To improve science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) engagement in primary schools across Gloucestershire, global engineering technologies company Renishaw is sponsoring a local not-for-profit company STEMworks to deliver 100 workshops with students aged nine to eleven to inspire the next generation of engineers.
During these sessions, STEMworks will talk about what engineering is, what engineers do and then students have the opportunity to think like engineers as they participate in a K’NEX competition in the classroom increasing STEM-related skills such as problem solving, teamwork and following a technical brief.
At each session, a class is given a brief and one hour to build a machine using creative building toys, K’NEX. The sessions are often supported by Renishaw STEM Ambassadors who help the students understand how they can design, build and test their ideas. This also gives the students role models from the engineering industry, which will hopefully encourage them to pursue a career in this field in the future.
“Hands-on activities, such as the K’NEX competition, are an exciting and effective way of engaging and developing future engineers,” explained Oliver Jelley, Industrial Placement Engineer at Renishaw who recently supported a workshop. “This competition gives students an insight into the skills needed to be an engineer and allows them to feel proud of their final designs.”
“We have the opportunity to influence over 3,000 students by running 100 workshops at schools across Gloucestershire,” explained Rebecca Bound, Education Outreach Officer at Renishaw. “It can be challenging for schools to deliver engaging workshops if they are limited by the curriculum or a lack of resources. The collaboration between Renishaw and STEMworks means that we can work with more schools to deliver exciting activities that contextualise engineering and encourage students to consider studying STEM subjects at a higher level.”
Renishaw offers an extensive education outreach programme to support primary and secondary schools across Bristol, Gloucestershire and South Wales. Renishaw also partners with local initiatives such as the Bristol Music Trust, local Brownie groups and Cheltenham Science Festival to engage with more students and help them understand more about STEM subjects.