Engineering Communication with Tinker Toys

By Amber Genau

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Published on


This resource describes three variations on an engineering communication activity using Tinker Toys.  In the main activity, small groups of students are given a bag of Tinker Toys and instructed to build anything they like.  They are then asked to write down building instructions for their creation.  After disassembling the structures, the instructions and building pieces are redistributed and new teams attempt to recreate the structures.  Questions are included to help the students reflect on the role and importance of technical communication in engineering.

These activities were originally created for first year undergraduate engineering courses and a high school outreach summer program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Dr. Amber Genau is a faculty member in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She has been organizing the UAB Materials Camp for high school students since 2011.

Sponsored by

Support for Materials Camp at UAB comes from NSF CAREER #1554856 and the ASM Materials Education Foundation.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Amber Genau (2020), "Engineering Communication with Tinker Toys,"

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