After many months presenting workshops to teachers through virtual delivery, it was wonderful to take Engineering is Elementary back on the road to Queensland in March 2021. The program presenters were certainly excited to be back into touring life, bringing workshops to teachers in person! Over the course of a week, we took the Playdough unit of work, focusing on chemical engineering, to teachers in Townsville, Rockhampton and Mackay.
It was rewarding to see highly engaged and enthusiastic teachers throwing themselves into all parts of the workshop. Part of the ethos of Engineering is Elementary is putting teachers in the shoes of their students. We encourage the teachers to participate in all program activities, just like their students would. While the best recipe for playdough and the best cordial flavour were hotly debated (hint, it's certainly not lemon), the teachers were able to find real classroom links, and see the value of simple materials and activities for delivering meaningful STEM units of work. We look forward to hearing how teachers go implementing the Engineering is Elementary programs in their classrooms, with the resource kits supplied to all participants.
It is a beautiful feeling to walk down a hallway and hear 'the buzz' of a classroom - constructive conversation, laughter and learning from an environment of engaged and enthusiastic learners. This atmosphere was certainly apparent during the workshops. The truly special moments of in-person delivery were a delight to experience again. The willingness of teachers to be vulnerable, ask questions and participate in rich, pedagogical conversation was invaluable.
“Loved the hands on way of being involved with the learning. It was great having an inquiry based learning model as our school does gradual release of responsibility, which doesn’t always seem as engaging when it comes to STEM. It was easier to learn while participating rather than being told” - program participant.
“It was really good. I can’t suggest an improvement. It was free, engaging and full of great ideas" - program participant.
We look forward to visiting many more regions of Australia this year, building confidence and capacity for meaningful STEM education and developing a network of highly capable educators across Australia.
See the media release.
Engineering is Elementary was developed by EiE, a division of the Museum of Science, Boston, and is delivered in Australia by Questacon, supported by Principal Partner the Australian Defence Force.