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100+ Fun Projects for Engineering Students of Any Age


Apr 4 2019

At SolidProfessor, we recently surveyed 310+ educators at all levels to learn more about their triumphs, challenges, and classroom needs. Overwhelmingly, they shared that they were interested in receiving engineering project ideas. Here’s how the numbers shook out:

  • 79% of all respondents were either “interested” or “very interested” in receiving more engineering project ideas
  • 82% of K-12 educators were either “interested” or “very interested” in receiving more engineering project ideas
  • 80% of postsecondary educators were either “interested” or “very interested” in receiving more engineering project ideas

Because of this overwhelming response, we transformed all of our engineering design challenges into easy-to-use projects for engineering students. Access this free download now or continue reading for more engineering project ideas.

Fun engineering projects for high school students, middle school students, and elementary school students

Energize Schools: If you’re searching for environmentally conscious engineering projects, look no further than Energize Schools’ Project-based Learning Units. Each unit is free to download and provides all the information you need. Not only do they provide fun engineering projects for high school students and middle school students, but every project gives students the knowledge and skills to make real sustainability changes in their environments. From conducting a school solar analysis to creating a solar USB charger, the possibilities are endless!

NASA Robotics: NASA provides robotics challenges for students, including “Get Started in Robotics” resources for classrooms that are new to the topic. Most of the materials are cost-effective and easy to find, and the instructions are thoroughly laid out. These fun engineering projects for high school students and middle school students demonstrate what it’s really like to work at NASA and give students a taste of the types of problems they solve.

KQED Science: To help teachers new to the engineering requirements in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), KQED has compiled a number of fun engineering projects for high school students and middle school students. Some of them, like converting buses to showers for the homeless, have practical and helpful outcomes so students can see the importance of engineering in society.

National Science Foundation: This is a great site for finding fun engineering projects for high school students, middle schools students, and even elementary school students. Resources demonstrate how to leverage projects for integrating engineering and technology concepts; experiencing the entire engineering design process; learning about nanotechnology; and much more.

Projects for engineering students, from first-year college students to final-year college students

Elprocus: This website has pulled together more than 100 final-year engineering project abstracts for educators to use in their classrooms. These projects for engineering students are mostly geared toward electrical engineering, but many can be adapted for or inspire projects in other engineering disciplines.

Discovery Press: This compilation of projects for engineering students can be used as a springboard to inspire projects of your own creation. Or you can take these projects and directly implement them in your classes. They range from creating a wind turbine to designing a kinetic battery and much more.

NASA design challenges: Practical and fun, these competitions challenge students to build real-world solutions to current aerospace problems. Their 2019 design challenge encourages students to “imagineer” a self-piloted aircraft for critical rural and suburban areas. Their previous design challenges are also posted on their website, so you can leverage them at any time to use as projects for engineering students.

SMU Engineering Projects: SMU has compiled 70 projects for engineering students along with the full instructions, all available to teachers for free. Each of these projects challenges students to solve real-world problems and think creatively. Many projects also test students’ skills outside of the engineering field, requiring knowledge of physics, statistics, and more.

READ MORE: Digital Solutions to Engage Even the Most Reluctant Learner

Why are projects for engineering students so important?

The stakes are high when it comes to preparing students for a career in engineering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 140,000+ new engineering jobs to be added to the economy by 2026. Plus, 20% of current engineers are 55+ and will be leaving the workforce over the next decade. Combined, these factors create a perfect hiring storm.

READ MORE: Why Engineers Should Invest in Professional Development

Despite the fact that there’s a growing need for engineers, employers consistently state that incoming employees often don’t have the skills they need to be successful in today’s workplace. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) asked groups of employers about career preparation. More than 400 organizations replied, and their answers are surprising:

  • 37% believe students are prepared to work with others in teams.
  • 28% think students have the necessary oral communication skills.
  • 26% explain that students have the critical thinking and analytical skills necessary for excelling in the workplace.
  • 24% think students can appropriately analyze and solve complex problems.
  • 23% believe students are ready to apply their knowledge and skills to the real world.

These data indicate that there’s a gap between the skills students are gaining and the skills they actually need. More and more, companies are looking for employees who have the right soft skills that can bridge the gap between theory and real-world application. In engineering, the easiest way to help students develop these skills — like being able to work in teams and solve complex problems — is through projects.

Projects for engineering students challenge them to leverage their technical skills (e.g., using engineering design software, making complex calculations) in order to creatively solve complex problems. The projects outlined in this article can help your students apply engineering theory while giving them a renewed sense of excitement about pursuing a career in engineering.

[Free Download] Engineering Design Challenges for Your Classroom

These fun engineering projects for high school students, middle school students, and college students require them to think critically about complex problems, encouraging students to think outside of the box to create real-world solutions. They also test different engineering design skills students must have when they enter the workforce. Each design challenge comes with

  • Robust design parameters
  • Suggestions for making the project more or less difficult
  • Research questions and presentation prompts
  • Examples from professional engineers
Kelly Mantick
Kelly Mantick

About the Author

Kelly Mantick

SolidProfessor academic content marketer and amateur hula hooper.