Wandsworth pupils become civil engineers for Tomorrow's Engineers Week

Pupils at Swaffield Primary School in Wandsworth became civil engineers on Thursday 5th November as they designed and built their own structures for Tomorrow Engineers Week.

The winning team sitting in their shelter
The winning team sitting in their shelter

Year 5 students at Swaffield Primary School were challenged to design and construct a shelter big enough for a group of six to fit into at the same time on Thursday 5th November.

STIXX Machine Coordinator Jeremy King tells the pupils about civil engineering
STIXX Machine Coordinator Jeremy King tells the pupils about civil engineering

The structure could only be built using recycled newspapers and re-useable cable ties produced from the STIXX machine, a hand operated device that rolls six sheets of newspaper into a solid structural rod around 60cm long and 2 cm in diameter.

The school children learnt about the various aspects of civil engineering through the activity, such as design, creativity, planning, construction, teamwork, communication and quality. They found out about the different challenges that civil engineers have to consider on a day to day basis and how, by working together, they can overcome those obstacles. Pupils were also treated to the Engineering Happiness video, a music video showing civil engineers dancing to Pharrell Willams’ Happy at various infrastructure sites across London, including the Crossrail tunnels and the Olympic Park.

The event was led by ICE London for Tomorrow Engineers Week, a nationwide initiative from 2nd to 6th November that aims to inspire young children to think about careers in science, technology and engineering. Tomorrows Engineers Week works to combat the emerging skills gap in STEM related careers and to help find the 1.82 million engineers required in the UK before 2022.

Jeremy King, an engineer who runs the STIXX Machine sessions, said: “At the end of the activity the students have the pride and satisfaction of having used all their life skills that they will need for the world of work, to have engineered a Shelter fit for purpose. I am always impressed by the creativity of the students. Over the last ten years working in schools I have seen 9000 Shelters built, but three weeks ago I had a ten year old team design then construct a 3D shape I have never seen before, unique out of 9000!”

Suzanne Moroney, ICE London Director, added: “It is great to see the children so excited about civil engineering and construction. Engineering is a fantastic career to enter and we need to excite children about the opportunities available to them at an early age. By doing so, we can ensure we have a skilled and diverse workforce for the incredible infrastructure projects being built across the UK”.

Mrs Duffy and Mr Monteith, Year 5 Teachers from Swaffield Primary School, said: "The children had a fantastic morning where they were able to use and develop a range of different skills in an engaging way. Seeing them working so well together in a team, discussing maths, problem solving and the many other things they were required to do made us very proud of the wonderful children we have in our classes. We were blown away by the quality of the finished products and the speed at which they achieved them. Thanks to the team for giving them this opportunity to explore the World of engineering."

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