Each year during National Engineers Week in February, sixth-graders from Chief Joseph Middle School or Sacajawea Middle School in Bozeman spend a day at MSU participating in hands-on engineering activities led by MSU students involved in engineering organizations. College of Engineering students explain the engineering principles involved in making ice cream, designing and constructing a model oil pipeline and bridge, and programming a robot, among other things!

Engineer-a-thon events 2018

Properties of light

Students use polarized materials and other light filters to understand how the materials interact with infrared light.

International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE)

Transportation and YOU!

Using model cars, students simulate their interaction in difference scenarios.

Institute of Transportation Engineers 

3D printing demonstration

See a 3-dimensional printer in action and samples of products from other types of 3d printers.

MSU MakerSpace

Properties of light

Students use polarized materials and other light filters to understand how the materials interact with infrared light.

International Society for Optics and Photonics

S’mores with computer code

Students use basic computer code commands to instruct others to make s'mores.

Association of Women in Computing

Making ice cream with liquid nitrogen

The cold temperature of liquid nitrogen is used to chill ice cream ingredients and make the tasty treat.

American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Alaska oil pipeline

Students will create an oil (syrup) pipeline out of PVC pipe to transfer oil across the Alaskan terrain.  Focuses on the environmental impact of engineering and how to make solutions efficient so that the environment isn’t negatively affected

American Indian Science and Engineering Society

Fun with DNA and bacteria-enriched Juice

Students swish salt water in their mouths to extract some DNA that congeals with the aid of rubbing alcohol, then enjoy some bacteria-enriched juice.  

Society of Biological Engineers

Concrete mixing

Students mix their own batch of coal fly-ash concrete and place it into a mold. This fast-setting concrete allow kids to create a finished product that they can take home.

American Society of Civil Engineers

Retaining wall demo

Students later sand with toilet paper to simulate how geotextiles add strength to earth-berm structures. Weights are placed on top to test the strength.

Association of General Contractors

Thermal properties

Students see how a thermal imaging camera works and then use thermal properties to crush an aluminum can.

American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

Electro-chemical fun

Students use lemons to generate enough electricity to power simple electronics, see a small hydrogen fuel-cell car in action, and feel how hydrophobic sand resists water.

Electro-Chemical Society

Filtering water

Students use a variety of household materials to filter water.

Engineers Without Borders


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Resources for teachers


Middle school students with thermal imagining camera

Try Engineering

TryEngineering offers a variety of lesson plans that align with education standards to allow teachers and students to apply engineering principles in the classroom. 

Teach Engineering


Standards-aligned engineering lessons and hands-on activities for use in science, engineering, and math classrooms.

 High school students coming to participate in the shadow a College of Engineering student event

 middle school students participating in learning to make lemon batteries at COE Engineer-a-thon

National Science Foundation

Engineering is behind many of the great achievements of the 20th century and making future innovations possible. This collection of lessons, activities, and web resources aims to help educators, students, and students' families learn more about engineering. Some of these resources come from the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). NSDL is the National Science Foundation's online library of resources for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.


Montana Engineering Education Research Center 


The Montana Engineering Education Research Center (MEERC) was approved by the Montana Board of Regents in September of 2016.  The purpose of the MEERC is to Transform Engineering Education through interdisciplinary, empirical research on improving student success.  The overarching research thrusts that MEERC affiliates are interested in are:

  • Preparing engineering graduates to meet the grand challenges of the 21st century.
  • Broadening participation in the engineering workforce.
  • Improving learning efficiency.
  • Understanding why students opt out of engineering during their degree or after entering the workforce.


 Contact: Jennifer Clark, College of Engineering dean's office, jennifer.clark6@montana.edu or (406) 994-7836.