TryEngineering Summer Institute

An exciting ten day, on-campus engineering camp for high school students held at three premier universities across the United States in 2019.

Curriculum Overview:

Our Engineering Summer Program

TryEngineering Summer Institute Curriculum Overview

The TryEngineering 2023 engineering camp curriculum has been carefully designed to build the student experience over the entire session, with earlier engineering camp activities honing skills needed in later tasks. Collectively, these activities touch on several fields of engineering, including electrical, mechanical, civil, aerospace, chemical, computer, and design think.

Coursework is project-based and hands-on.  We design, engineer and build all day. We try new things, we learn new skills and the program builds upon itself.  We go on an academic journey, building confidence, knowledge, experience and ability through the 5 C’s: Communication, collaboration, critical thinking, curiosity and creativity.  The curriculum of our engineering summer camps 2023 is the same at each program, only the campus changes!

Below are examples of what has been covered in the engineering camp coursework in previous years.  You can clearly see the academic underpinnings, the design principles, the expected outcomes, and the opportunity that exists for the students to discover what is possible inside of each challenge, module, and project. Each year the IEEE team of engineering specialists reviews the curriculum for our engineering summer camps 2023 and updates projects to take into account student and instructor feedback, and to keep things fresh and exciting.

The result is a curriculum that engages and inspires students, opening up a world of career possibilities in engineering!

Learn more about the TryEngineering summer campuses: University of Pennsylvania, University of San Diego, or Rice University

Having fun at our engineering summer camps 2023!

Design/build: Design Think Team Challenge (over the entire session)

Design Thinking Challenge

Design thinking is a creative process developed at the d.school at Stanford University that helps you design meaningful solutions to problems.  Student will experience the full cycle in an intro hands-on challenge and then they will step through the process of identifying a problem, developing a “how might we…” statement, defining the problem, designing a solution, and creating  a prototype. At our engineering summer camps 2023 program teams can choose to enter our own home-grown “shark tank” and develop a pitch for their solution.


Our curriculum is designed to scaffold, that is, to build upon itself as it goes along.  Students of any level can attend because we build them up as they go.  We are out to have the students understand what engineers actually do, how to become an engineer, and what it all really means!

Digital Fabrication Challenge

Light Sculpture Challenge

Engineering camp students will be introduced to CAD as well as how 3D printers work. Application: Design, 3D print, assemble and test a light sculpture. The engineering summer camps 2023 program teams will create a  light show applying what they learn from basic circuitry, breadboarding and microcontrollers and simulate in Tinkercad Circuits. Next they will use CAD to design the sculpture (or body) for the electronics that will enhance the light show.

  • Skill Build: Intro to CAD in Tinkercad and Fusion 360 Overview. Student will choose which package they want to use for the light sculpture challenge. Students will get an intro to Tinkercad Circuits as well so they can simulate their light show.

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Explore the world of electrical engineering.

Basic Circuitry and Breadboarding.   Students explore simple circuits through  breadboard wiring of LEDs and resistors. Soldering and advanced soldering included.

  • Skill Build: Intro to Micro-controllers Engineering camp students will  expand on prior activities which established an understanding of electrical circuitry and breadboarding to explore microcontrollers and their applications. Students will control a display and then have a choice of either developing a weather station or programming a recognizable song using passive buzzers. Students build a strong understanding of flexible coding, component integration, and problem-solving.

AM Radio Challenge with Soldering

Build a fully operational AM radio from a kit. To complete this challenge students need to learn how to solder.

  • Skill Build: Soldering a functional circuit: Students set up and practice soldering, and then move on to soldering a functional circuit.


A Note About Soldering:  Our students will all learn to solder safely and effectively.  The student surveys say this is a highlight, it's an important life skill that comes in handy forever.  We work very hard on this aspect of skill building!

Mechanical Engineering

Hydraulic Robot Arm Challenge

Students will learn the basics of robotics and hydro-mechanical power.  They will assemble a wired controlled robot arm. Students will test the arm by conducting various tasks. This engineering summer camps 2023 activity introduces hydraulics and hydraulic machinery. Students assemble and prepare a hydraulic robot arm that controls six axes of varied movements. Students are challenged to use lever controllers to lift various items with suction mechanism as well as using gripper to transport a range of products. As a group, students simulate a construct a conveyor belt with multiple robot arms to transport multiple materials down a mock production line. Teams also compete to see which can stack the highest number of dice using only the arm.

Aerospace Engineering

Glider & Wing Design

Students will work in teams to explore aircraft and wing materials, shapes, and structures to maximize the glide slope of a glider.  They will create an optimal wing design that will propel their glider the furthest distance. In this activity we will consider the principals of flight, including lift and drag, and students will design, build and test (from scratch) a glider that will carry the payload of an actual shoebox (which is fairly weighty indeed) the farthest.

Rocket Launch

In this activity we’ll focus on aerospace engineering and how space flight has been achieved from an engineering vantage point. Students will work with instructors to understand the forces acting on a rocket, Newton's Laws, and other principles and challenges of an actual space vehicle launch. Students at our engineering summer camps 2023 work individually to construct and test launch a rocket using a basic kit which they customize. Then based on their results, they will re-engineer their rocket and retest for improved accuracy and altitude. Students will build an altitude tracker and use for the competition.

Civil Engineering

Bridge Engineering

Students will focus on civil engineering and learn various concepts for bridge design and how they handle large loads.  Students will construct bridges of ever increasing complexity of materials and durable strength. These structures will hold more and more weight... what makes them work the best?

Mars Space Colony: IEEE Standardization Game

A Game of Standardization is designed to teach about technical standards and standards development while developing team and negotiation skills. Topics include the importance of standards to industry, fundamentals of standards development, and a case study on standards. Players participate as members of standards working groups, incorporating roles that reflect the economic, political and technical realities of standards development.  In this activity we will explore the importance of engineering standards and work to explore challenges engineers might face in the development of a space colony on Mars. This is a role playing exercise which surfaces the challenges of agreeing to standards.

Engineering Survey for the Future & University Applications, Essays, and Resumes

Students will take a survey for the future to better understand what engineering disciplines exists, what they mean, what the majors, engineering careers, and engineering programs for the future. Students will identify opportunities and engineering programs that would most align with their interests.  If Engineering is a possible future major and or career, this module is vital. Students also prepare for applying to a university by exploring tips and guidelines for picking the right school, what classes to take in high school, the application process, the development of extra-curricular activities, clubs and the beginning of essays and resumes. We will explore recommendations for development practice essays, and resume guidelines for pre-university students. Students will have an opportunity to develop a preliminary resume that they can expand on over the years. TryEngineering Summer Institute is the best engineering camp for high school students if they are interested in pursuing engineering in the future. Not only will students have the ability to learn hands on through our engineering programs but they will get real life advice and guidance from the IEEE engineering specialist.

Engineering Ethics Debate

Students explore how ethics is involved in many of the engineering fields. They will consider some of the critical decisions engineers need to make when designing new products and processes.

Questions about our engineering camp programs?
Call us at +1 315-816-4023 or email info@tryengineeringinstitute.org