3-D Engineering: Design and Build Your Own Prototypes

3-D Engineering: Design and Build Your Own Prototypes

In 3-D Engineering: Design and Build Your Own Prototypes, young readers tackle real-life engineering problems by figuring out real-life solutions. Kids apply science and math skills to create prototypes for musical instruments, race cars, alarms, and more. Prototypes are preliminary models used by engineers—and kids—to evaluate ideas and to better understand how things work.

Bridges, skyscrapers, helicopters, and night lights are all very useful things! But how did somebody come up with the idea for these things, and how did people figure out how to build them?

Using a structured engineering design process, kids learn how to brainstorm, build a prototype, test a prototype, evaluate, and re-design. Projects include designing a cardboard chair to understand the stiffness of structural systems and designing and building a set of pan pipes to experiment with pitch and volume in music. 3-D Engineering gives kids a chance to figure out many different prototypes, empowering them to discover the mechanics of the world we know.

Price (suggested retail)

  • Softcover, $17.95
  • Hardcover, $22.95
  • eBook, $12.95

Grade Level 4–6

Ages 9–12

GRL W

Subjects

  • Engineering & Technology
  • Physics
  • STEM - STEAM

More Details
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In 3-D Engineering: Design and Build Your Own Prototypes, young readers tackle real-life engineering problems by figuring out real-life solutions. Kids apply science and math skills to create prototypes for musical instruments, race cars, alarms, and more. Prototypes are preliminary models used by engineers—and kids—to evaluate ideas and to better understand how things work.

Bridges, skyscrapers, helicopters, and night lights are all very useful things! But how did somebody come up with the idea for these things, and how did people figure out how to build them?

Using a structured engineering design process, kids learn how to brainstorm, build a prototype, test a prototype, evaluate, and re-design. Projects include designing a cardboard chair to understand the stiffness of structural systems and designing and building a set of pan pipes to experiment with pitch and volume in music. 3-D Engineering gives kids a chance to figure out many different prototypes, empowering them to discover the mechanics of the world we know.


Science Books and Films
++: Highly Recommended
“. . . This book is a wonderful resource for teachers and parents to use in the classroom and at home. It gets back to the basics with exciting activities that are hands-on that support the STEM program. When kids use their hands and work together to create a prototype, the outcomes are much higher when they are actively engaged in this type of learning. It gives students confidence in math while building problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. This is a book that teachers, parents, boys, and girls will enjoy as they learn about the many facets of the engineering world.”

School Library Connection, April 2016
“Author Vicky V. May has produced a procedural book for the 21st century. Information covers electricity, chemistry, earth science, physics, and energy. . . The text, with fast facts, sidebars, and text boxes, is kid-friendly and the topics fit the science curriculum. Its guided inquiry approach makes this a useful tool for students seeking science fair ideas, teachers selecting creative outcomes to lessons, and learners who thrive on hands-on projects. Cartoon-like illustrations supplement the “how-to” aspect of the book nicely. Glossary. Index. Recommended”

Booklist Online 
“Engineers design solutions for common or sophisticated needs, and here kids are challenged to consider, brainstorm, experiment, and create prototypes for 25 projects, from a pencil holder to a cardboard chair to a mini-robot. Each of the first seven chapters examines a specific topic and then asks readers to create one to three corresponding projects. . . . Instructions for each project include five steps with highlighted vocabulary and informational text boxes. Most projects lean toward collaboration and experimentation. Colored text boxes and illustrations help break up the text, and several experiments have QR codes for expanded online content. Part of the Build It Yourself series, this book will prove useful to middle-school science teachers.”

Joseph J. Helble, dean, Thayer School of Engineering, professor of engineering, Dartmouth College
“3-D Engineering does a wonderful job of conveying the creative discovery and invention that are such important parts of engineering. The author nicely addresses the need for an engineer to not only use the tools of math and science to solve problems, but to experiment, tinker, and discover as a way to develop creative solutions to some of our most pressing problems.”

Amanda Burns, fifth-grade teacher
“This book brings engineering to the classroom in such a clear and concise way. Children and teachers learn about the many facets of the engineering world while engaging in fun, hands-on activities. This book provides an excellent overview of what it takes to think like an engineer.“

Matt Buck, fifth-grade teacher
“This book nails it! A wonderful resource for the individuals in my classroom who want to take their learning a step further, and I can also use it with my whole class as we explore particular aspects of engineering. 3-D Engineering is engaging with its text and numerous opportunities for building and designing projects. A positive and engaging use of technology to link the learner to ‘Primary Source’ material!”

Praise for other  engineering & technology titles:

Robotics: Discover the Science and Technology of the Future with 20 Projects
Chicago Public Library selects Robotics as one of their best of the best books for 2012!
Featured title in School Library Journal December 2013 “Focus on Inventions”.

Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering with 25 Projects
Moonbeam Award 2012 Gold

National Science Teachers Association Recommends
“. . . a treasure trove of information, experiments, and building challenges, and is an excellent, exciting, and easy way to incorporate STEM education into your classroom, science fair, or after-school engineering club.”

