Creating Tomorrow’s Engineers with Design Squad Latinx!

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Contributed by WGBH Educational Foundation

Government, industry, research, and education leaders all agree that a strong engineering workforce is an essential part of the future economy in the U.S. and across the globe. Despite the need for more engineers, people of Latin origin are underrepresented in the field of engineering as well as in the engineering education pipeline. As reported in 2020, only 8% of U.S. adults in STEM careers were of Latin or Hispanic origins (Student Research Foundation, 2020). Even more alarming, in 2020, less than 4% of engineering bachelor's degrees were awarded to African American/Black, Latina/Hispanic, and Native American women combined (De la Rosa, 2020). Clearly we need to create better opportunities to engage Latinx kids in engineering so that they do become a part of the STEM career pipeline. A traditional, one-size-fits-all approach to STEM education is missing the mark. That is where Design Squad Latinx comes in! 

Design Squad Latinx introduces kids ages 10–13 to the engineering design process by employing a funds of knowledge approach. This means instead of focusing on what the youth do not know about engineering, Design Squad Latinx instead encourages kids to draw on the knowledge, skills, and talents gained from their family, community, and cultural experiences. They are encouraged to apply that wealth of knowledge to the engineering design process. By thoughtfully incorporating kids’ funds of knowledge into the activities, as well as validating what they know and how they know it, engineering activities become more relevant and meaningful for all. And by championing kids’ unique perspectives and knowledge in solving community problems, they gain an empowering experience with engineering. 

The fully bilingual (English–Spanish) program introduces kids to the design process through real-world problem-solving. Design Squad Latinx consists of four self-contained, flexible modules, each spanning two or three sessions. The modules include engineering design challenges, videos, material lists, instructions for facilitators, discussion prompts, handouts, and more! In each module, kids will: 

  • Watch an engaging video that introduces the topic 
  • Meet relatable clients who need help solving a problem 
  • Work in groups to understand the client’s needs 
  • Brainstorm possible solutions 
  • Build a prototype, test, and redesign it 
  • Share their solutions and reflect on their process and designs 

By encouraging kids to apply their own valuable existing funds of knowledge to solve meaningful problems, Design Squad Latinx supports kids in seeing themselves as the designers, engineers, and creators that they already are. To explore the full suite of resources, visit

WGBH Educational Foundation

The WGBH Educational Foundation was established in 1951. It oversees all of the PBS member stations licensed to the state of Massachusetts. It also researches, creates, and distributes all of PBS’s media-integrated resources that support healthy development and educational impact for children and youth.

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