Looking back at last week's very successful Engineers Week, we realise all that we achieved in such a short space of time! The aim of Engineers Week is to celebrate the engineering profession, to grow awareness of engineers in the community, and to showcase engineering as an exciting and diverse career option for students. We welcomed 628 very excited primary school pupils and their teachers to take part in our investigative, educational but most of all fun activities throughout the week.
For Imaginosity, Engineers Week allows us to show primary schools the important role that engineers play in the world around us and also the fun that can be had while utilising Science and Maths. With this in mind we developed two curriculum linked programmes "Box Monsters" and "Ping Pong Ball Catapults". If you are wondering what exactly "Box Monsters" and "Ping Pong Ball Catapults" can teach children about engineering, the short answer is lots!
The "Box Monsters" workshop uses basic principles of Pneumatics in order to make a box open its mouth wide like monster jaws. This workshop is designed for children in Junior Infants to 2nd class. The children firstly got the opportunity to decorate their "Box Monster" which excited and delighted everyone as they set about creating their very own cardboard creature. We at Imaginosity know that Pneumatics is an awfully big word and an even bigger concept to understand but the simplest explanation is that pneumatics is the energy of trapped air. We used lots of straws, Ziplock bags and boxes from the lovely people at Recreate (www.recreate.ie) to show this in a fun "hands-on" and most importantly age appropriate manner to children.
The "Ping Pong Ball Catapult" workshop was designed for children in 1st and 2nd class and is a great way of explaining the difference between stored/potential energy and Kinetic energy. You would be entitled at this point to ask how? This time we used lots of ice-lolly sticks, elastic bands and ping pong balls to understand the engineering behind catapults. The testing began as the children, tried and succeeded in reaching the targets that we had set up for these experiments.
Whether its in the classroom or at home, experimenting is all about having fun, creating and discovering the world around us; your children will learn even more if you join in with them. If you are stuck for ideas, don't worry there are loads of great resources out there for parents and teachers. As a Discover Centre member I would highly recommend the Discover Primary Science and Maths Website www.primaryscience.ie for loads of fun "hands-on" activities for children which can be tried out at home.