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Posted November 27, 2019

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Engineers of Tomorrow is a not-for-profit that is shaping the engineering narrative by telling better stories. 

Keeping STEM outreach affordable

Here at EoT, we love to keep our outreach efforts affordable and accessible by focusing on creating an exciting experience for kids at minimal cost! There’s a lot of creative and innovative ways to stretch outreach dollars.

That said, we do have some favorite tools, and tips for keeping costs down and what’s worth investing in.

  1. Button maker – this is one of our FAVORITE outreach tools! It’s the most expensive thing on our list, but it’s well worth the investment. Here’s the one that we use: People Power Press 1/25″ Standard Button Maker. This thing has been put to the test by thousand of kids! There’s just a kind of magic that happens for kids when they are literally turning their ideas into reality. But, we cannot take credit for this idea….it was an innovation for National Engineering Month Ontario a few years back. A NEM volunteer from PEO’s Grand River Chapter came up with this unique way to engage kids and have them walk away with some great engineering messaging to share with their peers.
  2. Engage the senses – This one almost goes without saying. EoT STEM experience ALWAYS include some form of hands-on / touch element. The student’s experience is more than just auditory. We like to consider all the senses we can when designing an experience for students. Think about the materials being used – how do they feel? What about scents – is there anything overpowering that might bother some students? How do things look – is there signage, and other fun colorful elements? 
  3. Low tech – affordable materials like: popsicle sticks, straws, tape, etc. are all you really need to keep kids engaged. Challenge yourself to think of different ways that you can incorporate these materials. Some ideas….open a conversation about sustainability (are popsicle sticks more sustainable that plastic straws? Why? Where do the raw materials come from? What about shipping costs?)
  4. A Story! – Storytelling is a powerful (and VERY affordable) tool to create a lasting impact. Never underestimate the value of your own story, your experiences, failures you’ve overcome, successes you’ve celebrated, and the impact you are helping create. It can take some practice to turn your memories into a story that is relate-able for kids, but it can really make the difference with it comes to creating a connection.

What are your favorite outreach investments? 💲💲

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