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Children as engineers: A toolkit for multidisciplinary STEM education

Lewis, Fay; Edmonds, Juliet; Fogg-Rogers, Laura


Fay Lewis

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Juliet Edmonds
Senior Lecturer in Primary Science Education

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Dr Laura Fogg Rogers
Associate Professor of Knowledge Exchange in Engineering


Many UK primary school teachers lack confidence in their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subject knowledge and ability to teach STEM subjects. Outreach can enhance learning and engagement within these subjects but provision is often ad hoc. This study united researchers in science communication and education to design a multidisciplinary toolkit to this address these issues.
Training was provided introducing undergraduate pre-service teachers to engineering, and undergraduate engineering students to effective working with children – learning theories, understanding learning, safeguarding, etc. The students were then paired together to work in a knowledge exchange programme, resulting in them jointly delivering engineering challenges at primary schools. Pre- and post-longitudinal multi-method evaluative research was employed to measure changes in attitudes, alongside qualitatively exploring possible reasons for change.
Participation helped the pre-service teachers develop more positive views of STEM teaching. Increases in engineering subject knowledge confidence (SKC) and teaching self-efficacy (TSE) to high significance were observed. Interestingly, participation also appeared to also bring about highly significant increases in science SKC and TSE, despite varied previous experiences of teaching science. The engineer participants reported increases in how well equipped they felt to participate in public outreach, and the likelihood of future public engagement. The paired peer model was described as the most influential aspect contributing to these changes.
A toolkit of materials, resources and models of working has been developed and embedded into undergraduate provision in both education and engineering degrees as a result of this work. This toolkit is now ready to be disseminated to other higher education providers.


Lewis, F., Edmonds, J., & Fogg-Rogers, L. (2018, December). Children as engineers: A toolkit for multidisciplinary STEM education. Presented at OfS: Experimaental and Innovation teaching and Learning Dissemination, London, England

Presentation Conference Type Lecture
Conference Name OfS: Experimaental and Innovation teaching and Learning Dissemination
Conference Location London, England
Start Date Dec 10, 2018
End Date Dec 10, 2018
Acceptance Date Nov 1, 2018
Publication Date Nov 10, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jun 7, 2019
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords STEM, multidisciplinary learning, primary teaching and learning, engineering public engagement
Public URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : OfS: Experimaental and Innovation teaching and Learning Dissemination