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Rosie Revere, Engineer

Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere, Engineer

CT Discussion Companion




This is a fictional story about Rosie, who loves to invent but gives up when adults laugh at her inventions. She builds her zookeeper uncle a contraption to repel pythons and Great-great-aunt Rose (implied to be Rosie Riveter) a helicopter. Rose laughs, too, but points out the success prior to failure. You build on the success rather than get disappointed by lack of complete success.


This is a very important concept in software engineering (and engineering in general). Nothing is right on the first try, and it's important to celebrate small successes along the way, look critically at what went right in addition to what went wrong, and then make a better version to try again. This covers two aspects of debugging, an important software engineering process. Also, for kids this age, it helps them persevere rather than give up.




Questions to discuss with students after reading this story in order to connect the reading to computational thinking taken from a facilitation guide put together by National Foundation for Women Legislators.


  1. In the beginning of the book, why do you think Rosie hid all the machines and inventions she created? Why was Rosie shy about talking about her inventions? [She is afraid that people will laugh at her inventions. She thinks that her inventions are not very good.]

  2. Why was Rosie so discouraged when she built the airplane for Aunt Rose? What did Aunt Rose say to make Rosie feel better? [It didn't work the way she had planned. That there were many things that worked before the invention failed and that she should look at these things as successes.]

  3. Have you ever felt discouraged when something you wanted to make didn’t turn out the way you wanted? What did you do next?

  4. What was your favorite invention of Rosie’s?



What To Do With a Box

Students bring an empty box from home. It can be any size or shape. They examine the size, shape and any special characteristics and think of an invention they can create with their empty box. They draw a design of their invention and list the materials needed (they are allowed to use basic materials: colored paper, coloring tools, glue, string, pipe cleaners). They develop a plan for building their invention and, as they are building, modify their plan when something does not work. When completed, they present their original plan first and their final invention. They identify what they like about what they did, what could be improved, and try to improve what they did. 



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