How to Think Like an Engineer

February 11, 2023

how to think like an engineer

Engineering is the use of science and maths to create machines, devices and structures such as cars, airplanes, roads, bridges and tunnels. Without engineers many of the things that we take for granted wouldn't be possible.

How to think like an engineer

The ability to see a problem and then solve it using scientific principles, mathematics and/or the creative application of new technologies is what separates engineers from others. Engineers often find ways to make practical applications of their inventions and discoveries, helping them to get to market.

Young children are natural born engineers, exhibiting EHoM in the raw as they experiment with the properties of materials. Stacking up bricks and then toppling them over causes a surge of pleasure in their little minds, as does the delight of creating a medieval castle out of cardboard.

This is a mindset that has been responsible for many of the amazing technological advances that have helped to improve the way we live in the world. It is the same mindset that came up with flatpack furniture, disposable nappies and the postal code; solved Stockholm's traffic and the problem of bank closing times; and that has saved countless lives.

So how can engineering schools and teachers help to cultivate the habits of mind that will help students to thrive as engineers? To begin with, it might be worth taking a fresh look at the pedagogy that underpins engineering teaching and learning and considering whether it is appropriate for teachers to adopt approaches which seek to cultivate the kinds of EHoM which we have been talking about.


Traffic Dave is on a mission to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram