In the past week, we at Think Up have run two STEM workshops in London schools. During the workshops, students explored structural engineering principles with help from our app Make A Scape. They used worksheets and structured activities that we at Think Up have been developing to help teachers and lecturers use the app in schools and universities. Thanks to the support of the Institution of Structural Engineers we will publish these resources and more as part of two guides within the coming months.
On Wednesday 13th July, I visited Mill Hill County High School. I’m no stranger to the school, I worked there from 2014 – 2015 before joining Think Up. I was met by 20 enthusiastic students from year 7 to year 9, and a few of my old colleagues from the Maths department. The school had already downloaded the app onto their class set of iPads, borrowed from Geography (thank you!), so after a quick introduction students worked through the inbuilt tutorial. By 15 minutes into the workshop, everyone had learnt how to use the app and had begun the pre-programme levels and the accompanying worksheets. The students hypothesised as to what made a structure strong. Some thought equilateral triangles, others right angled, some thought spacious, others compact, but they all agreed squares were no good. Afterwards, they tested these hypotheses in the app. The workshop concluded with a discussion about the purpose of different structures.
After the workshop, I discussed the app and the resources with my old colleagues. I received some great ideas about the structure of the tasks and the layout of the resources.
On Thursday 14th July I was off again, this time to Royal Greenwich UTC, where I met Helen Cleary the Art, Design and Technology Lead for the college. Helen has previously trialled other resources for Think Up but this was the first time we’d met face to face. It was also my first time in a UTC, I was impressed by the building space that they had, with many workbenches and tools, I can imagine some great projects taking place there.
Three year 12 students Richard, Randeep, Tony, and Rickshan, tested the app, worksheets and activities. The students got really involved, debating why the building material was measured in energy and why towers are shaped as they are.
I had a great time seeing the activities I’ve been working on in the school and UTC environments. It was especially nice to get an opportunity to visit my old school. The input from these workshops will be a huge help in making these resources as useful for teachers and lecturers as possible. We would like to say a huge thank you to all the participating students and teachers.