Industry expert Caroline Alliston, aka technologyforfun, shares how she’s made STEM a success in the classroom.
Tell us about your professional background.
I’m a design and development engineer with a degree from Cambridge and 24 years’ industry experience. I’m also the award-winning author of the ‘Technology for Fun’ series of books and teacher resources.
How can STEM inspire the next generation of learners?
STEM can be used to encourage creative thinking and problem solving and to engage pupils by showing them how what they learn in class relates to the world about them. There’s a huge shortage of young people going into STEM careers, and my passion is to help inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.
Which resource are you most proud of?
The resource I’m most proud of is my electric fan boats. It covers curriculum learning objectives in electricity, forces and materials as well as D&T, while giving pupils plenty of scope to come up with their own individual designs. It was great to receive feedback from a teacher saying “the children said they had the best day ever. They were talking about streamlining and modifying their models and were obviously gripped by the experience.” Hopefully a career in STEM awaits some of these students.
What are your top tips for a successful STEM program?
I think the fun and creative side of the activity is very important to engage students. You can invite in parents and engineers from your local industry to give you a hand – many companies encourage their employees to do ‘STEM outreach’ work. Creative use of cheap and everyday materials will help to keep costs down.