Engineering sounds like an intimidating thing to start getting interested in, but really all it means is taking an interest in how things work. These activities are fun for all children, but are particularly useful for girls.
A lack of women in the industry matters for so many reasons. Engineering is among higher paid jobs, and women missing out on these big salaries contributes to the gender pay gap.
A lack of women’s influence on product creation and testing can even be deadly. Research has shown that male engineers do not account for women’s breasts in stab vests work by police, making them so uncomfortable that many women officers can’t wear them. Testing on car airbags has historically been carried out on crash test dummies that are have the proportions of men. They have since been deemed significantly less effective on women’s bodies – women are 50% more likely to be seriously injured if they are in an accident.
So, we’ve created activities that are designed to spark an interest in exploring how things work in a fun way. Building this confidence from a young age will help girls know that they have in equal role to play in making things work.
Be creative – Robot Hands
Have you ever wanted to have a go at robotics? You can start off by creating a movable hand and thinking about the way things have to work together to replicate a lifelike movement. Instructions here.
Have fun – paper rockets
Ever heard the expression “it’s not rocket science?” Well this time it is! Explore the forces that act on rockets by designing and launching your own paper rockets. Download the worksheet here.
Skills for life – the egg drop challenge
This activity challenges you to drop an egg – without breaking it! Great fun, plus using problem solving and creative thinking skills. Instructions here.
Happy to be me – women inventors
The thing about women in engineering is that they know the inventions that benefit women! Meet the women who used engineering to invent some very well known items that we appreciate still today.
Have fun – marshmallow spaghetti tower
This activity is fun, delicious, a little bit silly and a feat of engineering! Instructions here.
Have fun – media recommendations
Has engineering week peaked your child’s interest? Here are some other places where you can follow up and learn more.
www.engineergirl.org – this American website has some cool engineering activities, including fun quizzes. It also has experiments to try at home – all on the ‘try this’ sections.
Goldieblox: Adventures in coding
Engineering and tech are so closely linked and will only become more so. Children help Goldieblox deliver cupcakes all over Bloxtown by coding the path of her rocket skateboard. The game features 20 levels of fun coding puzzles, as well as mini-games. Goldieblox has also gone on to become the star of her own series of books!
World of Goo
Players are challenged to think of creative solutions to simple (and not so simple) problems by constructing bridges, ladders, towers, and other structures in order to solve puzzles. Bouncy, stretchy, googly-eyed goo balls are the construction materials and main characters.
Alice Jones: The Ghost Light
Old refurbished theatre, the Beryl, is re-opening. Days before opening night, the ghost light – left on at night to appease the ghosts of actors – is extinguished. Alice digs into the Beryl’s past, sleuthing in a network of dark backstage corridors and cobwebby storage rooms. Gradually, she starts to uncover the hundred-year-old secret of the theatre: a stolen diamond. Is the Beryl haunted by a ghost – or a living thief?
Fantastically Great Women Who Made History
This non-fiction title looks at the stories, accomplishments and adventures of many more brilliant women from throughout history.
Ada Twist & The Perilous Pants
Ada Twist is full of questions. A scientist to her very core, Ada asks why again and again. One question always leads to another until she’s off on a journey of discovery!
The GCHQ Puzzle Book
The GCHQ team’s puzzle book – full of both harder and easier brain teasers – is the perfect companion for anyone who loves a challenge. Suitable for age 12 and above.
Join high school girls around the world as they try to better their community through tech and collaboration, taking on an app industry where 80% of developers in 2017 were male.
A true story, previously untold about three women at NASA who were instrumental in one of history’s greatest operations – the launch of an astronaut into orbit.
Finished all of engineering week? Check out our other fun GFS activities.