Welcome, coaches! This guidebook is designed to support you in seamlessly integrating the Engineering Machine Design Contest (EMDC) into your setting – whether it be as part of a class, an out-of-school experience, homeschool group, or any other setting. By following this guide, you will empower young people to explore the exciting world of engineering and unleash their creativity through chain reaction machines.   

An important aspect of the EMDC it that it is a cross-curricular program at its core and can facilitate a sense of belonging in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields which is incredibly important for young people to experience for several reasons:  

  1. Inclusive Learning Environment: By promoting cross-curricular programs, students from different academic backgrounds can collaborate and learn from one another. This fosters an inclusive learning environment where students can appreciate the diverse talents, perspectives, and skills everyone brings to the table. It breaks down barriers and promotes a sense of belonging among students who may have previously felt excluded or discouraged from pursuing STEM subjects.  
  1. Holistic Skill Development: STEM fields require a combination of skills, including critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration. Cross-curricular programs integrate different subject areas, allowing students to develop a broader skill set and apply their knowledge across disciplines. This holistic approach enhances their ability to approach complex problems from multiple angles and prepares them for future challenges in STEM careers.  
  1. Real-World Relevance: Connecting STEM subjects to real-world applications through cross-curricular programs makes the learning experience more meaningful and relatable for students. By exploring how concepts from various disciplines intersect and interact in practical scenarios, students gain a deeper understanding of the relevance and impact of STEM in their everyday lives. This hands-on, applied learning approach can spark curiosity, motivation, and a lifelong interest in STEM fields.  
  1. Career Exploration and Pathways: Cross-curricular programs in STEM expose students to a wide range of STEM-related career possibilities. By engaging in multidisciplinary projects and activities, students can explore different facets of STEM and discover their passions and strengths. They can see the connections between different subject areas and how they converge in specific career pathways. This exposure helps students make informed decisions about their future education and career choices, inspiring them to pursue STEM fields with confidence.  
  1. Breaking Stereotypes and Bias: STEM fields have historically suffered from underrepresentation and stereotypes, particularly concerning gender and minority groups. Cross-curricular programs that promote a sense of belonging help challenge these biases and stereotypes by creating an inclusive environment that encourages participation from all students. By fostering diversity and inclusivity, these programs empower students to challenge societal norms and contribute to breaking down barriers in STEM.  

The EMDC can facilitate a sense of belonging in STEM fields and offer students a well-rounded educational experience. It promotes collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity while fostering a diverse and inclusive learning environment. By experiencing the interconnectivity of STEM disciplines, students are better equipped to tackle real-world challenges and explore exciting career pathways, ultimately shaping a more inclusive and innovative future.  

As a coach, you play a vital role in inspiring creativity, cultivating critical thinking, and fostering teamwork skills, all while igniting passion for engineering and STEM. Embrace this exciting opportunity and witness the incredible growth and accomplishments of your students as they embark on their chain reaction machine adventure. Good luck and enjoy the thrilling ride! 

Happy coaching!