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Inspiring the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers

WMG’s Outreach team has completed another successful series of Royal Institution Masterclasses for school children across Coventry.

The classes aim to open the eyes of young people to the excitement of engineering, and in turn, inspire the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

Local schools were invited to nominate two year nine students to take part, with a total of 24 students participating in the sessions overall.

The Masterclasses were held on Saturday mornings in the form of interactive workshop sessions focusing on a different aspect of engineering. The Series was delivered by staff and students from WMG, with several of this year’s classes led by researchers working on key WMG HVM Catapult projects.

Software and controlProfessor Margaret Low, Director of Outreach and Widening Participation at WMG explained: “Sadly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the final masterclass focusing on software and control could not be held as an interactive session on campus.

“Instead myself and Helen Luckhurst, Project Officer at WMG HVM Catapult, held the final session virtually across two evenings.”

Professor Low added: “The virtual classes were a complete first for the Outreach team, a strange but still successful end to theVirtual designs Masterclasses. We presented a series of video tutorials and the students then used their programming and pattern skills to create an embroidered pattern design for a coaster. There were some really great designs.”

Find out more about the 2020 RI Masterclasses here.

Thu 30 Apr 2020, 14:52 | Tags: HVM Catapult STEM Outreach

Teach your kids STEM at home – tips from real engineers

STEM at homeNow that schools across the UK are closed due to Covid-19, the challenge is on for parents to keep their children educated. Or failing that – just keep them occupied.

The outreach team from WMG, University of Warwick, want to encourage children and their parents and carers to use this time to explore some of the fun, creative STEM learning opportunities which are available online. With support from WMG centre HVM Catapult, the outreach team at WMG has produced a number of online activities for children of all ages to get involved and learn something new.

Professor Margaret Low, Director of Outreach and Widening Participation for WMG, explains:
"With schools closing it’s a real opportunity to engage parents and carers with online teaching resources, to ensure children are getting an education at home during these uncertain times.”

“We hope these resources, which are suitable for young people of all ages, will inspire children to take up careers in STEM. Many children may think of engineering as physically making things, but don't realise the maths or computer design skills required, which could open up a great career for them in the future.”

Turtle Stitch at HomeThe first resource suggested by WMG outreach team is Turtlestitch, which is great for children in school years 5 to 9. Turtlestitch is a free website on which users can write a program to control a digital embroidery machine. It is used by WMG for outreach activities, as a means of raising awareness of the breadth of engineering. Young people really enjoy using Turtlestitch for pattern design, with or without access to a digital embroidery machine, which makes it ideal for learning at home while schools are closed.

Helen Luckhurst, a Project Officer at WMG, University of Warwick comments: “Turtlestitch is great for children learning at home because it gives them a fun context for applying maths skills. It is interactive and engaging as children discover the patterns they can make using maths.”

“We have created a number of resource cards and video tutorials to support its use, so I hope that parents and carers will encourage their children to use this as a different way of learning.”

Find WMG video tutorials, how-to cards and maths tasks to guide users through Turtlestitch here. Explore the learning materials on basic programming skills, year 5 and 6 maths, craft projects and further mathematical investigations.

Another fun activity for both primary and secondary school children is Tinkercad, a colourful, easy to use computer-aided design software, which is free to use in the web browser and suitable for children from around 8 years of age. Teachers, kids, hobbyists, and designers use it to imagine, design, and make anything. It is used by WMG outreach as part of the Warwick Bright Stars programme in primary schools. Parents can find video tutorials and ideas for several projects here, including keyrings, money pots and lolly drip trays.

Diane Burton, a Project Officer at WMG, University of Warwick explains: "These Tinkercad projects engage children in the design process, and get them using measurements and maths as an essential part of their design work.”

TinkercadAutodesk Fusion 360 is a powerful, professional CAD package. It is used in secondary schools and is suitable for ages 14+, and a free download is available to students, educators and enthusiasts. WMG video and written tutorials are available here, where you will find projects including design of assistive technology.

Parents may also want to do some experiments at home with their children, which are fun and educational for any age.

WMG staff have made videos available of demonstrating experiments to do at home, using household items and toys you might already have. It is advisable that children are supervised during these experiments.

Watch Graduate Trainee Engineers Lauren, Jacob, Josh and Lucas demonstrating STEM experiments, and follow a guide to building a pulley from a toy construction set. There are many more experiments to come, telling the engineering story behind household objects.

Dr Phil Jemmett, a Project Officer at WMG, University of Warwick comments: “Every product in your house has been made by engineers and shaped by scientists. We want to tell the story behind those items and show you experiments that you can do with everyday stuff. Now that we are all staying in our homes, we just have to find a way to do STEM with what we’ve got!”

