Lego trucks help build the future of engineering

Lego trucks are being taken apart and rebuilt by schoolchildren as part of an initiative to get them to consider careers in engineering.

Lego trucks help build the future of engineering

With girls far less likely to take Leaving Certificate engineering or physics than boys, there is a particular focus on getting young female students involved.

The ECubers programme in primary schools runs workshops in which pairs of pupils begin with an assembled racing car, truck, or other Lego sets.

By disassembling the items and then sorting the bricks by colour and size, the children’s organisational abilities are developed. They then rebuild the Lego sets, learning about the importance of correct placement of different components and the impact of just one misplaced brick.

For older students in second-level schools, the skills of computer programming are also taught to help them make their vehicles move and perform tasks.

SL Controls, the firm which runs the ECubers workshops, said students have got great satisfaction from their success.

“From our pilot workshops, we have found that ECubers has been very successful at introducing the concept of equipment systems engineering. It is evident that much broader awareness is needed if we are to maximise the potential of attracting young people, especially young women, to study engineering,” said SL Controls co-founder Shane Loughlin.

Only 6% of the 5,500 students doing Leaving Certificate engineering are female, and male students account for more than three quarters who were entered for physics this year.

The company wants to expand its workshops to primary and second-level schools in the next few years. It employs more than 50 engineers and also plans to add 20 engineering positions by early 2017.

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