On March 21st, we invited teachers from our Tinker, Tailor, Robot Pi group to visit Rode Heath to see how we are embracing Engineering Habits of Mind in our school.
Each class enthusiastically shared an aspect of their engineering practice. The activities were wide and varied:
- Reception – everything, from investigating pulleys by trying to get food into a giant blow-up dinosaurs mouth to diverting the path of water using bamboo. Everyone’s such a natural engineer in this class.
- Year 1 – designing and making backscratchers.
- Year 2 – incorporating engineering into Literacy (The Dragon Machine) by making a boat for George to travel across the raging river.
- Year 3 – testing structures with a jelly wobbler powered by Crumbles.
- Year 4 – incorporating engineering into Science by creating Northern Light effects using squishy circuits.
- Year 5 – incorporating engineering into History & Literacy with their bridge building activity.
- Year 6 – thinking outside the box with their box creating project.
In Year 5 at the moment we are lucky to have Natalie Bowers, who is working as an Associate Teacher with Rode Heath. She was tasked with linking EHoM with their Viking topic, so she chose to focus on the mythical Viking bridge Bifröst, as referenced in Tony Bradman’s Viking Boy.
Here is a copy of the PowerPoint she produced for her lesson.
What is of particular interest are her views on how children are responding to our Think Like An Engineer project and whether she feels that this way of working is something that she may adopt in her own teaching.
Here is what she has to say:
Recently, I have been fortunate enough to deliver my first ever Engineering lesson, which provided the perfect opportunity to delve further into the notion of Engineering Habits of Mind (EHoM).
During a reflective mini-plenary, I questioned pupils about the concept and what it meant to them and was blown away by the depth of knowledge and self-awareness that they conveyed.
“We use EHoM every day!” they exclaimed.
“How?” I asked. To which they answered with a succinct definition of the approach. They also revealed a clear understanding of how EHoM positively impacts on their learning throughout the curriculum, identifying the use problem solving skills to recognise and rectify their errors; visualisation to focus on their desired goals and systems thinking to approach challenges logically. Intrigued, I investigated further.
“Surely you can’t use EHoM in other subjects like PE, can you?” an enquiry which was immediately met with a definitive “YES!”, “we visualise our goals and try new techniques to improve.” Throughout the subsequent lesson children demonstrated their proficiency in applying each of these habits of mind, confirming just how successful an approach it is.
In my short time at Rode Heath, I have become gripped by this ideology and now strive to embed it within my own personal pedagogy. I am both thankful and excited to be working in such a forward-thinking school, with such an innovative and unique ethos.
It is really encouraging that a student coming into our school can see the impact that our project is having on the children, and, more importantly, want to share it with others.
For more information on Engineering Habits of Mind you should read the latest report by the Royal Academy of Engineering: http://www.raeng.org.uk/publications/reports/learning-to-be-an-engineer