Cities: Discover How They Work with 25 Projects
Winner 2014 Silver Moonbeam Award

Booklist
“Propounding the emerging interdisciplinary paradigm of STEAM, this hands-on informational book discusses how cities’ complex structures and systems function together in an interdependent way.”

book accent

look inside book
look inside book spread

project image

Marshmallow Tower

Try the Marshmallow Challenge, a fun and quick design challenge that thousands of people have attempted.

Click here to download a print-friendly PDF

project accent

author image

Vicki V. May

Vicki V. May holds a BS in engineering from the University of Minnesota and MS and PhD degrees in engineering from Stanford University. She is a professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College and is also involved in various outreach projects that bring the challenge of engineering to middle and high school students. Vicki was named Teacher of the Year for Dartmouth and Thayer in 2012 and Professor of the Year for the State of New Hampshire in 2013.


author image

Andrew Christensen

Andrew Christensen has been drawing since he could hold a pencil. He is a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies and an art director at a hobby game company. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.



More Details

Grade Level: 4–6
Ages: 9–12
GRL: W
Subjects: Engineering & Technology, Physics, STEM - STEAM,
Specs: 8 x 10 , 4-color interior , 128 pages,
Includes: Table of Contents, Timeline, Charts, Glossary, Resources, Index,

Reviews

Science Books and Films
++: Highly Recommended
“. . . This book is a wonderful resource for teachers and parents to use in the classroom and at home. It gets back to the basics with exciting activities that are hands-on that support the STEM program. When kids use their hands and work together to create a prototype, the outcomes are much higher when they are actively engaged in this type of learning. It gives students confidence in math while building problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. This is a book that teachers, parents, boys, and girls will enjoy as they learn about the many facets of the engineering world.”

School Library Connection, April 2016
“Author Vicky V. May has produced a procedural book for the 21st century. Information covers electricity, chemistry, earth science, physics, and energy. . . The text, with fast facts, sidebars, and text boxes, is kid-friendly and the topics fit the science curriculum. Its guided inquiry approach makes this a useful tool for students seeking science fair ideas, teachers selecting creative outcomes to lessons, and learners who thrive on hands-on projects. Cartoon-like illustrations supplement the “how-to” aspect of the book nicely. Glossary. Index. Recommended”

Booklist Online 
“Engineers design solutions for common or sophisticated needs, and here kids are challenged to consider, brainstorm, experiment, and create prototypes for 25 projects, from a pencil holder to a cardboard chair to a mini-robot. Each of the first seven chapters examines a specific topic and then asks readers to create one to three corresponding projects. . . . Instructions for each project include five steps with highlighted vocabulary and informational text boxes. Most projects lean toward collaboration and experimentation. Colored text boxes and illustrations help break up the text, and several experiments have QR codes for expanded online content. Part of the Build It Yourself series, this book will prove useful to middle-school science teachers.”

Joseph J. Helble, dean, Thayer School of Engineering, professor of engineering, Dartmouth College
“3-D Engineering does a wonderful job of conveying the creative discovery and invention that are such important parts of engineering. The author nicely addresses the need for an engineer to not only use the tools of math and science to solve problems, but to experiment, tinker, and discover as a way to develop creative solutions to some of our most pressing problems.”

Amanda Burns, fifth-grade teacher
“This book brings engineering to the classroom in such a clear and concise way. Children and teachers learn about the many facets of the engineering world while engaging in fun, hands-on activities. This book provides an excellent overview of what it takes to think like an engineer.“

Matt Buck, fifth-grade teacher
“This book nails it! A wonderful resource for the individuals in my classroom who want to take their learning a step further, and I can also use it with my whole class as we explore particular aspects of engineering. 3-D Engineering is engaging with its text and numerous opportunities for building and designing projects. A positive and engaging use of technology to link the learner to ‘Primary Source’ material!”

Praise for other  engineering & technology titles:

Robotics: Discover the Science and Technology of the Future with 20 Projects
Chicago Public Library selects Robotics as one of their best of the best books for 2012!
Featured title in School Library Journal December 2013 “Focus on Inventions”.

Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering with 25 Projects
Moonbeam Award 2012 Gold

National Science Teachers Association Recommends
“. . . a treasure trove of information, experiments, and building challenges, and is an excellent, exciting, and easy way to incorporate STEM education into your classroom, science fair, or after-school engineering club.”

Cities: Discover How They Work with 25 Projects
Winner 2014 Silver Moonbeam Award

Booklist
“Propounding the emerging interdisciplinary paradigm of STEAM, this hands-on informational book discusses how cities’ complex structures and systems function together in an interdependent way.”


Projects

project image

Marshmallow Tower

Try the Marshmallow Challenge, a fun and quick design challenge that thousands of people have attempted.


Click here to download a print-friendly PDF

Author-Illustrator

author image

Vicki V. May

Vicki V. May holds a BS in engineering from the University of Minnesota and MS and PhD degrees in engineering from Stanford University. She is a professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College and is also involved in various outreach projects that bring the challenge of engineering to middle and high school students. Vicki was named Teacher of the Year for Dartmouth and Thayer in 2012 and Professor of the Year for the State of New Hampshire in 2013.

author image

Andrew Christensen

Andrew Christensen has been drawing since he could hold a pencil. He is a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies and an art director at a hobby game company. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.