your students for the 2018-19 school year. School librarians, teachers, administrators, and all educators interested in motivating students to write will enjoy and learn from this live, interactive session.

Join the Connected Teaching and Learning community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming webinars, view past edWebinars, take a quiz to receive a CE certificate for a past edWebinar, and access free resources.




Coding wooden blocks
February 27, 2018 | Teacher Opportunities

New to computer science? No worries.

Whether you are new to teaching computer science (CS) or have experience teaching other CS courses, the program is designed to promote growth by providing space for you to become comfortable with curricular materials, CS content, and pedagogy. Our curriculum provides a complete set of lesson plans that include inquiry-based activities, videos, assessment support, and educational tools.

The program supports teachers with diverse teaching backgrounds as they prepare to teach either of the following courses:

CS Discoveries (Grades 6-10)

  • CS Discoveries is an introductory computer science course
  • It empowers students to create authentic artifacts and engage with computer science as a medium for creativity, communication, problem solving, and fun.
  • The curriculum is recommended for middle and high school students (grades 6-10)
  • Can be taught either as a semester or full-year offering. 

CS Principles (Grades 9-12)

  • Computer Science Principles (can be taught as an AP​®​ course)​ is also an introductory course that requires no computer science background (from students or teachers).
  • We recommend it for students in grades 9-12 with stronger reading and writing skills.
  • More than a traditional introduction to programming, it is a rigorous, engaging, and approachable course that explores many of the foundational ideas of computing so all students understand how these concepts are transforming the world we live in. 

Do you teach elementary school? Learn more about our professional learning for grades K-5 here.

Apply Today!

Learn more about each program and apply today! Priority deadline for applications is March 31, 2018. 


Quickstart: we have resources for Students, Parents, Teachers, and Guidance Counselors