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Leys school joins £1.3m EU project to engineer a bright future
WHY can’t humans fly? That is one of the questions that youngsters at an Oxford primary school are trying to answer as part of a three-year engineering project.
Pegasus Primary in Blackbird Leys is the only British school taking part in the £3.1m project, funded by the European Union, which aims to improve engineering teaching at an age when the subject is rarely taught.
It was launched with the landing of a helicopter in the school grounds on the first day of the school term.
The school, in Field Road, contacted Helicopter Services in Wycombe Air Park, Marlow, who agreed to drop in free to support the project.
The pilot handed each class an envelope with a question they have to try to solve, and they are spending this half term trying to find the answer.
Deputy headteacher Francis Murphy said: “The children love it, they are so excited about it.
“They come to my office, they find me in the corridor and when I go into their classrooms, the walls are covered in questions and queries.”
Other questions being tackled include why Inuits don’t get frostbite, how engineers use air, how to create water and what makes things float.
The project is being incorporated into every area of the curriculum.
For the scheme, the school has been paired up with the Daltonschool Neptunus, in Amsterdam.
Staff at the 10 schools taking part in the project will visit each other to exchange the best techniques for teaching the subject.
Pegasus is currently piloting some of the teaching materials prepared as part of the programme, and the school will then ‘swap’ lesson plans with the Amsterdam school.
One school and one science organisation in each country participating are taking part, with Pegasus teamed up with Science Oxford.
Mr Murphy said he had high hopes for the impact of taking part.
He said: “Engineering is not really taught in primary schools so it is a brilliant way of getting them to understand how the world works.”
“I hope it will raise the profile of engineering in primary school, get more children interested in science and also in new ways of investigating and investigative approaches to learning.”
Year 6 pupils have constructed their own flying machines, constructions similar to paper aeroplanes but experimenting in different shapes, textures and materials.
The schools taking part are:
- Pegasus Primary School, Oxford
- 21st Elementary School Plzen, Czech Republic
- Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Musée des arts et métiers, France
- Maglegårdsskole, Gentofte Kommune, Denmark
- The Moraitis School, Greece
- KGS Donatusschule, City Of Bonn, Germany
- Modiin Macabim Reut (Netiv Zvulun School), Israel
- Istituto Comprensivo Copernica, Italy
- Daltonschool Neptunus, the Netherlands
- Gränsskolan School, Haparanda Kommun, Sweden