Engineering: Propelling Our World

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

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STEM + Families

Promote STEM with Our Engineering Program

National PTA is committed to providing families hands -on exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math to educate families and inspire students to explore career possibilities in STEM through the Propelling Our World Program, sponsored by Huntington Ingalls Industries.  

The STEM + Families Propelling Our World program aims to:

  • Empower PTAs with resources to host hands-on engineering design challenges that bring students and families together
  • Provide families with ready-to-go activity, facilitator, and family guides
  • Help all kids experience and explore activities and careers in STEM, especially those in skilled-trades

PTA’s vision is for all students to have the family and community support they need to access and pursue opportunities and careers in the STEM fields.

Learn more about HII, sponsor of STEM + Families Propelling Our World program.

Sponsored by HII

Engineering in Action

Check out the following photos from STEM Propelling Our World.

STEM Propelling Our World

STEM Propelling Our World

STEM Propelling Our World

Host a Propelling Our World Program


We encourage local PTAs to host a STEM + Families Propelling Our World program to help demystify engineering for students and their families by offering easy and fun design challenges for them to do together, and to inspire kids and families to pursue careers in STEM!

National PTA offers In-Person and At-Home program models to meet students and families where they are. Work with your school community and your administration to determine which program model is best for your PTA.

Programs Where You Are

Local PTAs are encouraged to select PTA Programs and program delivery models based on the unique needs of their school community.

Each program is flexible and offers free technical assistance leader-to-leader learning opportunities and “drag and drop” materials necessary for success.


National PTA Programs In Person

Be sure to refer to current CDC guidance to host an In-Person model.


National PTA Programs At Home

At-Home models are further divided into three delivery methods:

Real Time Icon

Self-Paced Icon

Tech-Free Icon

The Propelling Our World Program offers guidance on how to host science activities that engage families and students and provides families with ready-to-go science resources. The program is comprised of four design challenges that explore the Engineering Design Process (EDP), along with supplemental STEM Career activities that come with easy-to-use activity and family guides.



  • Cookie Bridge Challenge: Build a cookie bridge that can support a cup of milk
  • Sam’s Raft Adventure + Rescue: Design and build a device to rescue Gummy Worm Sam’s life vest from inside his capsized raft
  • Sam’s Submarine Knowledge: Design and build a submarine to safely transport Sam on his ocean adventure and keep him dry 
  • Sam’s Parachute Misadventure: Design and build a device to transport Sam safely down a mountain to his campsite on ground 

STEM Career Activity Stations

  • STEM Career Crafts: Students visualize themselves in STEM. Activities are designed to foster student engagement and an understanding of STEM skills students already possess.
  • STEM Career Games: Students and families participate in fun, interactive activities designed to help them learn about different STEM-related careers and to practice important STEM skills that will help them be successful in future careers.
  • STEM Career Partners: Students are inspired to explore careers in STEM through STEM community partner-led activities.

In-Person STEM + Families Propelling Our World Toolkit


This toolkit includes helpful how-to documents and sample templates you can use to make planning an in-person STEM + Families Propelling Our World program easy.

STEP 1: Plan Your Event 

Form a planning committee by inviting parents and teachers of STEM subjects to join. Recruit at least 10-15 volunteers to help during the program. Organize your tasks, create a budget and schedule deadlines. Reach out to local partners to gain donations and community volunteers.

General Planning

Engineering Design Challenges

STEM Career Activity Stations

Getting Volunteers

Hosting events like this is also a great way to recruit new PTA members! Consider having recruitment flyers like this one at your event.

STEP 2: Promote Your Event

Use as many platforms as possible for promoting your event. Translate documents into languages your school community speaks.

STEP 3: Host Your Event
STEP 4: Wrap Up

Be sure to thank your PTA, school staff, community partners and parent volunteers. Gather feedback, report your results to National PTA and use the findings to plan your next event. National PTA recommends offering an incentive for completing the survey (e.g. enter names into a drawing for a $50 gift card donated by a local merchant).


At-Home STEM + Families Propelling Our World Toolkit


As part of the PTA Programs at Home initiative, your PTA has the option to determine which model you want to use to best engage your school community: Real-Time, Self-Paced or Tech-Free.

Real-Time Program Model


Self-Paced Program Model


Tech-Free Program Model



How We PTA: See PTAs in Action

PTA is no longer a noun. It’s a verb—an action plan working to support your child’s success.

Browse these quotes from PTAs that have implemented this program and find their inspirational full stories on our How We PTA page.


How We PTA

STEM_Highlands Elementary School PTAai_IG Pic STEM_Highlands Elementary School PTAai_IG Quote STEM_Lynnhaven Elementary PTA_IG Pic STEM_Lynnhaven Elementary PTA_IG Quote STEM_McWillie_IG Pic STEM_McWillie_IG Quote STEM_Pine Shadows Elementary_IG Pic STEM_Pine Shadows Elementary_IG Quote STEM_Rio Vista Elementary School Parent_IG Pic STEM_Rio Vista Elementary School Parent_IG Quote


Who is HII?

HII is a global, all-domain defense provider. HII's mission is to deliver the world's most powerful ships and all-domain solutions in service of the nation, creating the advantage for our customers to protect peace and freedom around the world. As the nation's largest military shipbuilder, and with a more than 135-year history of advancing U.S. national security, HII delivers critical capabilities extending from ships to unmanned systems, cyber, ISR, AI/ML and synthetic training. With all three divisions - Ingalls Shipbuilding, Mission Technologies, and Newport News Shipbuilding - HII's workforce is 44,000 strong.

For more information, visit our FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.



Email or call (800) 307-4782.

National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service. No endorsement of Huntington Ingalls Industries is implied.


Founding & Presenting Sponsor

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