Leaders Award online Engineering Extravaganza for British Science Week 2019

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The Leaders Awards are celebrating British Science Week 2019 by holding an Engineering Extravaganza in which they will hold two ‘Meet an Engineer’ interviews engineers every school day, starting from 8th March.

During British Science Week 2019 there will be two Live Online Engineer Events each day, available to all schools registered for the Scottish Engineering, Primary Engineer and Secondary Engineer Leaders Awards featuring:

  • Jenny Roberts a Mechatronic Engineer – Friday 8/3/19, 10.30 am-11.30 am
  • Gerry Ward – Manufacturing Engineer – Friday 8/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm
  • Iulia Motoc – Roboticist – Monday 11/3/19, 0.30 am-11.30 am
  • Mike Baldwin – Lead Mechanical Engineer – Monday 11/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm
  • Elaine Meskhi – Engineering Consultant – Tuesday 12/3/19, 10.30 am-11.30 am
  • Eleanor Davies – Structural Engineer and Women Like Me participant – Tuesday 12/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm
  • Yeff Karpuchenko – Mechanical Engineer – Wednesda 13/3/19, 10.30 am-11.30 am
  • Mike Jeschke – Materials Engineer – Wednesday 13/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm
  • Stephanie Alexander – Automotive Engineer – Thursday 14/3/19, 10.30 am-11.30 am
  • Lorna Bennet – Renewables Mechanical Engineer – Thursday 14/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm
  • Graeme Ralph – Manufacturing R&D Engineer – Friday 15/3/19, 10.30 am-11.30 am
  • Victoria Howells – Flight Simulation Engineer – Friday 15/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm

These events are expecting to very popular, so the Leaders Awards are recommending that schools who want to take part register their interest by emailing info@leadersaward.com as soon as possible citing the relevant engineer’s name and your school name in the subject line of the email.

Sign your Pupils up to the Great Science Share

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Children from Years 4 to 8 from across the region are invited to share their own science investigations at the Great Science Share for Schools.

Image result for great science share

The aim of the Great Science Share is to nurture kids’ natural curiosity by providing an opportunity for them to pose a scientific question, plan a way to investigate their question, and then share their investigation with new audiences.  This promotes child-centred learning as well as giving children a chance to communicate their projects in a non-competitive, inclusive environment.

You can read more about the Great Science Share, access the inspiration wall and find out how you can support your class’ project on the annual campaign website. So have a read and sign up your class to take part in the Bristol and Bath event on Tuesday 18th June 10-2 pm, hosted by UWE Bristol (Frenchay Campus, BS34 8QZ).

Scientists and engineers from STEM research and industry will also be attending the free event – there to be inspired by your children’s fantastic questions and ideas, as well as to display cutting-edge technology from their industries.

Entry: Each ticket admits up to eight children with two adults. Each class can apply for a ticket, so schools can bring different groups from multiple classes. Home educators are also welcome with group displays.

UWE Bristol is hosting the Bristol and Bath Great Science Share in association with Curiosity Connections Bristol, Bath Spa University, and the Association for Science Education West.

Originally posted by Louisa Cockbill on the Curiosity Connections blog, 22nd February 2019.

Final Call to Enter Free Engineering Competition

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The Leaders Award is a free competition for children in which you can challenge your pupils to come up with engineering solutions to everyday problems. But the deadline (27th March) is fast approaching…

Kids taking part in the Leaders Award are encouraged to talk to local engineers, but also have the opportunity to tune into live interviews with scientists and pose their questions to these experts.

Get your school registered to take part in the Leaders Award.

If your school wants to be involved in any of the interviews please register your interest via email to info@leadersaward.com and they will  keep you posted on their schedule. And you can read more about it here: leadersaward 2019 flyer.

The awards are supported by the University of the West of England, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).

Originally posted by Louisa Cockbill on the Curiosity Connections blog, 24th February 2019.

Free Solar Circuits Curriculum Activity

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Practical Action have a new STEM Challenge for children aged 8-14 years.The Solar Challenge is a free resource that covers the circuits National Curriculumrequirements. All the materials you need are provided, including a PPT, teacher’s guide, pupil notes and a poster. Check it out here: https://practicalaction.org/solar-challenge.

