Edenfield CE Primary School Presentation on Engineering

As one of the children’s parent, Poh Sung Loh, was invited to Edenfield CE Primary School on 13th February 2014, as part of the school’s insight into the working world.

17 Feb 2014

Poh was accompanied by Brian Berry, North West Projects Training Manager, both who are chartered engineers at North West Projects.

In his own words Poh describes the presentation:

We presented to them the different aspects of engineering including the presence of engineering in everyday objects, made by engineers in all types of industries. The impressive and ‘wow’ factor engineering can have such as the Bloodhound Project, the tenacity and determination of successful engineers to overcome failure and difficulties.

Speaking to a class of 32 children, and focusing on using a two way interaction method to hold their interest, we asked the children for examples of engineering in things we see daily. ‘Roads’, ‘cars’ and ‘buildings’ were some of the answers. We impressed on them that engineering permeates almost everything we use and see daily, from chairs and tables, to phones and toys, to roads, buildings, cars, trains and planes. These were engineered in all types of industry and conditions, from gritty, greasy hands to research labs.

When asked about what aspect of engineering were required to build such as the car in the Bloodhound Project, the responses were impressive; ‘aerodynamics to keep the car on the ground’ and ‘computing’ were some of the answers.

The Bloodhound Project was used as a focus on the engineering ‘WOW’ factors. Some aspects of engineering that we tried to amaze them with included: The power plant; an F1 engine was only used as a fuel pump; and a jet engine alone was not powerful enough, it had to be complimented with a rocket engine. Aerodynamics was used to help shape the car so that it could pierce the air to break the sound barrier and prevent the car from ‘flying’. Materials engineering was relied on for the structure and wheels.

A bar chart showing various speeds such was walking, cycling, driving to flying and the design speed of the Bloodhound Project was shown to illustrate the scale of difference of speeds. The fact that a car could travel faster than the speed of sound – faster than the words they were hearing from our mouths – seemed to impress them.

The qualities of a good engineer were discussed which included interests in maths, science, problem solving, creativity, team work and determination. Determination was further highlighted by explaining that failure is OK and the prelude to success, sometimes after many attempts; Thomas Edison and his invention of the light bulb after more than 10, 000 attempts was our case in point.

The talk concluded that engineering is everywhere, important and fun; and that engineering is about making things work.

A group activity of making a geo dome using cocktail sticks and jelly tots followed the talk. Though the common motivation seemed to be trying to eat the jelly tots…

It was a very engaging time for us and the children and we hope that our efforts would motivate more in the future generation taking up engineering as careers.

The presentation went down very well and we had good feedback.

Mrs Hartley, the class 4 teacher commented:-
“The children thoroughly enjoyed learning about the bloodhound project. They were inspired and mesmorised by what you were saying. You pitched it at exactly the right level. I am sure many children will consider a future career in engineering now, especially after building structures with jelly tots and cocktail sticks!”

Poh’s wife was thanked in the schoolyard by Finn’s mum. He could not stop talking about the presentation when he got home. According to his mum, Finn never talks about anything that happens in school; except then.

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