How to Explain Chemical Engineering to a 4 year Old?

By AidanWoof | footprints | June 27, 2013

When I applied for nucleargraduates on that cold February night back in 2012, I vaguely remember seeing in the role requirements section something along the lines of “ability to communicate with all ages”. After almost 8 months with nucleargraduates they really do test this! During the course of a work day I may interact with senior management members of Chapelcross. However while undertaking a STEM workshop I have  had to communicate with children as young as 4 years old (with hilarious results I have to admit).

I have recently finished my STEM quota for this secondment so I now think I am in more of a position to discuss it. Before I did an event, I was very sceptical about the whole thing. I didn’t understand its purpose and saw it simply as an exercise to take me out of my comfort zone. I mean who really looks forward to trying to looking after 30 hyper children for the first time while they’re trying to build projectile launchers? However since my first event I noticed a sharp change in my attitude toward STEM. From dreading my first STEM day I found I began looking forward to the workshops, so much so I was trying to organise my own.

I have been involved with building K’nex R2D2′s, rocket workshops, ping pong ball launch towers, Lego robot dances and  Beebot workshops to name a few with group sizes ranging from 10 children to upwards of 200 children plus parents. This is fairly uncharacteristic for me to be enthusiastic about such events as it means having to speak to large groups of people. However the reason for my change of heart was simply due to the fact I realised I was getting alot out of these events. I understood the benefit. I could write a lot about the numerous benefits but I’ll keep it brief. The children get to experience the fun side of engineering, the teachers are given a free learning resource and I get to improve on my ability to communicate with all ages.

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