Trips to get pupils into engineering

Date Posted: 01/12/2017

A round-up of school trips to get Key Stage 2 to 5 pupils inspired by engineering.

It’s no secret that the UK is running short on engineers. The Institute of Engineering and Technology spoke out about the issue again recently. Stephanie Baxter, IET’s education lead said: “We are at risk of stifling economic growth if we do not encourage more students to study engineering, which is crucial to ensuring a healthy and balanced economy. It is vital that students are supported in their studies so that they are aware of the exciting range of engineering roles available to them.”

One way to get students excited about the subject of engineering is to show them how it works in the real world. Several school trips around the UK are designed to do just that. Here’s a round-up.

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, Widnes

Key Stage 3 pupils can take part in a 90-minute Bridges to Schools workshop at the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes. The workshop was inspired by the building of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge not far from the centre. Pupils taking part in the experience take on the roles of engineers and work as a team to construct their own cable-style bridges. Then they have to test their constructions by walking across them. 

Aerospace Bristol, Bristol

This brand new aviation museum opened in October 2017. The attraction is dedicated to the history of aviation across the world and exhibits include Concorde. An interactive workshop called A Long Way Down is available to Key Stage 3 and 4 pupils. During the session pupils will learn how aircraft changed and developed during World War Two, and design and test their own prototype parachute. 

Aerospace Bristol

Pictured: Aerospace Bristol.

The Tank Museum, Dorset

A range of workshops and guided visits link to the subject of engineering at the Tank Museum. The Tank Story Tour shows pupils how the development of armoured vehicles was affected by key events of the 20th century. The Trouble With Tracks workshops, meanwhile, let pupils work with Lego Mindstorms to build a set of working tracks for a remote controlled tank. The pupils then have to test the tracks on an obstacle course.  

Enginuity, Iron Bridge Gorge, Shropshire

There are engineering-linked workshops for all ages at Enginuity. For Key Stage 2 there’s Parachuting Parcels, which sees pupils work in teams to design and make a parachute that will deliver an egg safely to the ground when dropped from a height. Key Stages 2 to 5, meanwhile, can get involved in a Cantilever Challenge, during which they have to build a self-supporting structure using a Ping-Pong ball, string and kit straws. 

Fleet Air Arm Museum, Somerset

The Fleet Air Arm Museum is devoted to the history of British naval aviation. The museum runs a learning programme for both Primary and Secondary pupils. On the engineering front, the attraction offers Challenge Days. On these days pupils take on the roles of aerospace engineers and have to design and build a product based on a brief. The experience includes a talk from an industry representative such as the Fleet Air Arm’s chief engineering officer. Challenges include aspects of everything from mechanics and electrical circuits to materials and material purchasing. 

School Travel Organiser's Guide