Over a thousand local children inspired to engineer a sustainable future

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The “We Make Our Future” planetarium show has been touring local West of England schools, encouraging children to think positively about the Climate Crisis and use human ingenuity to engineer a more sustainable future.

With generous funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious grant scheme, the show has inspired approximately 1,550 children in the last three months!

All those children attend local schools in areas of socioeconomic deprivation, with 80% of them reporting that the show helped them to find out how engineering can help the world.

Children described the show as…

95% of teachers say they’d recommend the show to others.

The show was interactive and interesting, the children were engaged and could not wait to ask questions,” said a teacher from Four Acres Academy.

[The show] Really engaged the children and gave them a better understanding of what they can do to make a difference,” said a teacher from Fonthill Primary.

Engineering ‘We Make our Future’

The show was originally created in 2021 by Explorer Dome (a hands-on science company who travel the country to provide children a taster for science in their inflatable planetariums) in collaboration with UWE – with support from the Digital Engineering and Technology Innovation (DETI) programme.

The new funding from the Royal Academy of Engineers, has not only enabled Explorer Dome to visit more schools, but also enhanced children’s exposure to regional sustainability ambassadors – to raise aspirations and exposure of green engineering careers.

To showcase more ambassadors the UWE and Explorer Dome team have been:

Training – UWE arranged for the Explorer Dome team to train a diverse group of engineers in public engagement skills, in September at UWE’s Engineering building – you can read more about this event on the blog.

Role modelling – UWE and Explorer Dome are doing film shoots with engineers at sustainability focused engineering companies across Bristol – including at clean energy companies, Thrive Renewables and Belltown Power, and indoor farming technology company, LettUS Grow. These films will be shown during We Make Our Future shows to inspire children with the vast range of real-life, local green engineering role-models. See below, one of the films of engineer Olivia.

Green Skills – meanwhile the UWE team have arranged Green Skills career fairs at local schools, to further expose children to different companies and the people in them who work in sustainability. In particular, children at Hans Price Academy in November were challenged to rethink what “green skills” are – it’s not necessarily about having lots of local animal habitat knowledge, but about utilising whatever skills you have – from numbers to creativity – to build a sustainable future. You can read more about this initiative here.

180 pupils from Hans Price also got to go into the dome and see the We Make Our Future shows during this Eco-Week at their School.

Brilliant content, good pace & good interaction from students,” said a Hans Price teacher.

The Future of ‘We Make Our Future’

A further three schools are booked to see ‘We Make our Future’ in April and May, including a school for deaf children. And Explorer Dome are booked in for a day full of shows at UWE’s Engineering Family Fun Day on 1st July – more details to follow on this soon!

UWE are following up with schools who have had the shows already to signpost more educational materials and offer the UWE Inspire range of free workshops, some of which involve taking local STEM Ambassadors into schools. Seven schools are booked in to take part in these workshops in April/May.

Want to get a better glimpse into the We Make Our Future show – take a look at the video below:

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