Teachers from Primary schools across the North East of England attended a fun day of Primary Engineer training at the SASMI Centre at Nissan (Washington site) to enable them to introduce engineering into their classroom activities.
Primary schools from both North and South Tyneside, Durham, Sunderland and Teesside were supported by organisations including Nissan, South Tyneside Council, Elring Klinger and the North East Automotive Alliance to enable them to have their teachers work with engineers and be given the tools and resources to deliver an engineering activity with the support of a Classroom Engineer to their pupils.
The teacher training day delivered by Primary Engineer is one of a range of courses that teachers can attend and then deliver in their own classroom. Each course is specifically designed to be commensurate with the appropriate key stage curriculum. This includes Early Years, Primary and Secondary school programmes and Primary Engineer offers further opportunities for young people to display their creativity through its hugely successful Leaders Award competition open to all schools across the UK.
Training day – SASMI (Skills Academy Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation) Nissan
A cold December morning was left behind as the teachers signed-in at SASMI Reception with each having an empty shoe-box under their arm. The humble shoe-box was a pre-requisite of attending the course and was the central resource to the “Structural and Mechanisms with Electricity” activity which was the workshop being focused on for the day.
Teachers were taken through the different stages of shoe-box car design and constructed their own models using tools and engineering methodologies with which many were unfamiliar. Their first task was to build a basic model “Apprentice Level 1” with a shoe-box on wheels decorated with a Christmas theme. This is a task that could easily be replicated with their younger pupils combining creativity and functionality. The day progressed to “Engineer Level 2” with the construction of a wooden chassis to support the axles/wheels, motor, battery and shoe-box and needed to be able to overcome challenges including negotiating the ascent and descent of graduated ramp.
The teachers were given both the practical and online resource links to deliver the activity in their classrooms, and also the opportunity to invite an Engineer along to support the sessions. Participating schools are part of local hubs which hold a Celebration event where school teams compete across the different Apprentice/Engineer levels before a panel of judges, and the winning teams are invited to represent the hubs at the Regional finals at the end of the Summer term.
The teachers attending the day were very enthused “I had a fantastic day with a good amount of practical and theory based learning. Good facilities and a vast amount of knowledge from the experts on offer………Very practical and everything modelled well ……..Really interesting day which helped develop my skills and confidence, and a good support to my limited knowledge about engineering……..Thoroughly enjoyed the day and the project is one that we are planning to use within a whole school engineering week next term. I can see it motivating many of our children.”
Rohan Kohli, North East Automotive Alliance also enjoyed the day “I am the Classroom Engineer working with Cragside Primary school. As a former pupil of the school and I am really pleased to be given the opportunity to possibly inspire some of them to want to become Engineers.”
Liam Weatherill, Primary Engineer Regional Director (North)