Scientist or engineer? Are they the same or different? Do they overlap in certain areas but do things differently in other areas…absolutely! Plus, your kiddo doesn’t have to pick, they can be both. Read about some of the differences below. Also check out some of our best resources to get started with engineering at any age.
WHAT IS AN ENGINEER?
SCIENTIST Vs. ENGINEER
Is a scientist an engineer? Is an engineer a scientist? It can be very confusing! Often scientists and engineers work together to solve a problem. You may find it hard to understand how they are similar and yet different.
One way to think about this is that scientists will often start with a question. This leads them to explore the natural world, and discover new knowledge. Scientists like to work in small steps to slowly add to our understanding.
On the other hand, engineers may begin with the specific problem at hand and apply known solutions to this problem. Engineers traditionally want to know how and why things work because then they can apply that knowledge to solve practical problems.
Both scientists and engineers are equally important. But there is considerable overlap between science and engineering. You will find scientists who design and construct equipment and engineers who make important scientific discoveries. Both constantly look to improve upon what they do.
When it comes down to it, like scientists, engineers are simply curious people! The biggest difference between a scientist and an engineer may simply be their educational background and what they are asked to do. Curiosity and a deep foundational knowledge of science, technology, and math is vital to both scientists and engineers.
What is a scientist?
Want to learn more about what scientists do? Make sure to read all about what is a scientist including the 8 Best Science Practices, and specific science vocabulary. Then go ahead and create a scientist lapbook!
ENGINEERING DESIGN PROCESS
Engineers often follow a design process. There are different design processes but each one includes the same basic steps to identify and solve problems.
An example of the process is “ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve”. This process is flexible and may be completed in any order. Learn more about the Engineering Design Process.
ENGINEERING BOOKS FOR KIDS
Sometimes the best way to introduce STEM is through a colorfully illustrated book with characters your kids can relate to! Check out this fantastic list of engineering books that are teacher approved and get ready to spark curiosity and exploration!
Think like an engineer! Talk like an engineer! Act like an engineer! Get kids started with a vocabulary list that introduces some awesome engineering terms. Make sure to include them into your next engineering challenge or project.
FUN ENGINEERING PROJECTS TO TRY
Don’t just read about engineering, go ahead and try one of these 12 fantastic engineering projects! Each one has printable instructions to help you get started.
There are two ways you can go about it. Follow the step-by-step instructions if you need more guidance. Alternatively, present the engineering theme as a challenge and see what your kiddos come up with as a solution!
MORE STEM PROJECTS FOR KIDS
Engineering is one part of STEM, click on the image below or on the link for tons more awesome STEM activities for kids.