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get inspired

Some people have a misconception about what engineering is. Our research has highlighted that 54 per cent of children don’t know anything about careers in engineering. But the reality is that some of their favourite things involve a serious amount of engineering – they just don’t know it!

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Over the past few years, we’ve worked with vloggers and well-known brands to go behind the scenes at some well-known attractions and brands to find out about the vital role engineering plays.

IET Vision Report

The pace of technological change has increased so quickly that one decade's must-have gadget can become obsolete the next. So, what will tomorrow’s world look like? We want to inspire and get kids excited about engineering a better future by showing them the limitless possibilities of invention and advancement.

To do this, we’ve joined forces with author and futurist Brian David Johnson to produce a future-gazing report looking at where engineering and technology will take us in the next 30 years, and how young people and parents can play a part in this.

Demonstrating the importance of keeping the industry of innovation alive, the report also reveals some of the incredible inventions, technologies and careers we can expect to see in the next 30 years.

The report is supported by new IET research which has shown that one in five (22%) children rarely play or make things independently and more than a quarter (28%) of children struggle to cope without an electronic device.

Virtually Reality - How children’s imagination today will shape tomorrow [PDF, 1,922KB]

#STEMintoSummer

To support children’s imaginations and innovation, the IET is encouraging young people and their parents to #STEMintoSummer with a package of activities for children to use over the summer months, inspiring free play that will also help to develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills.

Resources:

STEM Toys with Konnie Huq – eight bite-sized DIY videos show you how to make some fun and easy STEM-inspired toys. The improvised toys – which include a dissolving egg, magnetic slime, a kaleidoscope and even a smartphone projector – are educational, as well as fun.

How to make magnetic slime

How to make a marble run

How to make a smartphone projector

How to make a lightsword

How to make a kaleidoscope

How to make a dissolving egg

How to make a bouncy ball

How to make a toy balloon boat

The IET Education team have created a new set of resources just for students!

These exciting STEM-related experiments and projects can all be carried out at home or at school with everyday objects. With five for primary and five for secondary, we’re sure you’ll find something to enjoy.

So if you’re aged 5 to 10 and would like to have a go at designing your own shadow puppet show complete with theatre, or fancy setting up a treasure hunt, or you’re 11 to 16 and like to think of yourself as a codebreaker or would love to design a hoverboard (to name but a few), then head over to the IET Education website where you can download these FREE resources today! 

Sports of the future competition

Launched while the world of sport was on hold during the lockdown, we challenged children to come up with a new sport or invention that makes an existing sport even better. We received more than 100 entries with a whole host of innovative designs – from robots, you can play football with, to a gun that fires chicken nuggets at athletes to keep them sustained. Some entries were even inspired by social distancing restrictions, including a ‘Squeenis Ball’ that automatically returns to you, allowing you to play tennis without a partner, and social distancing trainers that light up if you’re within two metres of someone else.

The entries were scored by cycling champion Mark Cavendish, IET President Peter Bonfield and IET Young Woman Engineer Ying Wan Loh who had a tough decision on their hands, but they decided on 13-year-old Charlotte Geary’s invention, the Electrodeck as the winner.

The world of skateboarding could be transformed as Charlotte’s Electrodeck makes skaters go faster and do more tricks without ever having to take their feet off the board! Using a clever combination of pressure points and a bidirectional accelerometer, the Electrodeck idea is constructed like any other skateboard – but with hollow trucks and a thicker deck to house the tech – so it wouldn’t even look out of place in a skatepark, allowing users to unlock a multitude of new tricks. Charlotte’s winning invention has been made into a real-life prototype as part of her prize.

Congratulations Charlotte!

Charlotte Geary

Congratulations to Charlotte Geary

IET Life on Mars

We teamed up with the iconic Beano comic for our latest Engineer a Better World campaign.

Our recent competition, with the Beano, gave winner Elin, 10, an out-of-this-world experience when she sent her engineered clarinet into orbit!

The Life on Mars competition asked six to 16-year-olds to re-design something they couldn’t live without should they ever move to another planet. It formed part of this year’s Engineer a Better World campaign and supported our mission to help inspire young people about the world of aerospace engineering and the range of modern roles that need STEM skills.

As part of the campaign, we sought young people’s views on the future of our planet as well as how they feel about space exploration. The study found that nearly half of under 16s believe a human colony on Mars will be established in their lifetime, with a love for space being a key factor in their interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Whilst Elin wants to take her clarinet to space, a third of UK children (36 per cent) say they would want to take their TV should they one day live there.

Watch Elin launch her space clarinet to the edge of the atmosphere where it reached a height of 35km and temperatures as low as -63°C before hurtling back to earth at speeds of over 150mph. The clarinet was launched in Ashbourne, Derbyshire and landed safely by parachute over 70 miles away near Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.

Lights, Camera, Action

To inspire budding engineers and raise awareness of the exciting work that engineers do in the music industry, the IET teamed up with long-running TV favourite, Blue Peter, to give three youngsters the chance to engineer a professional pop music video.

The ‘Lights, Camera, Action!’ competition was launched in September 2018 and ran exclusively through Blue Peter. Entrants were asked to submit a storyboard for a scene within a festive pop music video for boyband New Hope Club, write a paragraph about their favourite engineer and describe how their invention has inspired them.

Find out more about all of the action from the day.

Dotty (10) from Lancashire engineering a professional pop music video

IET STEM toys of Christmas

In December 2017, Konnie Huq partnered with the IET to inspire more children to consider careers in engineering, making Britain’s most popular Christmas toys at home for a fraction of the cost. Konnie, who spent over 10 years craft-making on Blue Peter, supported our campaign to inspire more children to consider careers in engineering. The toys are designed to make learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) more accessible and affordable. The improvised toys – which include a dissolving egg, magnetic slime, a kaleidoscope and even a smartphone projector – are educational, as well as fun.

Alongside this, research from the IET - conducted among a sample of 2,000 parents of children aged one to 12, revealed that parents are spending an average of £182 on toys and tech presents alone per child this Christmas. Additionally, two thirds (68 per cent) put the emphasis on education, thinking it’s important for their kids to learn about science, technology, engineering and maths from playing with their toys.

Watch Konnie's video on YouTube.

#ISeeMore chocolate bar of the future

Student Catherine Young, from Scotland, was crowned the winner of our #ISeeMore competition in 2017, in partnership with Mondelēz International, the UK’s largest branded food manufacturer. Beating hundreds of applicants, Catherine’s out of this world space themed entry, named ‘Rocket Fuel’, included a mix of moulds, shapes, textures and techniques of food engineering with delicious ingredients to create something truly impressive. The #ISeeMore competition aimed to inspire the next generation of engineers by demonstrating how exciting, diverse and creative a career in engineering can be, through the medium of chocolate.

Catherine Young and her Rocket Fuel chocolate bar design