Skip to main content


The Engineering Place offers a number of different programs, as well as participates in community programs, that generate interest in and excitement about engineering.

Program Descriptions

UPDATE: While we have still suspended face-to-face programming due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are offering some virtual programming this academic year. Check out the information about the Fall 2021 Virtual Family STEM nights. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know of these and other online opportunities. 

Summer Programs

Middle school students participate in Girls Game Design camp.
Middle school students participate in Girls Game Design camp.

Each summer the College of Engineering plans and executes multiple summer programs for rising 3rd to 12th grade students. From day camps to week-long stays, these programs introduce students to engineering through hands-on activities and problem-solving. Students spend the week with other like-minded students and gain exposure to NC State and university life.

The Solar House

The NC State Solar House
The NC State Solar House

Tours are available for third through twelfth-grade students and the public. If you would like to request a tour and/or a hands-on engineering activity, please use our REQUEST FORM.

All tours include an informational component about the passive solar technology used in the Solar House AND an age- and grade-appropriate, hands-on, engineering activity.  We are happy to work with you to help meet the needs of your students and the educational outcomes you hope to achieve as a part of your experience. Tours generally last approximately 30 minutes, depending on questions, and the engineering activity takes another 60 minutes.  Please note: A staff member from the Solar House will be in touch to discuss your request.

Information on Tour Group Size:
The Solar House has limited space and can accommodate a maximum of 40 students in a single tour. If you have more than 40 students in your group, we will schedule multiple tour times to accommodate the entire group.

Solar House Location:
The NC State Solar House’s address is 1201 Gorman St, Raleigh, NC 27606 and is located at the corner of Gorman St. and Western Blvd.  Parking is available in the McKimmon Center main parking lot and is free for student groups and participants. For student groups arriving in school activity buses, please drop off students in front of the Solar House and park your bus in the overflow parking lot located on Varsity Drive.

Solar House History:
The NCSU Solar House, built in 1981 by NC State’s Professor Herbert Eckerlin of the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department, was created to promote and demonstrate renewable energy technologies to the community.  The house features 5 kW solar PV panels, solar water heating, a ground loop geothermal heat pump, efficient construction, and insulation, LED lighting, and is designed with several passive solar features that further reduce energy costs.  The site was used to conduct numerous renewable energy research projects, educating undergraduate students, and enabling graduate students to write research papers, theses, and dissertations.

Today, the primary purpose of the Solar House is STEM education and outreach as well as renewable energy research. Anyone looking for information on solar home construction or personal home improvements should contact the NC Clean Energy Technology Center.

Tours of the Solar House are managed through The Engineering Place at NC State University.

Check out this video on the construction of the Solar House in 1981!

We look forward to seeing you!

Virtual Family STEM Nights

The Engineering Place is offering virtual Family STEM Nights again this spring! If you have children in grades K-5, we hope you will join us for an evening of fun engineering challenges. We are also partnering with schools this spring in hosting these events!

Families are invited to join the Engineering Ambassadors and The Engineering Place as we work together in solving two exciting Engineering Design Challenges! Learn more about NCSU engineering and engineering thinking by using The Engineering Design Process and participating in fun challenges!

2021 Fall Schedule

All events run from 6:30 – 8:00 PM

DateProgram TypeTitleRegistration Link
October 7, 2021Virtual (Free: Families provide own supplies)Outdoor AdventuresSign up Now!
October 21, 2021In-Person at School
Engineering is Everywhere!
Coming Soon!
November 4, 2021VirtualTBDComing Soon!
November 18, 2021In-Person at SchoolEngineering is Everywhere!Coming Soon!

October Virtual K-5 STEM Night: Outdoor Adventures!

Come join us explore how engineers design and construct outdoor adventure rides! How do we best design a zip line that is safe and fun! What about eco-friendly cars that can move through the outdoor park and not tip over? Come join us for a fun night of problem-solving and learn how to think like an engineer!  Register now!

When: October 7, 2021, from 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Where: On Zoom – Link sent prior to the event

Why: Introduce families to fun engineering activities!

Cost: Free! Families bring their own supplies

Family STEM Night Required Materials

Please note that you can find substitutions for the listed materials. Don’t have straws? tightly roll a piece of paper and tape it!

Questions? Contact coe-theengineeringplace at

Engineering on the Road

The Engineering on the Road program brings engineering to life in K-12 schools all over the state of North Carolina. Through interactive demonstrations and hands-on activities linked to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, we illustrate the true nature of engineering — not just the stereotypical view that many people have — to students, teachers and staff. Programs are customized to meet the needs of the school or organization and for small- and large-group events. We even have an engineering road show!

We also participate in other community organizers’ programs, such as math and science nights, career fairs and workshops.

To request an Engineering on the Road visit, you will need to complete the Engineering on the Road Request Form.

