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.

Our Civil Engineering Camp Projects

TESI Curriculum Module: Civil Engineering Camp Projects

In the IEEE TryEngineering Summer Institute we are out to answer the questions: How and why do we build our cities and our societies the way we do?  What can we do to improve the lives  of everyone through what we design and build around us? Those questions are why we encourage students to explore what is civil engineering and what the field could look like for them as a future major or a career?  We have several modules of our curriculum focused on the civil engineering camp portion of the program. 

Our goal is to create the next generation of problem-solvers and difference-makers, and position these innovators for long-term success in both their academics and in life. Our ten-day program is designed to empower students while giving them real-world skills and a great academic program to put on their college applications.

This program is designed around ‘learning by doing’. We build. We create.  The civil engineering module in our program encourages budding problem-solvers to make a difference and to learn what it takes to position themselves for long term success within a STEM field. 

Our students will work in teams with their classmates on building projects that they will use to compete on who can build a bridge to handle the heaviest load… and why that load can be handled!  We get to the basics of the mechanics and math behind the structures of everyday life.  

Below are some of the civil engineering projects students will build during our engineering summer camp. Civil engineering is one part of our larger focus toward STEM education. Our students will be able to explore the fundamentals of mechanical, electrical, and aerospace engineering!  Students will have the opportunity to discover what is the best fit for them!

Civil Engineering Camp Projects:

Hydraulic Robot Arm Challenge

Learn the basics of robotics and hydro-mechanical power.  In this mechanical engineering challenge, students will assemble a wired controlled robot arm and test the arm by conducting various tasks, introducing them to hydraulics and hydraulic machinery. They will then 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 mechanisms as well as using a gripper to transport a range of products. As a group, they will simulate a conveyor belt with multiple robot arms used to transport various materials down a mock production line. Teams will also compete to see who which can stack the highest number of dice using only the robot arm.

Bridge Engineering

Students will focus on civil engineering as they learn various concepts for bridge design and how they handle large loads.  They will construct bridges of ever increasing complexity of materials and durable strength to discover what makes them work the best?  This is one of the larger aspects of our civil engineering camp module, and year after year students tell us this is the most fun part of the curriculum - especially for the winning team, who is rewarded with a pizza party! If you are looking to find civil engineering for kids projects we couldn't recommend this more. 

Design Think Challenge

Design thinking is a creative process developed  at Stanford University that helps people design meaningful solutions to problems. Students will experience the full cycle in an introductory hands-on challenge.  Then they will work 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 camp, teams can choose to enter our own home-grown “shark tank” and develop a pitch for their solution.

Program Dates and Locations:  

University of San Diego (San Diego, California):   June 30 - July 8, 2024 AND July 11 - July 19, 2024
Rice University (Houston, Texas): June 30 - July 8, 2024 AND July 11 - July 19, 2024
University Of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA): July 14 - 22, 2024 AND July 25 - August 2, 2024

This co-ed day and residential engineering summer camp is open to any student ages 13-17.

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


Sleepaway/Residential:  $3895 ($3795 for IEEE members)
Commuter/Day:  $3295 ($3195 for IEEE members)

Scholarship Opportunities:

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available.  Click HERE for more information.

Other Engineering Focuses within our Program:
Aerospace Engineering Summer Camp
Mechanical Engineering Summer Camp
Civil Engineering Summer Camp
Electrical Engineering Summer Camp

If you want to learn more about all the different fields of engineering, be sure to check out all of our engineering articles below which will help you get a feel of each different subset we have to offer:

At the TryEngineering Summer Institute summer engineering programs for high school students, you’ll explore various engineering fields, such as electrical, civil, mechanical, and aerospace. Our STEM summer course allows you to meet working engineers and experience VIP tours of engineering companies and centers. Learn new skills and engage in hands-on projects that explore how engineers can solve real-world problems.

The TryEngineering Summer Institute is a program from IEEE, the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology. Our more than 417,000 members in 160 countries, including more than 120,000 student members, help us provide the trusted "voice" for engineering, computing and technology information around the globe via highly-cited publications, conferences, technology standards and professional and educational activities. Our curriculum is created specifically for this program by IEEE STEM summer specialists.

Last summer we visited:

  • NASA's Johnson Space Center (Rice University students)

"If you are ever thinking about doing engineering or trying to see what it's like, I would 100% recommend this camp." - 2023 student


Our Engineering Program

TryEngineering Summer Institute gives teens the opportunity to explore a variety of engineering disciplines in a fun, hands-on way. The program is ideal for students who are considering a degree or career in engineering, as well as for those that are curious to learn more. Whether your teen is brand new to engineering, or has taken a few classes in school, every student will have fun tackling a variety of engineering design challenges while developing skills in engineering, communication, and consensus-building. The 2024 engineering camp is designed by IEEE STEM summer specialists specifically for our TryEngineering Summer Institute. If you are interested in civil engineering for kids then the TryEngineering Summer Institute is something you have to check out. Not only is the TryEngineering Summer Institute geared towards civil engineering for kids, but your child will also learn aspects of other fields of engineering while enhancing many skills that translate to the real world.

Students participate in team-based, hands-on design challenges, hear from and interact with working engineers, and experience exciting off-campus field trips to local engineering sites.

The program is perfect for those who want to:

  • Find out how engineering is applied in the real world, and how it’s shaping our future.
  • Participate in multi-disciplinary projects in electrical, civil, mechanical, aerospace and other engineering disciplines.
  • Learn to think like engineers while building critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills.
  • Experience how engineers work in teams to solve local and global challenges.
  • Gain insight into what it’s like to study engineering at the university level.
  • Engage with professionals working in your field of interest.
  • See real-world engineering projects while learning about future academic and career possibilities through exciting trips and tours.
  • Build awesome projects that teach engineering concepts by making things like rockets, remote control cars, drones, trebuchets, building and soldering circuits, and much more.

…All while having fun with new friends on one of our engineering campuses.

Curriculum Overview

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

Program Highlights

Two students working on a hands-on design challenge

Hands-On Design Challenges

Panel session

Exclusive Guest Speakers

Group under SCA nose

Exciting VIP Tours
and Field Trips

Access University Engineering Labs and Tech Spaces


Tuition for the TryEngineering Summer Institute is all-inclusive, covering all activities, tours, lodging, meals, and transportation while on campus. Both residential and day programs are available.

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A limited number of scholarships are available for those that demonstrate financial need. Click the link below to learn how to apply.

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