Parental supervision is advised when accessing external websites.

 

Wed 01 Apr 2020, 12:07 | Tags: HVM Catapult STEM Public engagement Outreach

WMG pledges support to STEM for Britain

WMG was delighted to support STEM for Britain 2020 earlier this week for the fourth consecutive year.

STEM for Britain is a poster competition with five categories including Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematical Sciences and Physics. It took place at the Houses of Parliament bringing together early career researchers and MPs from across the UK.

This prestigious annual event is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak directly to some of the UK’s brightest young researchers.

Professor David Mullins, WMG Head of Department (interim) said: “This is the only event in the year that brings together really creative, really intelligent and passionate, young PhD and early career research students.

“We are delighted and honoured that WMG was able to sponsor the engineering element along with the Royal Academy of Engineering.”

He added: “For MPs it’s a really inspiring event. They get the chance to see the work coming out and how issues including climate change and healthy aging are being addressed. These young people are our future.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP and Chairman - Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said: “These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

Greg Clark MP, Chair of Science and Technology Select Committee, explained: “It is a growing field that will have a huge impact on millions of people. STEM research will change the lives of our generation and of generations to come.”

Four University of Warwick students Jake Brooks (School of Engineering), Fabienne Bachtiger (Computational Chemistry), Robert Richardson (School of Chemistry) and Jonathan Harrison (Mathematics Institute) presented posters at the event.

Fri 13 Mar 2020, 15:21 | Tags: STEM Education Research

Introducing CAD to Coventry children

The WMG Outreach team, funded by the lmagineering Foundation, has delivered a special CAD and 3D printing programme to more than 200, ten and 11 year olds across Coventry and Warwickshire.

Four University of Warwick undergraduate engineering students delivered the programme, throughout 2019, in a series of workshops designed to raise awareness and knowledge of CAD and 3D printing.

Workshop oneWorkshop 1: Introduction to the programme and learning about 3D printing

In the first session the team explained the role of engineers in the design process. The children were also shown how 3D printers are used to create prototypes.

Ice lollies!

In small groups the children were tasked with designing, (using CAD), and creating, (using 3D printing), an ice-lolly drip tray. During the design process the Outreach Team explained the importance of taking accurate measurements to ensure that the designs would actually work.

The challenge

Using a hairdryer (to create the feel of a warm summer’s day!) the children were presented with the problem of dripping lollies! The challenge to design a suitable drip tray was then set.

The children used life-sized 3D printed ice lollies on sticks to take key measurements needed for their drip tray designs. The pupils discussed and sketched design ideas including adding key measurements. These measurement and design sheets were then used in the next two workshops to help develop their CAD designs.

Workshop 2: Using Tinkercad to draw lolly drip tray designs in CADWorkshop 2

A video tutorial was used to show the children how to use Tinkercad. Building on their design work from Workshop One, the children began producing CAD drawings for the drip trays.

Workshop 3: Using scaled digital lolly model to assess and improve designs

Pupils put the finishing touches to their designs and used the scaled digital lolly models to visualise and assess their designs, considering any design modifications that were needed to ensure the drip tray was effective. The children were encouraged to continue this process until they were confident the design would work.

Tinkercad designs

Towards the end of the workshop, the class shared their finished designs. The class then voted for their favourite two, these were then 3D printed and returned to the school as a momentum.Tinkercad designs 2

Diane Burton, Project Officer STEM Outreach explained: “The school pupils had fun learning key design principles, and they have successfully produced products that are both functional and creative.”

You can find out more about all of WMG’s Outreach activities here.

Thu 13 Feb 2020, 10:23 | Tags: HVM Catapult STEM Education Outreach

WMG helps Senior Teaching Fellow break cycling world record

Piotr Klin - Senior Teaching Fellow, WMG

In a bid to fulfil a two-year ambition, Senior Teaching Fellow Piotr Klin teamed up with WMG to prepare the race package for his UCI World Masters Hour record attempt on July 21st.

Scooping the cycling accolade at his native Polish velodrome of Arena Pruszkow, Piotr’s distance of 49.649km beat the previous record for the 30-34 age group of 48.234km set by Britain’s Ryan Davies.

The World Masters Hour concept requires racers to ride around a velodrome and cover the furthest distance within 60 minutes. Having narrowly missed out on breaking the Polish hour record in August last year, Piotr collaborated with WMG at the University of Warwick to make technical advancements to his bike, utilising the state-of-the-art facilities at WMG.

Piotr reviewed the 3D printed parts within his bike to minimise the drag on the track, and commenting on his successes, the Coventry resident originally from Lublin in Poland said:

“This is a great achievement for me, and it feels extra special to do this in my home country. The extra time that I have spent training in the velodrome has paid off. WMG manufactured parts were custom made to best fit my body, using 3D scanning and printing techniques to deliver a custom cockpit fit, providing comfort during the longest hour in cycling.

