Engineers in all guises

7th September 2001 at 01:00
ENGINEERING OUR FUTURE SERIES. BRUNEL GOES TRAVELLING. OCEAN CUP CHALLENGE. FLIGHT DATA RECORDER. BAE Systems. Free. Tel: 0845 303 6020. or access at www.baesystems.comengineeringourfuture

There was a time when most school-industry links focused on secondary schools. Little was produced for earlier key stages, so this new set of resources from BAE Systems is most welcome. The Engineering Our Future series is a multi-million pound investment supporting science and technology in schools.

Brunel Goes Travelling, for four to seven-year-olds, centres on the adventures of Brunel Bear. The main focus of each activity is on literacy and numeracy but many curricular links are possible. The pack explores the world of engineering through problem-solving activities linked to Brunel's travels. Notes for teachers include colour-coded storyboards with plenty of activities and suggestions for further work. This pack is full of useful resources, including colourful laminated cards and a teddy bear.

Ocean Cup Challenge invites KS2 pupils to act as a land-based support crew to an ocean-going yacht. An engineer's desk, the nerve centre of all the activities, is created in the classroom. The pack includes challenge cards, certificates, activity sheets, a kit for a model land yacht and a map. The materials will give pupils a good insight into the role of the engineer and how they solve problems.

The project takes around two weeks and may present timetabling challenges for some schools. However, it could also provide a fresh approach to teaching literacy, numeracy and science with the potential for some exciting work with ICT. Pupils will gain much from working on a cross-curricular project that provides plenty of opportunities for independent, group or whole-class work.

For older pupils Flight Data Recorder has links to GCSE design and technology and science courses. The seven units include projects related to wind tunnel tests, pilotless aeroplanes and fast events. The photocopiable sheets provide a good range of activities for pupils which can be used to develop their active reading and project management skills.

Bob Welch is senior adviser (curriculum and assessment) for Bracknell Forest

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