Empowering Future Engineers: A STEM Ambassador's Approach

03rd Apr 2024

Are you passionate about inspiring young minds and shaping the future of STEM? Have you ever considered becoming a STEM Ambassador?

Earlier this month Alan Reid, STEM Ambassador, delivered his first engaging session at Cherry Fold Primary School ‘If You were an Engineer, what would you do?’ an event organised by Primary Engineer. Alan shares with us his exhilarating experience as an ambassador during his recent school visit.

Primary Engineer is an educational not-for-profit organisation bringing engineers into the classroom to provide pupils with a real-world link to engineering, breaking stereotypes, and sowing seeds in pupils minds about the opportunities in the industry.   

“As I engaged with each year group, from 1 to 6, I found myself on a journey of discovery, both for myself and for the eager young minds before me.

My approach was simple yet effective: to convey the essence of engineering in a way that resonated with the children. I started by asking the question ‘what does an engineer do?’ followed by ‘who plays with Lego or K’Nex and what did they make? Their responses were typical and diverse, ranging from building houses to designing cars. This laid the perfect foundation for our journey into the world of engineering.

I peeled back the layers of engineering, revealing its presence in our everyday lives. From the bikes hanging on the walls to the lighting systems above us in the school hall, I showed the children how engineers were the unseen architects. Their eyes widened with fascination as they realised the role engineers played in shaping the world around them.”

Ambassadors going into schools is about showcasing existing wonders; it is about sparking curiosity and planting seeds of possibility. Alan demonstrated with a simple test tube and a balloon, the journey from raw materials to a familiar plastic bottle, illustrating the ingenuity and innovation of engineering processes, with the goal of getting the children to look at the world and the role of engineers through different eyes. 

“One moment that stood out was when a girl from year 5 correctly guessed the transformation of the test tube into a plastic bottle, proving that young minds are indeed sharp and perceptive. It was a testament to the impact our interactions can have on shaping their understanding of the world.

As the end of each session, I posed a thought-provoking question: "As useful as plastic is, is it good for the world?" Their acknowledgment of the environmental challenges posed by plastic served as a poignant reminder of the responsibility they bear as future engineers.

“The children left with a newfound appreciation for the world of engineering and a spark of inspiration to pursue it themselves. Their final questions echoed in my mind: "Why did you become an engineer? How do you become one? Where might I work?” It was a testament to the seeds we had planted together, nurturing the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.

So, STEM enthusiasts, we urge you to step into the shoes of a STEM Ambassador and embark on this rewarding journey of empowerment and enlightenment. Together, let's inspire the engineers of tomorrow and shape a brighter future for us all.

To find out more about becoming a STEM Ambassador, visit: Become a STEM Ambassador

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