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Thinking like an Engineer

Thinking like an Engineer is a two-year project (2014-2016) co-ordinated by the Centre for Real-World Learning (CRL) at the University of Winchester on behalf of the Royal Academy of Engineering We are working with teachers in schools and colleges who are incorporating our six Engineering Habits of Mind (EHoM) into their teaching of STEM-related curriculum subjects.


The aim is to see if, by deliberately focusing students’ learning on these habits of mind, we can encourage them to think more like engineers and develop the aspiration to engage with the underpinning STEM subjects that will enable them to access careers in engineering in the future.


In year one (2014/15) five schools in the Hampshire/SW Sussex region, Reading College and the JCB Academy in Rocester participated, and in year two (2015/16) they have been joined by five more schools and two more colleges.


In July we held a project conference in London to celebrate the end of the first year and disseminate outcomes. Reports and presentations from that event are available here.


On June 21st 2016 we organised a second conference to discuss the EHoM interventions that have been implemented this year. Project members and supporters came together to celebrate the energy and commitment of all our ‘teacher heroes’. You can see the presentations here.


For further details about the schools and colleges involved Click here.




Tinker Tailor Robot Pi

We are collaborating with the Science and Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub at the University of Manchester, where a parallel project is being conducted with schools in the North West. For more details about Tinker Tailor Robot Pi, click here.  


Primary Engineer

In our second year we have been joined by a group of teachers in Scotland who are working with Primary Engineer. For more details, click here.  


Winchester Science Centre          

In the first year of our project Winchester Science Centre played an important role in recruiting schools and STEM ambassadors to our project, and hosted our workshops. We are grateful to them for their support and for further details about the resources they offer schools, Click here 




In our report  ‘Thinking like an Engineer’ we identified six EHoM that engineers use regularly when engaged in ‘doing’ engineering, illustrated in the diagram below. This chart is being used by the Royal Academy of Engineering in its promotional activity, including the Engineering Your Future Exhibition at the Science Museum.





The six EHoM also guided the questions used in a survey of parents, young people and engineers for the publication ‘Big Ideas in Engineering Education’ published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Royal Academy of Engineering in March 2016.


One of the recommendations of ‘Big Ideas in Engineering Education’ is to focus on the integrative possibilities of Design and Technology for engaging young people in engineering, and Bill Lucas was invited to comment on the importance of D&T in the curriculum for Ingenia, the quarterly journal of the Royal Academy of Engineering.


Bill and Janet have had an article on EHoM and signature pedagogies published in the May 2016 issue of the International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (IJEP), available here: Lucas and Hanson 2016 IJEP.pdf




Project Events:


EHoM Action Research Workshop Primary Engineer® in Scotland led by Dr Janet Hanson


21 September 2016



Introduction to Thinking like an Engineer & Engineering Habits of Mind for Primary Engineer® in Scotland led by Professor Bill Lucas


23 June 2016



Second Project Conference 2016

21 June 2016

Royal Academy of Engineering, London



EHoM Coaching Workshop for Primary Engineer® in Scotland

24 November 2015




Workshop for Activate Learning Participants

9 October 2015

Reading College



Project Conference 2015

09 July 2015

Royal Academy of Engineering, London



Review of Action Plans – Drop-In Support Session

21 May 2015

University of Winchester



Teacher Professional Development Workshop 2 – Coaching and Check-In

24 Feb 2015

Winchester Science Centre



Thinking Like an Engineer Professional Development- Workshop 1

23 Jan 2015 

Winchester Science Centre



Thinking like an Engineer Project Launch

10 December 2014

Winchester Science Centre



For support with project activities and research, contact  
Dr. Janet Hanson:


For website queries: eednet@winchester.ac.uk 

























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