Inspiration can come from anywhere. When it comes to teaching kids to think like engineers, why not go straight to the source? The videos in this list cover a range of engineering accomplishments — everything from balloons to Tesla’s Model S electric car.
As educators looking to inspire STEM skills, we might be surprised at how readily our students absorb information in this format. If a few seconds of a video clip can instill an interest in engineering, it’s well worth it.
Elementary School Students
Don’t tell the students this, but LEGOs aren’t just for children — they are a blast for everyone. Understanding how these little plastic toys are made is a fantastic way to introduce a passion for engineering.
This video from The LEGO Group combines appealing visuals, great sound effects, and a clear voiceover to showcase how LEGOs are made.
Balloons are a hot commodity for elementary students. Not only are they a birthday currency, but nothing attracts more attention than a renegade balloon, floating away into the sky.
This video from Insider walks you through the balloon-making process. It avoids complicated voice-over work and instead lets the high-quality imagery do the talking. Couple that with a quirky soundtrack and you’re sure to keep your student’s attention.
Ice cream parties are the stuff of legend for elementary students. What better way to win the hearts, minds, and stomachs of your students?
This video from How It’s Made shows the entire ice cream-making process in all its glory.
Food and bugs are sure to appeal to most of your younger students, so a video on how honey is made can’t go wrong.
This video from Discovery UK mixes honey, bees, and plenty of industrial machinery.
Middle School Students
Glass and Glass Marbles
Watching someone manhandle molten glass on a stick is something out of this world.
This video from Discovery Channel’s Some Assembly Required shows how glass windows are made from sand to installation.
Sometimes the simplest things are the most interesting. Matches are not complicated devices, but making them is quite the effort!
This video from Insider on how matches are made will appeal to anyone with a mechanical mind — there’s plenty of industrial-sized shifters, shakers, conveyors, and chains.
This video from How It’s Made breaks down the process of making Pringles. These oval-shaped, stackable chips present an interesting challenge for manufacturers.
High School Students
It’s unlikely that any of our students could imagine life before computers. Whether it’s phones, laptops, desktops, or tablets, computers are everywhere.
This video from How It’s Made is a modern look at how laptops made for playing video games are crafted.
Covering the 1969 Moon Landing? An aside into how space pens came to be is a fascinating bit of history.
This video from How It’s Made explores the science behind space pens and finishes with a neat little demonstration of these pens writing underwater!
Steel (Steel Chains)
Who had any idea that making chains could be so complicated?
This video from How It’s Made walks us through the process from start to finish. If there’s a single video on this list aimed at those with a passion for mechanical engineering, it’s this one.
While smartwatches appear to be all the rage, many students may find the intricacies of watchmaking appealing.
This video from Bloomberg shows the immense complexities involved in luxury watchmaking. A great mix of beautiful imagery and excellent voicework makes for an excellent video.
Tesla’s Model S Electric Car
How do you go from a massive hunk of rolled steel to a cutting-edge electric car? A custom-built factory, filled to the brim with robots and advanced machinery. It’s an engineer’s utopia!
This video from Wired is a quick five-minute breakdown of how the Tesla Model S is made. It’s number one on this list and for good reason — watching robots build machines is just incredible.
A Passion for Engineering
Videos can be an excellent way to inspire students to pursue an interest in engineering. Real world STEM lessons can be fun, interesting, and educational. For some, engineering will just be a passing interest. For others, however, those few minutes spent learning how to make watches or a Tesla car could very well inspire a lifetime of discovery.