“By leveraging the world-leading expertise and facilities through my collaboration with WMG, I’ve been able to bring the best race package I’ve had to-date and deliver this world record performance.

“I’m excited for new challenges following this milestone and look forward to collaborating with WMG further to post even faster times.”

By breaking the world record, Piotr added a further feather to his cap, which already includes a well decorated repertoire of accolades, including merits for being a three-time Polish Masters National Time Trial champion and his crown of Amateur Sportsman of the Year from the 2018 Coventry and Warwickshire Sports Awards.

Building on his successes, Piotr now hopes to go one better than his second place in 2017 at the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships Time Trial in Poznan in August.


WMG supports Kenilworth school children in national STEM competition

The FirecrackersStaff from WMG have been supporting the Firecrackers, a team of five Year 4 children from Crackley Hall School in Kenilworth, at the Jaguar Primary School Challenge.

The Jaguar Primary School Challenge is a STEM competition, with the aim being to inspire children to consider engineering as a career.

Professor Alan Chalmers, Dr Ali Asadipour and Maria Vasquez Caropres supported the Firecrackers throughout the project to research, design, manufacture, test, promote and race the fastest car possible using standard chassis and engine housing nets to create a car body made only from card.

The team’s achievements were first put to the test at the Regional Finals at Princethorpe College in May. The standard was incredibly high, with the Firecrackers taking second place overall and qualifying for the National Finals. The team also won the awards for Best Engineered Car, Best Portfolio and Best Pit Display.

The WMG team then set about helping the Firecrackers to prepare and modify their car for the National Finals which was held in June at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon.

Each car was judged by a panel of experts from Jaguar Land Rover with the design, portfolio and pit display all examined in detail. The children were also required to give a presentation, before the car was plugged into a compressed air canister and raced down a special track.

Although not the fastest on the day, the judges were highly impressed by the final design, and the clear and articulate manner in which the children were able to present their design decisions. The Firecrackers were delighted to be awarded the “Best Engineered Car” title ahead of 38 other teams from across the country. Best Engineered Car

Professor Alan Chalmers said: “The collaboration has been rewarding for all involved. The children have on many occasions expressed their enthusiasm for engineering. We’re looking forward to supporting next year’s team, and perhaps even winning the title of Fastest Car!”

Find out more about the Jaguar Primary School Challenge here.

Thu 11 Jul 2019, 12:32 | Tags: STEM Public engagement

WMG researcher takes research to Parliament

Sid-Ali AmamraWMG Research Fellow, Sid-Ali Amamra, has been selected to present his work at the prestigious STEM for BRITAIN event on Wednesday 13th March.

The event takes place at Westminster with around 100 MPs in attendance to hear more about the current science, engineering and mathematics research by early-stage and early-career researchers in the UK.

Sid-Ali works within WMG’s Intelligent Vehicles research team focusing on the advanced energy management systems for electrical networks and power systems integrating plug-in electric vehicle with Li-ion battery technologies.

Sid-Ali’s poster on research about the Vehicle-To-Grid (V2G) technology supervision using internet of things (IoT) will be judged against dozens of other scientists’ research in the only national competition of its kind. He was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament.

Sid-Ali explains: “I feel happy to present WMG at this event. It is a fantastic opportunity for me to communicate my research to an interesting audience and to present the high impact of my project for helping government to reach the net-zero emissions UK’s target in near future.

“It gives me a chance to go to Parliament and be in the company of MPs, policymakers and key figures, as well as others researchers from around the country. At STEM for BRITAIN, I want to explain the promising results of using V2G technology to help achieve the UK’s zero emission target.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said:

“This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.

“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

Sid-Ali’s research has been entered into the engineering session of the competition, which will end in a gold, silver and bronze prize-giving ceremony.

Judged by leading academics, the gold medalist receives £2,000, while silver and bronze receive £1,250 and £750 respectively.

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee runs the event in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, with financial support from the Clay Mathematics Institute, United Kingdom Research and Innovation, WMG, Society of Chemical Industry, the Nutrition Society, Institute of Biomedical Science, the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research and the Comino Foundation.

WMG is proud to be sponsoring the Engineering section for the third year.

Find out more about STEM for Britain here.


Budding young engineers pick up four awards

RC School On 11 July, our Dr Antony Allen and students from Richard Crosse Primary School in Staffordshire went to Rockingham Speedway to compete in the Greenpower Formula Goblin event. We first met the children from class five back in January when they won a competition ran by the Advanced Propulsion Centre to become one of eight schools presented with a Greenpower Goblin kit car. Each winning school was then partnered with an APC Spoke, in this case WMG as the Energy Spoke, who provide financial support and mentoring throughout the electric vehicle build along with driver training ahead of race day.

