AMA?ESD to host engineering night

ALPENA – The Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District will be hosting a free family engineering night on May 15, from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. at the AMA ESD office for K-8 students and their families. There will be hands-on engineering activities designed to help recognize the creative side of engineering while exploring ways it improves everyday life.

Michigan Technological University, the Foundation for Family Science and Engineering, and the American Society for Engineering Education put the program together, along with the National Science Foundation, to help create informal engineering programs. The event is supported in part by the Michigan STEM Partnership and the Michigan Economic Development Cooperation.

“Everything is really fun, and it’s all hands-on,” Tracy D’Augustino, AMA/Iosco math science program coordinator, said. “We follow the generic engineering design process, introducing problems with constraints, and encourage trial and error.”

The room is set with about 10-12 mini-activities to be completed by a family called “openers.” Directions and questions related to the project are set up for each one as a warmup activity to get families started with basic engineering problems and questions.

“After everyone has had a chance to do some of the openers, we take them through guided challenges,” D’Augustino said. “The design of the project is really up to them. We want them to think creatively or ‘outside the box’.”

According to D’Augustino, having cooperation and ideas to discuss within a family is very valuable.

“We work really hard to make sure everyone is engaged and having a good time,” she said.

The engineering night also helps students learn some of the different types of engineering fields they can be involved in, like aerospace engineering, for example.

“It’s a huge field,” D’Augustino said. “This event fosters family time. The purpose is to have fun. Learning should be fun.”

To pre-register for the math science center’s family engineering night, contact Lisa Krey at or 351-3101, Ext. 120.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.