Engineer'n' Our Lives



How many of us when we look around ever stop to think about the engineers behind what we see, use, eat, what we have in our homes, our shops on our roads, our
medicines, plastics, electronics in fact everything we have today?

The Engineer'n' Our Lives programme aims to help children appreciate how the skills
they learn in school are used by engineers in the work place today by
completing four curriculum based challenges and working as if they are
engineers in the workplace.

To date Live Wire Productions in partnership with TechFest have successfully
delivered the original week long Engineer'n' Our Lives programme supported by industry professionals in Westhill, Cults, and Hazlehead and Banchory ASG primaries to over 4000 children since 2012.

Each child is asked to complete four 20-30 minutes challenges based on the
Curriculum for Excellence and recognising that by successfully completing these
challenges the children follow a brief, meet deadlines, and solve problems using
defined resources working as a team while improving their knowledge, thinking
creatively, and applying skills and aptitudes just like real life engineers.

All challenges are age specific, all kit and materials provided and cross the
learning spectrum of Aural, Visual and Kinaesthetic learning. For example one
engineering challenge links an art class to civil engineering, a drama class to
electrical engineering, a maths class to design engineering and a science
materials class to chemical engineering.  

The five day programme culminates in a whole school Celebration Event where the children display some of their work and share their experiences with industry professionals and each other.

See what we got up to in Banchory in the final report

Kingsford Primary School Celebration Event June 2014

The first two challenges are facilitated by Live Wire Productions and TechFest-SetPoint on the Introduction Day and the other two challenges are class based and led by class teachers between Day 2 and Day 4.

The Introduction Day and Celebration Event are supported by visiting industry professionals who interact with the children under the EOL framework answering their questions about their work.

Engineers need materials to work with and as materials are an integral theme of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence the project has synergy with today's primary education. 

Materials + Engineers = Product © 


Chevron industry professionals signing off pupil challenge log books and reading their memories.

Pupil Memories

"I liked being a civil engineer the best, as I used lego to make Baby Bear a den.  Angus, Archer and I worked as a team and we gave Baby Bear a computer in his den.  I liked learning the oats, beans and barley song in the gym when being an agricultural engineer."

"I liked the challenges but I liked 'Having a leg to stand on' best because I was given a group, resources and a certain limit to produce something."

"My favourite challenges were the design challenge3 and the prototype challenge.  I have enjoyed learning about different engineers and what they do.  I also like trying out new things like the vending machine."

The Design Challenges

The children design a commodity using pens, crayons and paper producing the creative artistic pictures found on all classroom walls. The age based design challenges encourage careful detailed planning, insight, visualisation, inventiveness, knowledge of the properties of materials and creative skills.

  Airyhall Primary School Designs Challenge June 2014

 The Properties Challenges 

The children observe and discuss the properties of the materials used in their product(s) and tabulate their findings in summary form. Is it hard? Is it soft? Is it reflective? Is it cold? Is it heavy?

  Infants in Cults Primary School touch their products inside feely bags

used in Properties Challenge Two  'The Potter' October 2013

The Prototype Challenges: How are products developed?

When a product is under development the engineers and designers build prototypes as part of the development process. We call this set of challenges the Prototype Challenges which is craft based practical and class based using paper, card or blocks.

  Hazlehead Primary School show off their prototypes from Challenge Eleven

Challenge Eleven 'Having a leg to stand on' June 2014

The Process Challenges: How are products made?

The Process Challenges require the children to work as a team, demonstrate spacial awareness, timing and co-ordination and visualisation with an opportunity for artistic interpretation. The children led by a Live Wire Productions drama facilitator are part of a drama machine i.e. body movement song and dance portraying a machine – conceptualising the manufacturing and technological process of production.

  Cults Primary School pupils being Agricultural Engineers

Challenge One 'Who's been eating my porridge?' October 2013

School Planning

Once a school signs up for their EOL week the school submit their school numbers, teachers' names and class details.  A draft timetable for the Introduction Day challenges for each class  is then drawn up and finalised.

Briefing Teachers

A 40-45 minute briefing for all infant and primary teaching staff is arranged one afternoon in each school at least two weeks before the EOL week when each class teacher is given a copy of the EOL Handbook for Teachers along with the Introduction Day timetable, an explanation of how to use the challenge kit boxes and a sample copy of the pupil Challenge Log. The EOL team then have a brief walk around the school, a central point agreed for the challenge boxes and outline plans made for the school Celebration Event.

 EOL School Engineering Week Timetable 

Day 1

Day 2-4

Day 5

Introduction Day Process and Properties Challenges led by Live Wire Productions and TechFest.

Completion of Prototype and Design Challenges by teachers.

School Celebration Event led by the EOL team.

Head Teacher Quotes

Thanks to ConocoPhillips- having 'real live' engineers visit us in school and being able to ask them questions about the work they are involved in helped us make links between our learning in school and the world of work.  The skills we develop in science and technology can help us establish a career in later life.  It helped us realise the science and engineering make huge contributions to Scotland as a whole and to our community.  This enhances the links between school and local industry.  The tasks we undertook during Engineering week were fun and helped develop our skills.  The skills involved were transferable skills such as problem solving, predicting, creating and designing.  This helped us to recognise how much engineering is a valuable part of our everyday lives.  Engineering week saw the Curriculum for Excellence in action in all classes with active learning being a highlight of all the tasks we were involved in.

Jessie Greig – DHT Culter Primary School

Overall the Engineering week in our school was a big success.  Each class teacher had a challenge booklet and CPD input prior to the event.  The Engineering week began with Engineers from ConocoPhillips visiting the school and working with all classes along with the Live Wire staff.  Each class had to do a Design, Properties, Prototype and Process challenge.

Staff Feedback from Milltimber Primary School

The children and staff enjoyed the week and found the experience very valuable.  Some children particularly some of our ASN and some of our harder to reach children were very engaged with the tasks and it showed some of their creative skills.

Sarah Webb – HT Fernielea Primary School