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Ankit Bhattarai
Feb 21, 2021
In Final submissions
Not much is known about what an engineering career comprises, and since it is viewed as a stereotypically male profession, this deters a lot of females. Below is a graph of the number of women in STEM. Whilst there is a lot of outreach during later years of secondary school, most students would have decided upon their career path by then. Our solution involves introducing primary school students to some simple engineering activities, to give them a taste of what engineering is like and give young students, particularly girls, the confidence to pursue an engineering degree in the future. We initially considered a programme aimed specifically at women, but eventually decided to open this scheme to all primary school students in order to prevent positive discrimination, and to allow this scheme to also help change the minds of other pupils who may not have considered engineering. We propose a scheme where schools can receive packages throughout the year, which contain engineering activities aimed at years 5 and 6. These can be done as a classroom activity or as the basis for a set of lessons. In the years following the pandemic, when government ministers are considering extending the school day these activities could also be as part of a coronavirus catch up plan. Each activity would be related to a different aspect of engineering, and the activities could be sent to schools at equally spaced intervals throughout the year. This scheme would also come with an online access to a network where schools could connect with industry mentors. In order to portray engineering as a career that is gender diverse, we aim to have an even gender split of industry mentors, and spaced throughout the year, zoom talks with mentors from different industries, could be scheduled, particularly mentors with a personal connection to the children, for example those from the same area or school. Activities will be designed so that they are fun but also encourages students to think, followed by the teacher explaining the scientific principles behind the task at the end. For example, the structural engineering-based activity could stimulate a discussion about materials, bracing, and designing truss structures. These activities could also provide an introduction for children to skills such as CAD using free online CAD services like TinkerCAD, and coding. To fund this project, we propose a scheme where schools can apply for this funding, and have the government provide some to all funding depending on their means. Wealthier schools can also share materials and equipment with others in their area. In order to minimise the costs, the expensive items like robots will be circulated between different schools in the area. These activities will be relatively simple and come with leaflets detailing the science behind them. Pupils can be supervised by their teachers and occasionally outside volunteers. By introducing younger children to the basics of engineering in a fun and educational way, we aim to empower and encourage more females to pursue similar subjects at secondary school. #Education #EngineeringDiversity #EngineeringEducation #EWB Creators: Ankit Bhattarai Sharon Blass
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