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Thursday, July 4 • 3:10pm - 4:25pm
A Toolkit for Engineering in the Primary Classroom

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Interest in and attitudes towards STEM subjects decline between ages 10-14 (Archer et al., 2010). However, positive STEM experiences can bring about radical changes in interest in STEM subjects and future career aspirations (Wilkinson & Sardo, 2013). It is therefore essential to expose children to positive STEM experiences at the late primary age. This is vital if we are to try to fill the 830,000 new STEM roles that are needed (Royal Academy of Engineering, 2012). The team at UWE have developed a dual focussed toolkit which aims to bring engineering into the primary classroom to deliver science in a problem solving contextualised format. It is proposed that the toolkit and materials contained within this would be presented to the conference. The first element of this toolkit focusses on materials and training for primary school teachers. This involves CPD materials with a focus on the engineering design process and how science teaching and learning can be aligned with this, as well as ideas aiming to address parental involvement. Curriculum development and Science Capital are a continuing theme throughout this element of the toolkit. The second element focusses on materials aimed at the HE sector. This element contains training materials for pre-service primary school teachers (focussing on the science through engineering approach) and undergraduate engineering students (focussing on teaching and learning in the primary classroom). The toolkit then develops this further by laying out how these two sets of students can be paired-up within a knowledge exchange format to deliver engineering challenges into primary classrooms. A model of how the work can be embedded into UG provision within education and engineering degrees will also be presented. The materials contained in this toolkit build on previously successful research which has indicated that involvement in a science through engineering model has benefits for all participants. An increase in the public engagement skills of the engineers was observed (Fogg-Rogers et al, 2016) and the children reported an increased interest in science and engineering and career aspirations relating to these subjects. The pre-service teachers demonstrated significant gains in their STEM subject knowledge confidence and confidence in their ability to teach these subjects (Lewis et al. 2015) (a key factor in ensuring positive outcomes for children (Ofsted, 2011, Singh & Stoloff, 2008). For fully qualified teachers participation in engineering professional development workshops, can change the way they teach science and other subjects (Macalalag and Tirthali, 2010).


Fay Lewis

Senior Lecturer, University of The West of England

Juliet Edmonds

Senior Lecturer, University of The West of England

Thursday July 4, 2019 3:10pm - 4:25pm BST
Owen 1026 https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Sheffield+Hallam+University/@53.378081,-1.4708524,16z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x487982831b2243e9:0x37add1086f57be4f!8m2!3d53.3780778!4d-1.466475