ENGINERDS Classroom Guide

Are you reading EngiNerds in your classroom, library, or at home with your own kids? Here are some activities you can do and questions you can discuss during or afterwards. If you do either (or both!), I hope you’ll share your projects and answers with me. I’d love to see and hear and continue the discussion with you!

ACTIVITIES

Design a robot of your very own! Describe it in detail and/or draw a picture. What would it be used for? Who would use it? List the pros and cons of having it in one’s life and the world at large. Would there be any downsides or potential dangers of having the robot around?

— Gather objects from your junk drawer or just around your classroom, library, or house (rubber bands, rulers, pieces of paper or cardboard, toothpicks, chopsticks, etc.). Write down each item and its usual, common purpose. Now think like an EngiNerd and make a list of other, less-common, less-usual uses for each item.

— Use all or some of the objects from the activity above to make something brand new. For instance: use a rubber band to attach a square of cardboard to the end of a ruler to make . . . a fly swatter! Is there something else you could make with the same handful of objects? What could you make if you added another object, or two others?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Ken is not a big fan of John Henry Knox. Why do you think that is? Do you think his dislike of him is sincere, understandable, and/or reasonable? Think about any people in your life that you dislike. Is your dislike of them sincere, understandable, and/or reasonable? How do you treat them and why?

2. Ken believes Dan to be his best friend, and occasionally has trouble “sharing” him with their other friends. Have you ever been in such a situation? How did you feel about it? How did you resolve it? Is it possible to have multiple best friends?

3. Dan asks Ken, Jerry, and John Henry Knox for help solving a problem that he caused. Have you ever found yourself in such a situation? Did you help your friend? Did your friend help you? Why or why not? To what extent, if any, are you responsible for the problems of your friends?

4. Do you think Ken is a good leader? Why or why not? What are some qualities a good leader possesses? What are some qualities a bad leader might show? Are leaders born, or can they be made? Can a group of people be led by more than one leader? What would be the benefit of such a scenario? What sort of difficulties might arise? Consider some ways you might be able to solve these difficulties.