What Emma Ryan did with her prize money

Emma was voted the winner of the Ampere Zone in March 2017. Here she writes about using the £500 prize money to run materials workshops in schools, involving Lego!

If you’re an engineer who’d like funding to support your own STEM outreach activities, apply now for I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here at imanengineer.org.uk/engineers


The prize money has allowed me to develop a Materials Workshop for local schools in the area. The workshop is now part of the outreach activities at Lockheed Martin UK and the outreach team will continue to use it. I hope that we can help more students realise that scientists and engineers are normal people.

I bought all the Lego with the prize money from I’m an Engineer! Well, that and a few other things. Here is me posing with some of the resources for the Materials Workshop I developed for local schools in the area. The workshop consists of three sections: learning about materials and carrying out materials testing, the Egg Challenge and learning about additive manufacturing and using a 3D printer.

Students learn about different material properties through a presentation and test the properties of different materials, such as hardness, strength and magnetism. For the Egg Challenge, students have to work in teams to create a structure to protect an egg being dropped from a second story window. They have to work to a budget, buy supplies from a shop and quality check them, and create a poster to explain their design.

The purpose is to learn important skills that engineers used such as communication and problem solving. The students also have to make additive manufacturing Top Trumps cards with information that they have found through research, asking questions and using the 3D printer and Lego to mimic a 3D printer. I was hoping to get the Top Trumps card produced into a pack for each class but I, as I think most people are, was a little too ambitious with the prize money!

My colleagues from my sponsor company, Lockheed Martin UK, and I have been to four schools so far to give the workshop. The feedback has been fantastic – from both students and teachers. I received 30 lovely letters from a Year 6 class following a workshop. Apparently, we managed to teach them that scientists are normal people too!

One teacher thanked us for “devoting your time, enthusiasm and hard work to make our Materials STEM day such a fantastic experience for both the children and staff. The children learnt a great deal and many of them have already begun carrying out their own further research into materials in order to find out more!”

Lockheed Martin UK have been very supportive too as the company is a big advocate of outreach and has kindly supported me by matching my funds to purchase the 3D printer below to take into schools.

Posted on August 8, 2018 by modjen in RAEngWinner, Winner Reports. Leave a comment

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