CQU's Young Engineers Workshop inspires children in STEM

07 July 2021

After huge success in Rockhampton in April and Mackay last month' CQUniversity Gladstone Marina recently hosted a three-day Young Engineers Club workshop.

These workshops are designed to ignite a student's passion for science' technology' engineering' and mathematics (STEM) with the use of LEGO®.

This cutting-edge program installs engineering skills' which are useful to school students whether they want to become a lawyer' accountant' or a businessperson.

60 school aged children attended the Gladstone event at STEM Central from 15 different public' independent and catholic schools' as well as some home-schooled children.

Event organiser Pavle Jeric' who is the Deputy Director of Online Systems and Future Proofing at CQUniversity' said the program was popular with all ages and it was attended by children enrolled in Year 1 through to Year 9.

"The workshop activities are adjusted to suit the age of the children attending'"

he explained.

"They are young children learning basic concepts and simple motorisation. Children in Year 3 to Year 5 also learn how to program their models to perform functions' while children in Year 6 and above use and program a range of sensors to complement their models."

Mr Jeric has involved University students to deliver these workshops' with the supervision of experienced instructors.

"Our instructors are experienced educators and/or university students in Education' Science' or Engineering' and this is a great way for them to engage with community."

Mr Jeric said.

"They receive upfront training on building' motorising' and programming LEGO®models' and training on how to use inquiry-based and problem-based learning methodologies to run sessions with young students.

"This provides an opportunity for instructors to engage with the local community by helping coordinate activities for young children that have previously only been available in large metropolitan areas' contributing to reducing the divide between metros and regions."

In addition to the relevant work experience' these workshops also provide Young Engineers' instructors an opportunity to develop' finetune and put their skills to the test.

"They need to think fast and troubleshoot problems with their students' and they get to use their creativity as they advise students on how to design enhancements for their models'"

Mr Jeric explained.

"At Young Engineers CQ' we are very fortunate to have a good mix of male and female instructors' which goes a long way to convey the message for young girls that they could pursue their STEM career interests."

For those instructors who are aspiring educators' they get to experience STEM from a very different perspective and appreciate that scientific literacy is an essential skill that can be promoted in fun and exciting ways.

Young Engineers instructors may not all be pursuing a long-term career in education' but the skills and confidence developed are transferable to many other situations.


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