Engineering Now .: Volume 2 - Edition 11 .: May 26, 2006

Elementary students discover engineering

(photo: introductory image for the site)

Elementary schools are winding down for the 2005-06 school year. Teachers are completing class assignments and planning end of year parties, trips and fun class projects. The University of Western Ontario’s student run organization, Discovery Western (DW), makes their planning a little bit easier by offering fun and informative workshops to encourage students to explore the realms of engineering, science and technology.

Currently in its 17th year of operation, DW is a student run, not-for-profit organization that promotes awareness of science, engineering and technology to young people. From May to June, a team of energetic undergraduate Western Engineering students travel to elementary schools in the London area to host hands-on workshops promoting engineering, science and technology.

“We look at the Ontario Science and Technology Curriculum and create workshops that meet government standards and excite the students,” says DW co-director, Curtis Cleaver.

Elementary schools can choose between six workshop choices; each designed for 30 students and take half a day to complete. The workshops include: Super structures and mechanisms; Larger than life systems; Pneumatically hydraulic; Magnificent manufacturing; Fundamentals of flight; and Lego my Robolab.

Since home schooled children do not have a classroom for DW to visit, the network of London homeschoolers called “A Different Drum” have arranged to visit Western Engineering on two different occasions.

“A Different Drum has participated in two Discovery Western workshops this year,” says DW co-director, Russell Palmer. “They enjoyed the first one so much; they just had to come back for more.”

DW continues their learning experience into the summer months with an Engineering and Science Summer Camp. The camp offers students in grades 3 – 10 an opportunity to participate in design projects, experiments, demonstrations, computer projects and outdoor activities. The camps are one week in length and run from July – August. Registration is available on the DW Web site -

The entire DW program is student run; including the development of classroom and camp workshops. “We update our workshops every year to ensure repeat campers aren’t going through the same curriculum year after year,” says Curtis. “Updating our workshops yearly also guarantees our programs are meeting the needs of today’s students and campers.”

Also from this web page:


.: Allison Stevenson
Spencer Engineering Building, Room 2074
Telephone: 519 850-2917 Fax: 519 661-3808