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I am wondering what kinds of courses students can take during their K-12 experience to prepare themselves for a career as an aerospace engineer?

I am currently a graduate student studying to be a school counselor. I am working on a project that focuses on preparing student for college and career readiness.

#stem #careers #engineer


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Sungmo (David)’s Answer

Algebra is the fundamental of a lot of the advanced mathematics. It is not necessarily what can be done in class, but also outside of class as well. Repetition and exposure to variations of problems will help students recognize different ways of coming to a solution. Once there is a firm grasp on this the student can dedicate solely on the concept of physics and other sciences rather than how the mathematics is used to solve problems. This helps a lot once the calculus based physics courses are introduced. That said, engineering is more than just math and science, but these courses are typically used to weed out candidates demotivating early students due to the difficulty. Once these core courses are completed the students can immerse themselves into the actual engineering courses and I have noticed students that really want to be engineers excel in the more advanced courses despite their grades in the required core classes.

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John’s Answer

Math (algebra, trigonometry, calculus), chemistry, physics, computer design software like auto-cad or solidworks, and shop class that helps you learn how things are made. These are the basics that you will have to take in college. College will be easier if you take these sooner and learn the language and theories.

Thank you, John! Those sound like great courses to take for a student preparing for an engineering career! Karlee M.

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Stacey’s Answer

Hi Karlee, many highschools might offer something call Project Lead the Way or something similar that is focused on building up engineering skills. I've often seen it be a 3 year or 4 year elective program that students can take. Often times these programs will teach CAD software. If your school doesn't offer something like this, look to see if the local community college offers a program to learn CAD software. Learning the engineering principles is a great complement to all the math and science needed. If you have the capacity to study hard and your family has the financial means to pay for the tests, I recommend enrolling in some of the AP programs, especially Physics and Calculus.

Thank you so much, Stacey! I have not heard of Project Lead the Way but it sounds beneficial for students who are confident in wanting to pursue an engineering career. Karlee M.

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Nick’s Answer

Learning math and science for their intrinsic value is useful but just part of the learning reward. The real value comes from the exercise of learning complex rules and theories and being able to apply them to solve complex problems. In school, a test question has a right answer. I the real world, a problem requires a solution that is at least one step beyond what is already known. Challenge students to apply everything they know to come up with new ideas and new questions to get them ready for the real world.

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Nick’s Answer

Incorporate an activity where the students take stuff apart and put it back together again. Learning how toys, bicycles, appliances furniture work and are made is a great experience. Engineering students need to be very curious about how things work and hands on experience with handling simple tools. Hope you could safely work this into your teaching practice.

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