Jay Swindle said he wanted to open a business that would help the United States engineering industry compete with countries like China, India and Brazil, while also helping children “find a knack” for what they want to do when they grow up.
Thus Swindle brought the Engineering for Kids franchise to central Arkansas.
Engineering for Kids is a business that provides a variety of workshops that introduce children ages 4 to 14 to science, technology, engineering and math.
The business was founded by CEO Dori Roberts, a former high school engineering teacher.
Her 6- and 8-year-old children began to show an interest in engineering after she took them to a high school competition in Orlando with her students.
When Roberts began to look for programs to continue that interest, she found none, and created an after-school club that eventually became the business model for Engineering for Kids.
“The purpose is to inspire the next generation of engineers,” Roberts said.
Betty Trent, English teacher at Simon Intermediate School, said she invited Swindle to do a presentation for her students because his business promotes a higher level thinking skill, and pairs well with the curriculum the school is using to encourage children to think and re-think about their work.
“Everything we do at engineering for kids uses the engineering design process,” Swindle said.
The process starts with asking questions. Then children brainstorm, design, build, test and improve.
“Sometimes when we do things they’re not always right the first time,” Swindle said, “so you go back and improve it.”
With each test, only one thing is changed at a time, so children can tell which variable is affecting a new outcome, Swindle explained.
Children also learn how to use material efficiently and budget their time and resources.
“Just like in everything else, in engineering, you’re only allowed to use what we give you because there’s always a budget in mind,” Swindle said.
Roberts said Engineering for Kids takes what schools are teaching and applies it to hand on learning.
“We can fill that interest in students who want to continue that education, and give them more than what their learning during the school day,” she said. “They can continue that eduction with a fun program after school.”
Engineering for Kids has a Parent’s Night Out event coming up Oct. 4 and 19 and LEGO Robotics Workshop Saturday, Oct. 12. Both are $15. A series of one in a half hour sessions for six weeks will begin Oct. 7 with LEGO Robotics, Mission Mars Oct. 14 and Electronic Game Design Oct. 17 for $120 to $125.
Engineering for Kids is located at 805 Monroe St., Suite 106. Find them on the web at engineeringforkids.net and reach them by phone at 501-472-3920.
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)