The Play House – Daughters of Invention

Background

The Play House is a small theatre and education charity based inside Birmingham REP who specialise in engaging schools through educational and interactive performances.

Challenge

STEM education has a limited presence in the primary education curriculum. As a result children in the region are missing out on opportunities to engage in STEM learning in ways that ignite their passion and make them aware of the many careers and options available through STEM. Daughters of Invention is a drama and engineering education project originally created through a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious award.

After a successful first run in 2019, The Playhouse was seeking funds to bring the project to new schools in areas of deprivation and low aspiration in Birmingham and work with new female and BAME University of Birmingham engineers.  Their aim is to develop children’s interest with a particular emphasis on girls and children from marginalised backgrounds in engineering/STEM and increase their understanding of the part problem-solving, creative thinking and team-work plays in engineering.

What impact has it made?

The project was a significant success which benefited over 240 children in 8 KS2 classes across 5 schools. The project increased knowledge and understanding of engineering for primary school-aged pupils with a particular emphasis on providing role models for young girls to build their confidence and awareness of careers in engineering. Additionally, the project worked with the University of Birmingham and encouraged UoB students to build their confidence in taking part in STEAM public engagement – seeing it’s impact and value within education in the local area.

Why did they receive a small grant?

Educating STEM subjects in exciting ways is pivotal to early years education – when children are forming their personalities and interests that will define them for their future growth.  The Play House brought a wonderfully creative dimension to teaching engineering and breaking the misconceptions surrounding the fundamentals of the industry and the dominant stereotypes. The project itself was well constructed and targeted with an engaging strategy for raising awareness of engineering with primary years. Lastly, the focus on women in engineering will have a tremendous impact on closing the diversity gap in STEM subjects and will hopefully encourage a new wave of female engineers in the future.

Because of the grant from Millennium Point, The Play House is going to be inventing and creating with real-life engineers and KS2 children in Birmingham primary schools in 2020. Our STEM and drama project, Daughters of Invention, is coming back! Thanks to the Millennium Point Charitable Trust we are able to inspire a new cohort of children and their teachers.

We will be working a with our partners from the School of Mechanical Engineering, the University of Birmingham and a cohort of young engineers to develop children’s interest (particularly girls and children from BAME backgrounds) in engineering/STEM and increase their understanding of the part problem-solving, creative thinking and team-work play in engineering.

Juliet Fry, Creative Director, The Play House

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What We Funded
  • Overheads for the production and delivery of the project (content creation, travel to schools etc.)
  • Resources to produce and deliver the performances in schools
  • Equipment to produce and deliver the performance in schools
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