James Dyson Foundation teams with Chicago Public Schools to establish engineering clubs

Source: James Dyson Foundation

May 05, 2011

Today, James Dyson will host a design workshop for young students in Chicago. The workshop will take place at Sir Miles Davis Academy, one of few schools in Chicago that offers engineering curriculum to students from kindergarten through 8th grade.

James Dyson and engineers will share their expertise and introduce the creative world of design. Through an interactive design session, students will learn the design process and principles of invention: frustration, wrong thinking, perseverance and perfectionism.

The students will gain hands-on experience by redesigning an everyday machine in a workshop. Students will work in teams of four with an engineer mentor, sketching and modeling their idea.

Students will also have a chance to go hands-on with design in the Invention Gym. Prototypes from Dyson and local companies will be on display. Interactive displays will also be provided by the Foundation and local companies.

The workshop will mark the James Dyson Foundation’s launch in the U.S. and a new approach to STEM through design and engineering education. The Foundation seeks to spark children’s creativity by encouraging them to use their hands and their heads.

Initially, the Foundation will concentrate its efforts in Chicago, working with Chicago Public Schools to establish 20 after school engineering clubs. The Foundation will also offer Education Box, a reverse engineering resource, to Chicago schools with teacher development. The engineering clubs and Education Box will launch in the 2011/2012 school year.

For the 2011/12 school year, the Foundation will support engineering education in Chicago through resources and after school clubs.

  • Engineering Education box. The Engineering box takes students through the entire design process — brainstorming, sketching and modelling inventions. Only by taking something apart do you learn how it works. Children’s innate inquisitiveness is satisfied by disassembling a Dyson vacuum. The Foundation will make 70 available throughout Chicago schools, hoping to reach over 10,000 students in the first year.
  • Engineering after school clubs. The Foundation is funding 20 engineering after school clubs in Chicago. The clubs will run for 10 weeks, twice a year, with the potential to reach 2,400 students over three years.
  • Teacher training tools. The Foundation will offer teacher training tools to arm instructors with knowledge of engineering principles and how to incorporate the design process into their own classrooms.
  • University scholarships. The Foundation will also work with universities in Chicago to help fund student’s engineering efforts.
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