Engineer a Better World

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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.

STEM superheroes – our latest report!

Heroic tales of superheroes entertain and inspire us all, but did you know children’s top three favourite characters are engineers and scientists? We’re on a mission to use superheroes to supercharge STEM and create our next generation of engineers and scientists!

Our latest study of 1,000 children aged 5-13 shows that whilst over 90% of children think superheroes are ‘cool’, it’s the costume and their ability to save the world they admire most as opposed to their intelligence or technical know-how.

Given their favourite superheroes such as Iron Man, Spider-Man and Batman are all engineers and scientists – a shocking 60% didn’t know, posing the question – what can be the important role that superheroes play in inspiring our future STEM superstars?!

Our new report uncovers how we can inspire our children through their favourite STEM characters to better understand the world of engineering and technology. We want them to get excited about futuristic and emerging jobs that take inspiration from the superhero world and find real-life role models that represent a diverse range of backgrounds so that everyone has a ‘Super Realo’ to look up to.

Promisingly, our study reveals that we’re raising a generation of children who do want to solve world problems and help the planet when they’re older (90%). Even more encouragingly, 65% claim that after being informed that their heroes are in fact scientists or engineers they’d like to pursue a career in STEM, paving the way for our next generation of ‘Super Realoes’! The STEM Squad better watch out…!

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! 

Revisit our previous Engineer a Better World campaigns

#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

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!

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.

Life on Mars - launching the first clarinet to the edge of space!

#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.