Tales of Engineering
Storybooks read by engineers. Hand-on activities for children and families
Tales of Engineering connects professional engineers with pre-school children and their families, to share their love of engineering.
In a relaxed and friendly activity session, engineers and families will read an engineering-related storybook together, and then take part in a simple hands-on engineering activity.
Tales of Engineering is funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and led by NUSTEM at Northumbria University.
As of early 2020 we’ve recruited the engineers who’ll lead sessions, and we’ve a host of events planned across our partner scchools and beyond.
The project lead is Antonio Portas, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tales of Engineering is supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering under the Ingenious Awards scheme.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires is a delightful tale about a little girl who sets out to make the Most Magnificent Thing, with help from her faithful assistant dog. Making the Thing turns out to be harder than they’d expected, and the girl has to measure, hammer, fasten and adjust again and again. The thing keeps turning out wrong… if only it would just work!
We love the book because it captures the process of engineering, of working towards a solution and learning from challenges.
After a few months of developing our website and getting our engineers to think about their research bookmarks (yes we have awesome bookmarks) we finally started taking our engineers into schools. One of the first visit we did was last wee, to a couple of schools in Darlington.
In the image below you can see Paula (right) and her most magnificent thing as imagined and built by children in a reception class.
Also last week, we took the Tales of Engineering project to this year’s Association For Science Education (ASE) Annual Conference at Reading University. This is one of the largest Science Education Conference of its kind and we were delighted to have engaged with teachers and practitioners, showcasing how storytelling can be used to talk positively about engineering with children in EYFS.
In the meantime we are keeping ourselves busy booking more schools and cultural venues visits, so keep checking our events calendar to see if we are going to be near you!
We are back from summer break and ready to engage!
Our valiant Tales of Engineering engineers gathered once again at NUSTEM HQ to learn and reflect about engaging with young children in the classroom. From bacteria bombs to sliding wardrobes, they tried to sell “snake oil” to pirates and fashion models as part of their public engagement training session, delivered by NUSTEM to support this project!
We also had time to start thinking about what materials the children will take home, and we came up with a really cool idea of bookmarks to signpost families and teachers to the resources which are going to feature here.
Stay tuned for our next meeting in November, when we’ll start to co-create Magnificent Things.
Ready… set … engineer!
Our first meeting for Tales of Engineering took place in July 2019 at Northumbria University, where a small group of engineers were generally terrified with the idea of reading to young children and becoming engineering ambassadors!
We had a good look through a few available engineering story books and decided to go with: The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires. We think it has an engaging plot, champions diversity in engineering, and it will be flexible enough so our engineers can work with children on their most magnificent things.
We’ll be back in September for another gathering, where we will find out how best to communicate our ideas to young people.
Most of our storytelling sessions will be in NUSTEM partner schools. But watch out for us in community and shopping centres, libraries, and beyond! When we have solid plans, they’ll appear below.
Loved My Most Magnificant Thing? There are loads of books exploring similar ground. Explore our selection: