New schools programme promotes Engineering to 9-13 year olds

29 February 2016
By Tom O’Sullivan
tom@TheCork.ie

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It has been said that engineering stimulates the mind – that children need to get their hands dirty; make things, dismantle things and fix things. This is why STEAM Education Ltd (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Applied Maths), has developed a new engineering programme for primary school students. To coincide with Engineers Week, STEAM Education, in collaboration with the MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy, today (Monday) launched ‘Engineering in a Box’ – a new 10 week programme designed to teach 9-13 year olds about engineering using innovative, hand’s-on, engaging activities.

“We are delighted to officially launch our ‘Engineering in a Box’ programme during Engineers Week – the annual campaign to inspire the next generation of engineers. ‘Engineering in a Box’ provides lesson plans, all relevant materials and supporting resources, online support as well as well expert mentoring for primary schools,” said Dr. Alice D’Arcy, Course Director, STEAM Education.

“The 10-week programme will give students a general overview of engineering, followed by dedicated weeks of exploring how engineers, as humanity’s problem-solvers, use their knowledge to convert predicaments into progress in the areas of shelter, transport, biomedical, communications and energy to name just a few. The programme will be co-taught by engineering PhDs and industry personnel from relevant sectors with the primary school teachers, in a team-orientated creative way that will engage with young students. Co-teaching maximises the benefits for the kids, the teachers and the PhD/industry personnel.” she added.

The programme was designed in collaboration with researchers and engineers from the MaREI Centre for marine and renewable energy in Ringaskiddy, Cork which combines the expertise of a wide range of research groups and industry partners, with the shared mission of solving the main technical and socio-economic challenges across the marine and energy spaces.

“Engineering is problem-solving. We want to give kids a chance to look at problem-solving in many different ways and create solutions to issues humanity has encountered throughout history and ones that engineers continually solve throughout the world today in ever-changing circumstances. We also want them to have fun and develop some skills that will help themselves and everyone in the future,” Donal Murray, ‘Engineering in a Box’ Principal Programme Designer and Research Engineer, MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy.

The programme will explore aspects of Civil, Chemical/Process, Mechanical/Aeronautical, Energy/Electrical, Biomedical, Applied/Computer, Environmental, Electronic engineering and more. The pilot programme is generously being sponsored by Cork based companies including DePuy Synthes, Styker and Boston Scientific. Following the pilot programme STEAM hope to expand to a greater geographical area, involve more companies, and ultimately reach as many primary school kids as possible.

STEAM Education Ltd is a start-up business operating out of the Gateway Innovation Centre in the Western Gateway Building in UCC, and working in collaboration with UCC and other universities. Further information on STEAM Programmes and contact information can be found online at www.steam-ed.ie.

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