Cary Sneider Visiting Scholar Portland State University

Engineering Videos for the Classroom: Engineering Design

PostedWednesday, June 6, 2018 at 6:26 PM

Engineering Videos for the Classroom: Engineering Design

By Mihir Ravel and Cary Sneider

Streaming digital video is one of the most remarkable technologies to emerge from the Internet. Of special note for education, it has supported an explosion of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tutorial videos that have enabled self-guided learning across an amazing range of subjects and skills.  However, searching for just the right video to illustrate a certain idea or skill for your students can also lead down numerous irrelevant paths, siphoning off valuable time better spent on other classroom needs. To optimize the value of this resource, it makes sense for us to pool our resources, and share the best videos we’ve found.  LinkEngineering provides a great platform for this.

As a first effort, we spent some time looking for useful videos to illustrate the engineering design process for students in middle or high school grades.  We searched YouTube using a number of different phrases including “The Engineering Design Process,” “What Do Engineers Do?” and “Design Thinking.”  Each of these yielded quite a number of possibilities. Not all were suitable for students, as some were aimed at business leaders or educators, and many were not very engaging for students or just silly.  Focusing on videos that a middle or high school teacher might show as part of a unit on engineering, we came up with the following examples.  You can find more engineering videos on the LinkEngineering resource page and also the LinkEngineering YouTube Channel that features playlists on a variety of engineering topics.

Engineering Design:

The Engineering Design Process: A Taco Party (3:37)

A short, animated and colorful video suitable for all ages from elementary student to adult, but particularly lively for students. It illustrates the EDP applied to designing and implementing an impromptu party for friends! (Based on NGSS 3-5-ETS1-1: “Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.”)


Engineering Design Process from TeachEngineering 1:46

The team at TeachEngineering created this short overview of the engineering design process to support the use of the over 1,500 free STEM lesson plans in their digital library.


The Deep Dive, Part 1 (9:54), Part 2 (7:33), and Part 3 (4:36)

Although it is nearly 20 years old, this Nightline television program is still a favorite demonstration of how teams of designers define and solve problems to meet people’s needs.  In the video, a team from the design firm Ideo redesigns the grocery cart.


The Design Thinking Process (3:56)

From Stanford Univeristy’s D-School, this illustrated overview provides a simple example of the five steps of the design thinking process: 1) empathize with people’s needs; 2) define the problem; 3) ideate to come up with different solutions; 4) prototype the most promising solutions; and 5) test to see if your idea with actual users to see if it works to solve the problem.


The Engineering Process: Crash Course Kids #12.2 (5:16)

Sabrina, a young woman with a lively style and a good diversity role model, clearly explains the EDP using various examplea of engineering objects and engineers such as Alexander Graham Bell, Gustav Eiffel, and Willis Carrier. Well suited for middle and high school students, and also families for informal education and outreach.




During our hunt for videos to illustrate the Engineering Design Process, we came across other videos that do a nice job of describing what engineering is all about—just not the engineering design process. These also play an important role in an introductory unit on engineering.

What's an Engineer? Crash Course Kids #12.1  (4:29)

Sabrina, explains the who/what/why of engineers, their types, and the impact of their work on society. Examples ranging from refrigerators to cars to cellphones are illustrated with animations and images.


NASA for Kids: Intro to Engineering (2:42)

Quick overview of the engineering design process illustrated with images of NASA activities and men and women having a great time on the job.


What Is Engineering? (6:20)

High production values and short comments by high school and college youth provide a quick overview of the wide range of projects that engineers work on and dispels some of the myths. For example, role models point out that you don’t have to be a wiz at science and math, and engineers are not nerds.


Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship (33:44)

At 33 minutes this introduction to engineering is a bit long, but worth the time.  Diane Amanti, a student of economics and management at MIT and several other role models describe the value of engineering to meet peoples’ needs. At key points the video pauses so that students can discuss issues before continuing.


What are your Favorites?

We invite readers to contribute other favorite videos on this topic that you’ve found so we can build up a bank of pre-viewed resources suitable for our students. Tell us how you use STEM videos to teach engineering in the comments.




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  • Cary  Sneider

    Posted 5 months, 1 week and 6 days ago

    Hi, Jeff,

    It's great to get your comments. If you know of any other good videos showing what engineering is really like please post them. -- Cary