Christmas toys inspire young engineers

Over 200 visitors had a taste of how the ICE could inspire future engineers when they visited the ICE Christmas exhibition held in the library at One Great George Street in December last year.

Children enjoy the ICE Christmas Exhibition.
Children enjoy the ICE Christmas Exhibition.

The interactive showcase of engineering was a pilot to test the types of displays and activities that could be used to attract children and parents in the future. With toys as a theme to bring engineering to life, two London schools, parents with children, ICE members and the general public tried out a range of fun and challenging activities.

A highlight was the half day creativity workshop.

Six enthusiastic ICE STEM ambassadors worked alongside 56 school children to celebrate the achievements of engineering while showing what a worthwhile career it can offer to enquiring minds.

Children were tasked with discovering the civil engineering components in a typical town and to build a mini arch bridge with a life-size Langdon the Lion, the mascot of the Rochester Bridge Trust. There was also the chance to view vintage construction toys and to erect modern structures with Lego and Meccano under a 12 foot high Christmas tree. A major attraction was the opportunity to win a class trip to Legoland. A giant wooden sleigh had landed at the ICE, having broken down and the best solution to deliver Santa's presents around the world would clinch the prize.

One pupil enthused that the day had been the best school trip of the year. Many children fed back that they learned the importance of civil engineers to society and one of the girls relayed that a female STEM ambassador had inspired her to become an apprentice engineer.

New ICE learning centre

Ricky Mamesar, Class teacher at St Edmund's Catholic Primary School added, 'I was impressed by the hands on nature of the activities which followed an interesting presentation. I would most certainly visit again with a class in the future.'

A survey with 60 attendees revealed that 93% thought an ICE exhibition and learning centre was a good idea. 88% felt that the centre could encourage children to learn more about engineering with 82% believed that it could motivate them to become civil engineers. The findings will help inform the new exhibition and learning centre which is due to open in the autumn of 2016.

Thanks to our partners

ICE has raised over £300,000 from seven industry partners and is seeking further funds and in-kind support to meet its £850,000 target. If you think your employer would like to participate please contact Jeanette Grose, Head of Development, Shaping the World at [email protected] or visit the Shaping the World web pages.