The challenge is based on Practical Action’s work in southern Zimbabwe, so doubles up as a great way to raise pupils awareness of global issues.Pupils build circuits using solar cells, then make decisions on the use of electrical appliances for a community in Zimbabwe who have a limited supply of electricity.It’s perfect for STEM clubs, transition and enrichment days, as well as supporting pupils’ learning about Sustainable Development Goals.The Solar Challenge is also linked to the Off-Grid Design Competition, which challenges pupils to develop a solar powered solution to address one of a number of problems.

The STEM challenges that Practical Action run can be used to gain a CREST Award.

Learn more about the CREST Award and the challenges Practical Action offer, here:

Originally posted by Louisa Cockbill on the Curiosity Connections blog, 14th February 2o19.

First prototype complete in Leaders Award design build

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A team of engineers from UWE Bristol is bringing to life one of the winning designs from last year’s Leaders Awards. Designed by Philippa Griffiths of Hugh Sexey CE Middle School in Somerset, the Red Line Braking System (RLBS) displays red lights to alert other drivers of the severity of the braking and levels of attention needed, with the aim of reducing fatalities on our roads. Here Miriam Cristofoletti of the build team shares their latest prototype progress.

In this first prototype, we installed a pressure sensor inside what looks like a break pedal of a car (but instead is an old sewing machine’s pedal!), and we build and programmed a circuit to control a strip of LEDs. This is the basic principle behind the final design. We will then make it bigger and we’ll attach it to a frame to fit around the car’s back windshield. We’d also like to add a Bluetooth system in order not to have wires running from one side of the car to another. 

“The UK education system cannot produce enough engineers to support the economy”

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Apprenticeship Levy limitations and technical teacher shortages threaten economic growth, according to a report led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, which is currently funding our Curiosity Connections – Women Like Me project.

Engineering Skills for the Future – the 2013 Perkins review revisited was published on 30th January 2019 and produced by Education for Engineering. It reports numerous barriers to addressing the annual shortfall of 59,000 engineers and technicians in the UK workforce; including narrow post-16 education options, teacher shortages and an overly restrictive Apprenticeship Levy.

The 2013 Review of Engineering Skills was led by Professor John Perkins CBE FREng and commissioned by government. It was a landmark report reviewing engineering education. This newly published independent report revisits the challenges highlighted in the original Perkins Review, and makes a series of recommendations for addressing them:

  • Government should review the issues affecting recruitment and retention of teachers and go beyond plans announced this week by introducing a requirement for 40 hours of subject-specific continuing professional development for all teachers of STEM subjects, not just new recruits, every year.
  • An urgent review of post-16 academic education pathways for England is needed. Young people should have the opportunity to study mathematics, science and technology subjects along with arts and humanities up to the age of 18, to attract a broader range of young people into engineering.
  • Government must ensure engineering courses are adequately funded with increased top-up grants for engineering departments if tuition fees are to be reduced.
  • Government should give employers greater control and flexibility in how they spend the Apprenticeship Levy, including to support other high-quality training provision in the workplace, such as improving the digital skills of the workforce.
  • Professional engineering organisations and employers should address the need to up-skill engineers and technicians to prepare for the introduction of disruptive digital technologies into industry.
  • Employers should take an evidence-based and data driven approach to improve recruitment and increase retention and progression of underrepresented groups within organisations, including by introducing recruitment targets for underrepresented groups.

For more information and to view the report, please see the Royal Academy of Engineering’s news release.

Connected by Curiosity

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Our Curiosity Connections Conference took place at UWE Bristol on Saturday 2nd February 2019. We’ve already updated on our Women Like Me engineering outreach surgery that was embedded into the day; now you can find out how the rest of the packed event went in this conference report by Curiosity’s Project Coordinator Louisa Cockbill and Project Lead Laura Fogg-Rogers (originally posted by Louisa on the Curiosity Connections blog).

Despite all the snow falling in Bristol on the day before the conference, we were much relieved that roads were cleared in time for delegates to arrive on Saturday morning.

