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The Faculty of Engineering hosts an annual 'Bring your child to work day' where staff bring their children in for a day of scientific discovery. Departments in the Faculty come together with the Science Museum to deliver interactive and engaging educational sessions for children and their parents and guardians.

Big Trak to the Moon!

As part of 2019’s Bring Your Child to Work Day hosted by the Faculty of Engineering, 80 children joined their parents and guardians for a morning packed full of exciting activities. The day started with the Science Museum’s ‘Out of this World Show’ and ‘Mission to Mars Workshop’, where participants were shown what it takes to become an astronaut and were invited to make their own rockets using some of the knowledge they had acquired.

The children were then divided into groups to take part in further sessions provided by a number of the Faculty of Engineering’s departments. The Department of Computing were actively involved in this year’s event, allowing for young learners to gain an insight into what Computer Science consists of.

Children and parents programming a Big Trak electronic vehicleSplitting participants into four teams, children and adults were asked to work together to programme the safest path through an obstacle course on the moon using Big Trak programmable electronic vehicles. Children were given the freedom to explore how the Big Trak vehicles worked before solving the problem at hand. Once each team of participants had grasped the instructions they began to code their vehicles through the course showing clear teamwork and enthusiasm. Along the way the groups needed to pick up passenger astronauts, shoot down targets, refuel and avoid large obstacles such as rocks and craters.

Teams worked together to code a sequence of instructions that would safely guide their vehicle across the moon. Each team created an original and different course to one another, steering clear of the craters and moon rocks to complete their mission from start to finish.

The event, led by Dr Jackie Bell, Dr Jianliang Gao and work experience student Charley, was a huge success. The use of Big Trak robots provided a light introduction to the real-world applications of computing and gave a perfect opportunity to encourage children and their accompanying adults to consider computing as a future career.

The response to the event was very positive, with one parent reflecting:

"“We had great fun programming the robot to avoid the rocks and to collect the astronauts!”"
This news story was created with the help of Charley, a work experience student of the Department of Computing. More information on Bring Your Child To Work Day and future Faculty events can be found here.

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Pictures from 2018's "Bring your child to work day"

2018's event saw the day start with the Science Museum demonstrating a selection of their favourite demos - including rockets, instant ice creams and earth-shaking bangs - followed by the Bubble Show, where participants looked at bubbles and the impact certain materials can have on them.

Further sessions were provided by a number of other departments, including Design Engineering, Computing, Earth Science & Engineering, Aeronautics, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering. From making paper aeroplanes and driving robots, to hunting for fossils and building new structures - the event provides something for all curious minds!

"We had a brilliant, fun, educational and thoroughly engaging day, the initiative is superb. "
"The kids are still talking about the events days later"
"All of the shows/presentations we took part in were brilliant, very interactive and extremely engaging."