Designing Our Tomorrow: Mobilizing the Next Generation of Engineers is a 5-year, National Science Foundation-funded Innovations in Development project, being carried out between 2018-2023 by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and its partners: Adelante Mujeres, the Biomimicry Institute, and the Fleet Science Center. 

The project seeks to promote and strengthen family engagement and engineering learning via compelling exhibit-based design challenges, which will be presented through the lens of sustainable design exemplified by biomimicry. Building on previous informal education projects, Designing Our Tomorrow will develop a framework for creating exhibit-based engineering design challenges and expand an existing model of facilitation for engineering exhibits. 

Designing Our Tomorrow capitalizes on exhibits as unique family learning environments, in the interest of promoting the societal and ecological benefits of sustainable engineering, and fostering intergenerational participation and investment in engineering activities. Focusing on girls aged 9–14 and their families, the project is being co-developed with culturally responsive strategies to ensure the inclusion and influence of girls from Latino communities.

Project Deliverables

  • Research resulting in theory-based measures of engineering proficiencies within an exhibit context and an exhibit facilitation model for the topic area of engineering.
  • An engineering design challenge framework, based on theory and evidence, for developing design challenges within an exhibit context.
  • A 2,000 square foot bilingual (English/Spanish) traveling exhibition, designed to engage youth and families in engineering design challenges that advance their engineering proficiencies from beginner to more informed.
  • Complementary programming resources for museum educators and K–12 teachers offered on an exhibition website, including hands-on activity guides.
  • Professional development modules and a host-site training workshop introducing strategies for facilitating family engineering experiences within a traveling exhibition.