On race day the team competed in six Slaloms, six Sprints and one Grandprix event. They picked up a fantastic four awards: IET Formula Goblin Participation Award; Rockingham Goblins 2018 Slalom: 3rd place; Rockingham Goblins 2018 Best Presented Team; and Rockingham Goblins 2018 Spirit of Greenpower Award.

The Spirit of Greenpower was awarded in recognition of the way the school have embraced the Greenpower project this year, involving the whole school in the carRACING 2 bodywork design, entering individual and group portfolios of their work, their weekly video-diaries on YouTube, their twitter account, and articles in the village magazine and local district newspaper.

Maria Farrington, a parent of one of the students said ‘I just wish to express my thanks to Dr Allen and the School, for supporting the Rockingham Raceway Project. It was a pleasure to accompany the children today and feel that they also should be congratulated on their behaviour away from school. It was a thoroughly enjoyable outing and an experience the children will remember for a long while’.

Check out the video on their YouTube channel.

Tue 17 Jul 2018, 09:53 | Tags: STEM Partnerships Public engagement

Budding young engineers visit WMG

Yesterday we, along with our colleagues from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) welcomed a group of 9 to 11 year olds from Richard Crosse Primary School in Staffordshire.

Richard CrosseThe students enjoyed a tour of the APC showcase and our engineering hall where they were introduced to the Warwick Racing student team and shown our state-of-the-art 3xD Simulator. They also took part in a number of activities throughout the day, including a steering wheel CAD design session and paper rocket making and launching.

We first met the children, from class five, back in January when they won a competition run by the APC to become one of eightRichard Crosse visit schools presented with a Greenpower Goblin kit car. Each winning school was then partnered with an APC Spoke, in this case WMG as the APC Energy Spoke, who provide financial support and mentoring throughout the electric vehicle build along with driver training ahead of the race.

Construction of their go-kart kit car is now almost complete. The next stage of the project is for the children to race against other teams at Rockingham Speedway in July. We’ll keep you updated on how their race day goes.

Formula Goblin has been set up with help from the Greenpower Education Trust to address the skills gap that is growing in the UK automotive industry by engaging students in engineering at a young age. It is designed to engage students with maths, science and design technology in a fun way, promoting equality regardless of economic background and gender.

The initiative is supported by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, the APC and the APC Spoke Community, made up of six of the UK’s leading universities each focussing on R&D of key technology areas in the automotive industry.

Notes to editors:

The APC is a £1 billion, 10-year programme to position the UK as a global centre of excellence for low carbon powertrain development and production.

The APC Spokes form a national network to support industry with specialist academic, technological and commercial expertise. The Spokes are designed to provide access to the best expertise and facilities the UK has to offer in key strategic technologies for the automotive industry.

Each of the Spokes is hosted by an organisation with recognised expertise in those key technologies, but the fundamental role of the Spoke is to coordinate a community of common interest. WMG at the University of Warwick is the Electrical Energy Storage Spoke.

The full list of school/Spoke partnerships are:

Advanced Propulsion Centre – Stoke Primary School

  • DETC (Loughborough London University) – Curwen Primary School
  • Loughborough University – Fairfield Primary Academy
  • Newcastle University – Bournmoor Primary School
  • Newcastle University – Kings Priory School
  • Newcastle University – Northburn Primary School
  • Nottingham University – Abbey Road Primary School
  • WMG – The Richard Crosse C of E Primary School
Fri 15 Jun 2018, 11:08 | Tags: STEM Partnerships Public engagement

Young engineers build own electric kit car with WMG

Young engineers build own electric kit carWMG at the University of Warwick will be lending a hand to budding young engineers from The Richard Crosse C of E Primary School in Kings Bromley, Staffordshire, in their quest to build and race their very own electric kit car.

Class five at Richard Crosse won a competition run by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to become one of eight schools presented with a Greenpower Goblin kit car.

Each winning school is partnered with an APC Spoke - in this case WMG, who will offer guidance and support to the students.

The children, aged 9-11, have been given an electric kit car to design, build and race - guided by their teachers and WMG mentors. Once complete, the children will compete against each other in a regional Greenpower IET Formula Goblin race in summer 2018.

Formula Goblin has been set up with help from the Greenpower Education Trust to address the skills gap that is growing in the UK automotive industry by engaging students in engineering at a young age. It is designed to engage students with maths, science and design technology in a fun way, promoting equality regardless of economic background and gender.

Thu 11 Jan 2018, 13:54 | Tags: STEM Education Partnerships Public engagement

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