Looking at the feedback forms this morning we’re happy to find that everyone found the day a valuable collaborative opportunity as well as being informative, motivational and fun to boot.

In her introductory keynote, Louise Stubberfield who leads the Explorify project as Programme Manager of Primary Science Education at the Wellcome Trust, highlighted data gathered by the Trust showing how little science makes its way into the primary school classroom. One statistic that stood out, was how the UK  have longer school hours than other countries, yet spend less time on science.

Louise Stubberfield presents her keynote address

Louise applauded the teachers present for taking the time to do science education training, while also noting that this was on their own unpaid time. She also highlighted statistics that indicate training such as this significantly pushes science contact time up in their schools.

The keynote painted the uphill battle that science has to climb in primary schools. But Louise finished on a positive note by engaging everyone in a couple of Explorify activities, clearly demonstrating the ease by which these online resources can be deployed in the primary classroom.

The day then went into full swing with workshops and expo entertainment galore.

Matthew Tosh leads a workshop on confidence in presenting science in the classroom

One workshop inspired delegates in easy ways to incorporate science content into English and Maths lessons, while another built confidence in presenting science in the classroom, and still a third looked into how ideas around science capital can be built into lessons.

Becky Holmes from Science Made Simple gets some help in showcasing her activities

The Expo Showcase, which followed on from a lush lunch, was a highlight of the day, with representatives from Medical MavericksScience Made SimplePractical Action and Kids against Plastic, showcasing their activities.

The day finished with a little magic from Matthew Tosh, who showed us how a science “wow” can be very simple. And he also gave us a sneaky preview from a new demonstration he’s whipping together for a new show premiering at St. George’s Bristol on Sunday 17th Feb.

We wish to say a massive thank you to all of the speakers who took part in making the day so relevant, and of course thank you for delegates for taking part!

Stay tuned in to the blog in the next couple of weeks to see more photos from the event and to hear more about what some of our science communicator attendees are up to…

Your one-stop-shop for Space Education

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The European Space Education Resource Office is the place to go for everything space education!

There’s a bunch of fabulous resources for lessons, including a number of activities focused on what we know about the moon, lesson plans revolving around the new James Webb Telescope, and a series of animations based around an alien explorer.

But there’s also:

This post was originally written by Louisa Cockbill and published on the Curiosity Connections blog on 17th January 2019.

Interested in engineering but don’t know where to start?

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If your children or those you teach are interested in getting into engineering but don’t know where to start, have a look at Year of Engineering‘s animation on the different routes they can take into a career that’s packed with opportunities.

For more information about routes into engineering, you can also visit Tomorrow’s Engineers and Inspire an Engineer from the Engineering Council.

Female engineers come together for outreach surgery at Curiosity Connections 2019

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Curiosity ConnectionsWomen Like Me is a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious funded project. Curiosity Connections is a Bristol-based network for primary Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) teachers and science communicators, while Women Like Me pairs senior engineers with junior engineers for mentoring, with the junior engineers undertaking outreach activities with children and young people.

The Curiosity Connections Conference 2019 took place at UWE Bristol on 2nd February – more to follow about that! As well as the three fantastic workshop rotations on offer, we also provided an outreach surgery for our female engineers to come along, try out some outreach activities, talk through any thoughts they have about outreach and catch up with each other.

Run by Dr Laura Hobbs, research fellow in science communication at UWE Bristol and coordinator of Women Like Me, and Dr Debbie Lewis, technical team leader for molecular biology at UWE and experienced outreach leader, the session saw our engineers trying to cut A5 pieces of paper so that they could step through them (a fantastic resource provided by the Year of Engineering) and build towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows. We were also joined by our WISE Women Like Me partner Sarah Behenna, who was recently involved with the development of the new WISE resource My Skills My Life.

Credit: David Marshall (University of Bristol/Virtual Natural History Museum)

Such was the concentration and enthusiasm for the tasks – and encouraging and supportive atmosphere – that we decided to extend our scheduled 50 minute session to more than two hours, only stopping for lunch. Our endeavours with technical paper-cutting also caught the attention of exhibitors at the conference expo; the Virtual Natural History Museum stand soon became adorned with a perfectly-executed paper ring!