Experiences, interests, and the cultural milieu of childhood help set the stage for one's adult occupation and interests. But in this online age of electronic gadgets and diversions, some observers wonder if today's children will naturally be led to mechanical engineering and design. To encourage children to grow up wanting to be scientists or engineers it's necessary to have a culture that visibly values such professions and emphasizes their excitement, said N.J. Slabbert, researcher on the evolution of the technological professions. To help students become future engineers, Chris Rogers of Tufts has long been interested in the best way to teach engineering to elementary, secondary, and college students. Engineering needs to be part of the curriculum from a young age, he said. And it should be introduced to kids in ways that interest them and taught in a manner consistent with how children learn, he added. The more hands-on instruction, the more you'll find kids are excited to learn.