Please note: We are not generally able to provide science fair judges.

Future City Program

Future City is an NC State University sponsored STEM program for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders attending North Carolina Middle Schools.  An annual competition in January provides participating student teams with an opportunity to present their semester-long Future City project to industry engineers.

There are five deliverables that student teams must complete to participate in the competition including a 3D model, a skit-like presentation, a 1500 word essay, snapshots of their city built in SimCity gaming program and a project plan.

The 2020 Future City competition will be held at the McKimmon Center located at 1101 Gorman Street, Raleigh, NC 27606 on Saturday, January 25th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Complete this form to attend and come join us to learn more about the program.

Click here for the official NC Future City website:

Future City Competition

Future City NC is a vibrant, authentic, and engineering-aligned real-world experience for middle school students across the state. The Future City program, a national organization and program from DiscoverE, teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students problem-solving techniques through hands-on, project- and problem-based learning. Middle school students learn a problem-solving process called the Engineering Design Process (EDP) as they imagine, plan, and create cities of the future. Working as a team, students, along with an educator and an engineering mentor, plan a city using SimCity™ software. Next, they create a project plan, including goals, schedules, and reflections. They describe their research and implement solutions to engineering problems via their city essays. In addition, they plan and create tabletop scale models of their cities using recycled materials, and finally, present their ideas before industry engineering judges at the NC Regional Future City Competition held at the NC State McKimmon Center in late January each year. The Engineering Place and the College of Engineering are proud to be sponsors of the regional competitions and to support both the state and national Future City Middle School Programs

Engineering Bits & Bytes Days

Engineering Bits & Bytes Days are STEM curriculum enrichment experiences held on the NC State Centennial campus for students in elementary, middle and high school — grades 3 – 12. These are half-day events held once a semester and include age- and grade-appropriate hands-on engineering activities and often a tour of Hunt Library. For high school and older middle school groups, NC State undergraduate engineering students are available for a Q & A session about admission requirements, scholarships, college life, and suggestions on how best to prepare now for the college experience you want. Engineering Bits & Bytes Day events are differentiated by grade bands (grades 3-5, grades 6-8, grades 9-12). Please click here for a sample agenda.

Engineering Bits & Bytes Day programs had a successful spring semester.  Please bookmark our page and check back with us for The Engineering Place Programming fall schedule!

Project Lead the Way

PLTW is a program providing activity-, project- and problem-based (APB) instructional design and centers on hands-on, real-world activities, projects and problems that help students understand how the knowledge and skills they develop in the classroom may be applied in everyday life. The APB approach scaffolds student learning through structured activities and projects that empower students to become independent in the classroom and helps them build skillsets to apply to an open-ended design problem. This approach provides students with unique opportunities to work collaboratively, identify problems, apply what they know, persevere through challenges, find unique solutions and lead their own learning.

Through Project Lead The Way (PLTW) programs, students develop in-demand, transportable skills – such as problem-solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration and communication – that they will use both in school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take.

Students of PLTW participating schools are eligible to apply for one-time scholarships that are available to engineering first-year students enrolled in the College of Engineering. Please encourage your students to apply.

PLTW Scholarship Application

At this time, NC State University will not be hosting summer training for teachers.


The Engineering Place can develop a specific program to meet the needs of many organizations, including K-12 school districts, individual schools, engineering professional organizations, and university departments. Below is a sampling of some of the workshops that we have offered. Contact us at for workshop information.

  • Engineering is Elementary Professional Development
  • Engineering as Part of Integrated STEM Professional Development
  • Encouraging Girls to Pursue STEM* Careers
  • Developing Non-traditional K-12 Engineering Activities
  • Integrating Engineering into the K-12 Curriculum
  • Training in Outreach for Working Engineers
  • Designing a STEM School
  • Using the Grand Challenges for Engineering as a Basis for Instruction
  • Project Lead the Way
    *Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

Consulting Services

  • Faculty Grant Writing Assistance
  • Unique Program Development to Support Grants
  • K-12 Engineering Curriculum Development
  • Developing Non-traditional K-12 Engineering Activities
  • Engineer Outreach Training

Solar House Day

NC State Solar House Day is a monthly event for K-16 students and the public to visit us at the NC State Solar House.  Guests will see passive solar energy technology at work in the house and K-16 students can experience a hands-on, age- and grade-appropriate engineering activity.  Beginning in the spring semester 2020, Solar House Day is scheduled for the first Friday of each month from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

The NC State Solar House is located beside the McKimmon Center and our address is 1201 Gorman Street, Raleigh, NC 27606.  Free parking for cars is available in the McKimmon Center parking lot.  Bus parking is free as well and available in the gravel lot on Varsity Drive just behind the McKimmon Center.  Email:, Phone: 919-515-0314.

Complete the SHD registration form and select your Friday!