The teaching and learning resources below have been developed in partnership with school teachers and engineers. They are primarily for use with Key Stage 3 students and provide ideas for enriching class-based learning or STEM club activities. An important aim of each resource is to enable teachers to engage their students with STEM through hands-on activity and stimulating engineering contexts.

Many of the activities detailed in the resources take less than an hour, and can be used to create lessons or STEM enrichment.

Engineering enables

The right switch

Moving house

The whole package 

Smart muscle

Creating captivating cornflour

Keeping it cool 

Perfect pylons 

In control

Milking it

Making music

Take off

Smart skin

How to make your own hovercraft 

Making waves

Lights

Euler's characteristic

Engineering enables

The development of running blades has greatly enhanced the running ability of amputees and people born without legs.  Learn more about how the inventor of running blades applied the scientific concept of potential elastic energy and biomimicry to design a high performance prosthetic leg.

Engineering enables (2.84 MB)

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The right switch 

Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTC) is a material that behaves like an insulator, but can be made to behave like an electrical conductor when compressed or stretched.  This resource provides an idea for a class-based or a STEM club activity using QTC.

The right switch (2.51 MB)

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Moving house 

Reinforcing the materials used to construct buildings is a way of reducing the chances of damage and collapse during an earthquake.  This resource provides fun, hands-on ideas to help students learn about making buildings earthquake-proof.  A profile of a structural engineer is included in this resource.

Moving house (2.48 MB)

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The whole package 

Thermochromic pigments become transparent at a specific temperature and can be mixed with paint to create an amazing effect.  They are used to make products that indicate information or warnings about temperature.  This resource provides guidance for an activity that gives students the opportunity to experiment with thermochromic pigments.  A profile of a mechanical development engineer is included in this resource.

The whole package (2.74 MB)

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Smart muscle 

Shape memory alloys (SMA) can expand or contract by significant amounts when heated and cooled.  They are used in medicine, dentistry, robotics and to make things move.  Learn more about the applications of this smart material and how to create an activity for students that giveshands-on experience of a shape memory alloy.

Smart muscle (5.16 MB)

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Creating captivating cornflour

Mixing cornflour and water creates a fluid that becomes more viscous when a large force is suddenly applied to it.  This resource provides guidance for experimenting with this fluid and an explanation as to why it behaves in this way.  Engineers have used the idea that a material can be a fluid and a solid to create materials that are flexible but become rigid on impact.  This resource identifies these materials and also provides a profile of a research scientist who works with this technology.

Creating captivating cornflour (5.59 MB)

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Keeping it cool

How do you prevent a spacecraft designed to orbit the sun from getting too hot?  This resource provides guidance for an activity that asks students to consider this engineering problem.  The resource challenges students to design, make and test a capsule to stop chocolate from melting in a high temperature environment.  A profile of an engineer who has worked on the Solar Orbiter mission is also included.

Keeping it cool (5.09 MB)

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Perfect pylons 

Electricity pylons are an essential part of the electricity supply network. They must be stable and able to resist the static and dynamic loads exerted on them.  In this resource students are challenged to make and test model pylons that can support cables and resist wind without toppling over.  A profile of an apprentice engineer is included in this resource.

Perfect pylons (3.73 MB)

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In control

Cycling is becoming an increasingly important transport solution for many people.  This resource sets small groups of students the challenge of working together to design a gadget that can be attached to and powered by a bicycle.

In control (5.25 MB)

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Milking it

We all depend on plastics, but the majority are created using crude oil, which is a non-renewable fossil fuel that emits pollutants when processed and burnt.  Although we are recycling an increasing amount of plastic, alternative raw materials for making plastics are being sought.  The activity in this resource provides a hands-on guide to making plastic from milk.  A profile of a materials researcher is included in this resource.

Milking it (7.88 MB)

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Making music

In this activity, students create musical instruments using recycled materials.  They are then asked to analyse the musical notes their instruments produce using free-to-download software.  The challenge is for the students to see how close the notes their instruments make can get to those produced by real instruments.  Profiles of engineers involved in this area are included in this resource.

Making music (5.02 MB)

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Take off

A two part activity that starts with a group discussion about the factors that need to be considered when an aircraft takes off and lands.  The second activity challenges student to design and make a model aeroplane and a mechanism or system for launching it.  This resource includes profiles of practising engineers.

Take off (4.93 MB)

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Smart skin

Receptors under our skin send signals to our brains about the world around us. Engineers are borrowing this idea from the human body to create a ‘smart skin’ for aircraft. Learn about motes – the tiny sensors at the heart of this innovation – and how science and mathematics are central to this technology.

Smart skin (709.39 KB)

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How to make your own hovercraft

This resource shows how you can successfully lift a person off the ground using two cordless leaf blowers, problem-solving skills and some STEM knowledge: the same knowledge and skills that are used to design hovercraft.

How to make your own hovercraft (6.51 MB)

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Making waves

This hands on STEM learning and teaching resource shows how engineers have applied their knowledge of light, sound and sea waves to make life better. From making head up displays making flying and driving safer, to medical ultrasound as a diagnostic and treatment tool, to keeping people safe at sea.

Making waves (3.95 MB)

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Lights

In this resource students will carry out experiments with prisms, polarising film and 3D cinema glasses to explain some of the interesting properties of light and their applications.

Lights (2.71 MB)

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Euler's Characteristic

From the obvious examples such as shopping, making sure everyone gets a slice of pizza and planning a trip, to the more obscure such as making phone apps or calculating the best angle for the perfect shot on goal, maths is an important part of every day life. In this activity students can explore some real-world applications of maths they learn at school.

fabulous-formulae (877.65 KB)

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