It was British Science Week last week and, as we all know, such an acknowledgement is incredibly important for the industry and for students, as it encourages them to engage with scientific disciplines.
Engineering is one of them. Engaging students in engineering is crucial, as it gives them a better understanding of the science and how it’s useful for society.
Nurturing and developing students’ interest in engineering should begin in classrooms at an early age, then, so we’re taking a look at the engaging engineering activities that can be done in class:
Team Building Activities
Group activities have the advantage of teaching students how to work together and how to use their strengths for the benefit of the team. It also allows them to develop interpersonal skills and self-confidence!
For instance, you can have a paper plane contest. Students can create a design of their own or choose an existing one, that they think is the fastest; this can then be tested and the place that flies the furthest wins. Exercises like these help students develop their critical and spatial skills.
An escape room is always a fan favourite too! This trend started with computer and phones games but has now evolved into physical spaces. The idea is to place students in a closed room and they have to solve clues and puzzles in order to get out. You can even divide students into teams and the group that escapes the room with the fastest time is the winner.
Not only is this a fun activity, it allows students to think rationally, make decisions on the spot, grow their analytical skills, and become more confident in expressing their opinions.
Engineering can be a very practical science, so it only stands to reason that students should be able to experience it that way. Conducting experiments in class will no doubt draw the students’ attention, as it’s something more visual and different from anything else they’re used to. In addition, when students see for themselves how engineering can be applied in the real world, they will be more interested in learning its ins and outs.
This is because even though engineering and maths, for instance, are objective and exact sciences, for many they can be too ‘abstract’. This means that students might find it difficult to see the practicality of what they learn in class.
Doing experiments can change that perspective and interest students in engineering. For example, building a functional pinwheel can help students better understand wheel-and-axle mechanisms, and constructing a set of gears will allow them to develop spatial and mathematical skills.
The options are limitless! Teaching engineering in the classroom requires creativity so that you can engage students in this and other STEM sciences from an early age.