Humanitarian engineers aim to improve the lives of people living in, or vulnerable to poverty in the developing world. They create, design, develop, or improve technologies to support the sustained improvement of local communities. The resources in this list focus on a range of global issues including energy, climate change and disaster risk reduction. They can be used in class, as an applied project or as part of a STEM challenge or engineering day. Many link into popular topics that children will learn about at primary and contain elements of D & T, science and literacy.
Links and Resources
This activity asks children to design and build a model of a flood- proof house. Activities include testing materials (for strength and absorbency) and looking at structures. It is set on a fictitious island coping with the devastating effects of flooding caused by climate change.
Stop the spread is a new STEM challenge for students aged 7 to 16. Highlighting the global issue of infectious disease students design, build and test a model of a hand washing device and produce educational materials for children in Kenya to encourage hand washing. It is accredited for the British Science Association CREST Discovery Award and can used to enter the Youth Grand Challenges competitions. Resources include teacher guidelines, a student pack, a presentation, a video certificates and a poster.
Aimed at primary aged students, this STEM project provides a real-life context to explore the health and environmental problems faced by the 3 billion people globally who cook on open fires or traditional cooking stoves. Children are introduced to a family in Nepal and learn about indoor air pollution from their open stove and how this affects their lives. They then work in small groups to identify the problems caused by traditional cooking methods and develop designs and a model for an improved cooking stove and stove hood.
Design a simple wind turbine capable of lifting a cup off the floor to bench height. The winning team will be the one producing a machine that lifts the most weight. The resource includes an instruction sheet, wind turbine images, links to videos and downloadable certificates.
This activity provides a practical context to explore the uses of everyday materials, based on their properties. Children are introduced to a problem of building a flood- proof home, which is faced by families in local communities in Bangladesh. They then look at solutions that have been developed to solve this problem and children investigate which materials would be best.
In this hands-on workshop children explore renewable energy solutions in the developing world with a focus on wind turbines. They role play engineers working in a specific country using the resources available to them to design and build their own wind turbine blades out of everyday objects.
These active workshops are a mix of presentations, quizzes, games and hands-on experience and are intended to encourage critical thinking. They highlight issues such as global water scarcity, the challenges people face when sourcing water, maintaining a water supply in developing countries, shelter deprivation and the role of the engineers in solving these problems. Designed as part of an outreach programme, each resource pack consists of a presentation, extensive teachers' notes and all classroom materials for running the activities.
Fixperts is an award-winning, hands-on learning programme that challenges young people to use their imagination and skills to create ingenious solutions to everyday problems. The programme is equally relevant to design and techology, engineering and as a STEM enrichment activity.