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Even if speaking about constructions and engineering is something quite far from regular curriculum for many countries, and some teachers are not very familiar with the topics, some nice discussions came out from the CoP. Suggestions and resources shared by teachers who usually work with constructions and engineering can be used as starting points for those who would like to introduce these themes inside their schools!

During six weeks we also had some inspirations from our experts, who acted as role models, explaining their jobs and giving suggestions.


Construction in schools

Here teachers discussed whether construction was taught in schools. In primary schools the basics are taught, usually in arts&craft type of lessons and very hands-on. The aim for these lessons is to also get pupils familiar with basic tools such as hammer, saw and screws.  Energy-saving in constructions is taught as well; How to save energy and especially water in households. Even if there weren´t construction in syllabus however within the Maths programme there is  emphasis on 2-D and 3-D shapes not just from the theoretical  but also from the hand and eye aspect in some countries.

In secondary schools construction is taught in many European countries, especially to  teach about geometric shapes.

Software such as:



3D Vinci -




3D Tin

Solid Edge

are used.

There are also some nice apps for iPads, good in developing costructions at different ages, such as:

123Design, 123Make, 123Sculpt and 123Catch

Sometimes, in the high schools, are used some professional softwares, like:

Solid Edge  employed to create models to participate in competitions, like “F1 in schools”

Engineering in schools

In this thread we discussed whether engineering is taught in schools. From the answers we received it seems that engineering is more present in schools than construction, usually as part of extra-curricular activities, but sometimes also as part of normal curricula, especially in technological high schools.

The easiest way to introduce engineering inside schools is working with educational robotics, with Lego Mindstorms, Lego WeDo and Scratch. The work with robots is a mix of programming and engineering. Robots cannot complete their tasks if the engineers don't work properly and many times students must re-build their robots! Furthermore, working with Lego bricks can develop spacial attitudes and abstract thinking. Using robotics inside lessons, instead of using it for clubs or competitions, let students perseverate on finding solutions to problems. Errors are not something to be ashamed of, but they are a starting point to do better! Also girls find special benefits through the work with robotics, because they apply in STEM subjects without the fear of mistakes. Scratch could be a good starting point to make students think of the best ways to solve problems from early stages. Programming is the connection between logic and creativity, as Mitch Resnick (the father of Scratch) says.

Scratch programming and robotics, furthermore, are good ways not only to work with engineering, but they also help students to make a really complicated thing in engineering: design. It's esay to follow the manual and to copy work, but in robotics there comes one moment when they have to invent and design, and that's really fantastic.

One example of robotics inside regular curriculum comes from Luis Miguel, who shared one video of the activities done by his students.

Some teachers said that is very important to show students that maths is related to engineering. This is why it would be very useful to introduce engineering inside regular curricula, starting from the primary and low secondary school classes. This way students become more confident in problem solving. The use of engineering inside curriculum, furthermore, helps students to understand how they can manage mistakes (let’s think to debug...), that is one of the basic competences they need in order to work with STEM subjects!



Careers in construction

In this discussion our expert Santtu was explaining his career as a construction engineer and how his typical day looks like. We also discussed about apprenticeship training and compared schoolsystems in the field of vocational studies. As Santtu mentioned about good social skills we also discussed how important is to teach pupils to cope with each other.

Careers in engineering

In this thread Peter Wong and Santtu Hokkanen explained some differences about different kinds of careers in engineering and about the studies required in order to start those careers.

Some teachers objected that careers in engineering seem too far away from our students, because they are too young. For this reason teachers more often talk about the relevance of STEM to everyday life, mentioning the relevant careers that students might choose. As example of good resources to incourage students to consider careers in STEM industry, one teacher mentioned Spark 101 , a teaching resource designed to bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world applications.



Sustainability in construction

We agreed that sustainability education is most important. Almost every subject in the curriculum can be associated with sustanibility issues. One teacher said that sustainability can be learned through a number of contexts:

* What is Social Justice

* Understanding of future processes

* Connection to nature with advanced technology

* Find a solution to conflicts in creative ways

Sustainable education starts during early ages and it can be fitted in every lesson and every subject. In this discussion one can find many great examples of how sustainability is being taught with different age groups.

For example by Tullia:

"I arrive in the class with as many glasses full of water, as many students I have. I prepare them in advance, pouring a little spoon full of salt in all glasses, less the 3% of glasses, corresponding to the drinkable percentage of water on the Earth.

In my class of 26 students, for example, only one glass will be without salt... (3:100=x:26)

You cannot imagine the students reaction, that experienced the salt...

Than I can start speaking about the necessity of saving water."

Schools should prepare students to consider problems of global citizenships, using civic lessons and projects based learning.

It's important to begin activities and ideas that are close to them, things that they can do, people they can meet, solutions they can think of and apply. The "think global, act local" is important in this case, but many times it is much more effective to begin with local than with global.

Sustainability in engineering

It is very important to let students know the importance of substainable engineering and correct behaviors. Anyway, it is quite difficult if you work with young students, unless you don't give them examples and real situations as case-studies.

Some good examples comes from some suggestions given by teachers:

The website of EcoYouth Lifestyle Project

The video about Solar bottle lights in the Philippines

One of the best ways to encourage students to pursue careers in engineering, is to teach them to reflect on all the aspects of the technological/scientific problem, enviromental impact, assessment included!



Safety on constructions and materials

Here we discussed about health issues that can occur in constructions when not constructed properly. Mold and breathing air problems were discussed in safety in materials category and here we discussed about earthquakes and how to build constructions to cope with them and how to explain the structures to pupils. Also Radon gas was mentioned as it can cause a lot of problems in some spesific areas, if not taken care of while constructing the building.

We also spoke about Health and safety during the lesson:

- What are your national regulations for educational work?

- Experiments during the lessons, a risky business!!

- Who is protecting teachers also legally in case of accidents?

- What can be done to prevent accidents?

Teachers must have valid certificate in First-Aid and fire prevention (repeat it after few years)

Schools must be equipped with fire-alarm.

There are many legal issues when you use chemical substances or biological parts and the school is not equipped. Furthermore, in some countries laboratory lessons can only be handled by staff that have special education and first aid training.

Most public primary and middle schools don't have special rooms, nor equipment. It is for this reason that teachers prefer to work with simple materials or, when it is not possible, use virtual laboratories or interactive whiteboards, presenting videos, simulations, virtual softwares...