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St Faith’s Hosts ‘An Introduction to Teaching Engineering in Prep Schools’

On 12th November, St Faith’s organised and hosted the first national training course for senior managers and teachers to learn how to introduce and teach Engineering to the 7-13 age group.

The course was fully subscribed, with 30 teachers attending from IAPS members schools from across the country. Mrs Margaret White, Deputy Head Academic and Dr Nicola Hoyle, Head of Engineering, spoke to the delegates about the principles behind the introduction of Engineering and how we have planned and resourced the lessons at St Faith’s. The course was held in our recently opened Hub which connects our STEM teaching facilities via one large inter-disciplinary space.

The main part of the day was practical, with the delegates working in teams, attempting to engineer solutions to problems posed by Dr Hoyle. Tasks included a ‘Gravity Challenge’ where teams had to use materials of different resistance on a marble run to make a marble drop a certain height in exactly 10 seconds; and ‘Shelter Building’ where teams were challenged with building a shelter for four out of only newspaper and tape that was capable of keeping them dry under a sprinkling of water, the added challenge being that teams had to work in silence. The idea, of course, was for the teachers to experience Engineering lessons from the pupils’ point of view.

The feedback we received from the delegates has been overwhelmingly positive and our umbrella organisation, IAPS (Independent Association of Prep Schools), has already indicated that they would like us to follow-up by running similar courses in the future. As Mr Helliwell wrote in an article for a national magazine recently, ‘Watch out, Engineering could be coming to a school near you!’

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