Primary Engineer: Helping to inspire the next generation

Published:  16 February, 2021

UWE Bristol is the university partner for Primary Engineer’s ‘If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?’ competition for South West England for the fourth year and the ‘Primary Engineer Structures and Mechanisms with Basic Electrics project’ with the new initiative for Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) for the West of England region.

As both projects require engagement with engineering professionals and educationalists, the partnership with UWE Bristol provides both primary and secondary school pupils in South West England with opportunities to develop STEM skills and gain valuable insights into engineering careers. Both ‘If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?’ and ‘Primary Engineer Structures and Mechanisms with Basic Electrics’ provide opportunities to bridge the gap between education and engineering offering teachers and pupils meaningful opportunities to work with engineering professionals through whole-class, curriculumaligned projects.

Chris Rochester, UK director at Primary Engineer, said: “We are thrilled to have UWE Bristol continue as a University partner for ‘If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?’ and to also fund the ‘Primary Engineer Structures and Mechanisms with Basic Electrics project’ through DETI. Winning designs from ‘If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?’ will continue to be developed and built by UWE Bristol engineering students into a fullscale functioning prototype, giving the school pupils who entered the competition insight into the process behind designing and manufacturing a product as well as seeing their design brought to life.”

Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers, DETI inspire leader, added: “We are really pleased to partner with Primary Engineer to support our DETI Inspire educational programme. Supporting teachers to engage with STEM activities is so important, as they are critical influences in young children’s lives. There are so many exciting careers available in engineering, and it all starts with children learning that they have the power to make a difference in the world”.

The Primary Engineer Structures and Mechanisms with Basic Electrics project begins with a one-day CPD course for primary teachers which enables them to deliver the engineering projects with Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils. Teachers are provided with sets of tools, consumables and online resources as part of the fully funded project and will be partnered with engineering professionals from UWE and local businesses to provide a realworld context to the learning.

‘If You Were An Engineer, What Would You Do?’ asks pupils from early years, primary schools and secondary schools to identify a problem in the world and design a solution to it. Inspired by interviewing engineering professionals from a range of roles and research engineering, pupils are encouraged to ‘find the engineer they could be’ by designing the future of engineering. Pupils are challenged to look at the world around them to find problems an engineered solution could solve.

Alongside their annotated drawings, pupils write an accompanying letter to persuade the judges to select their design to be one of a number of designs to be built by UWE Bristol.

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