How Can You Bring Engineering To Life In Your Classroom?

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How can we encourage young people to think like scientists and engineers?

The Smallpiece Trust aims to inspire young people to think and behave like scientists and engineers. With their new, powered-glider think-kit, find out below how you can get more young people involved in real design-and-make projects.

Some of the most exciting projects I am involved with in school, included competitions, school assemblies and extracurricular activities that supported the curriculum and pupils’ interests. Occasionally, these events led to national recognition and below is something I would advocate your school is involved in.

What’s involved?

The Smallpiece Trust offers schools a ‘think kit’ – a design-and-make project to help support your school’s science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) clubs. As part of the process, students sharpen their skills in thinking and communicating ideas, responding creatively to briefs. They will also learn how to plan their time and organise activities as a team learning to critically evaluate their work using scientific theories and models.

The project lasts for up to nine weeks and there are enough materials to build five powered gliders for a STEM club of 20 students. Students who finish their powered glider can complete their CREST passports, an award scheme enabling pupils to be eligible for a ‘Discovery Award’ and receive a personalised certificate.

Subjects covered include shapes and sizes, measurements, design calculations, aerodynamics, weight distribution and trimming for flight. The project consists of four main parts

  1. Designing the glider
  2. Building the glider
  3. Trimming, testing and flying the glider
  4. The competition.

What’s included?

This Smallpeice Trust think-kit comes with the tools and resources to start or help sustain a STEM club for up to 20 students in your school. Each kit complements the national curriculum in science, technology, engineering and maths and gives young people a chance to meet people passionate about engineering too. The experience is a great way to bring textbook topics to life and to see them at work in the wider world.

You can download a poster for your school to help advertise and print off this leaflet to share with your pupils.

The Smallpeice Trust Think Kit

With the new powered glider think kit, teams of students are each challenged to design and build an electrically powered glider that travels the furthest over two flights made within 10 minutes of each other. The Powered Glider Think Kit contains all the project materials required, including lesson plans, weekly presentations, student worksheets and a teacher guidance video. Some additional tools will be required to complete the powered gliders.

Find out more

The CREST discovery awards scheme is the British Science Association’s flagship programme for young people, offering an introduction to real project work to give students the freedom to run their own investigations. Students work in groups to solve a STEM challenge with minimal adult intervention and present their work at the end of the day. As a design technology teacher, this gets the ‘thumbs up’ from me!

To find out more about the Smallpeice Trust think kits, please visit: www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk/think-kits or email ThinkKit@SmallPeiceTrust.org.uk

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@TeacherToolkit

In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account in which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in Britain' in The Sunday Times as one of the most influential in the field of education - he remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing online as @TeacherToolkit, he rebuilt this website (c2008) into what you are now reading, as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the number one spot at the UK Blog Awards (2018). Today, he is currently a PGCE tutor and is researching 'social media and its influence on education policy' for his EdD at Cambridge University. In 1993, he started teaching and is an experienced school leader working in some of the toughest schools in London. He is also a former Teaching Awards winner for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, London' (2004) and has written several books on teaching (2013-2018). Read more...