SMEA Schools Activites

Sheffield Metallurgical and Engineering Association
2 Jul 2019


For many years the SMEA has tried to encourage students to take up careers in material science. Historically, we have sponsored graduates and apprentices to widen their horizons through travel awards and have given prizes for academic performance at the two Sheffield Universities. But more recently we have started to focus on schools

The SMEA has begun to build an active school program with the aim of promoting science to school children. Working with Diane Aston from IOM3 we have committed ourselves to supporting, enthusing and inspiring the next generation of scientists, technologists and engineers in our region.  Our activities are designed to give teachers, parents and learners access to resources which can be used to bring materials engineering to life.  In particular, our resources are related to the school and college science, design and technology and engineering curricula and can be used enhance and enrich teaching from age 5 upwards

Can You Make It? is a hands-on, school based challenge designed to raise awareness of STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Maths) careers and support the teaching of the materials topics in the Key Stage 2 Science curriculum for 7 to 11 year olds.  The Materials Discovery Box is a kit which includes a range of activities supported by worksheets and a complete handling collection of interesting materials allowing teachers to bring the topic to life.  


We have been present at a number of events this spring/summer:

  • Big Bang. Peters Morgan and Morris were at the Big Bang in June at Doncaster Race Course with Diane Aston from IOM3. Big Bang is a free event for school children aimed atenthusing and inspiring students to take up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers through exciting and interactive activities. Diane used our Materials Discovery Box to demonstrate the properties and usefulness of a wide range of materials. Our stand had a large number of excited children all day and they left with a better appreciation and understanding of the usefulness and adaptability of material.
  • Sheffield University Technical College (UTC). The dynamic Peters will be at Sheffield UTC Post 16 Transition Event later this summer explaining opportunities to potential new students and parents. They will be taking the Materials Discovery Box. The UTC have asked us to participate in other activities

o  Mock interview session with students applying for apprenticeships/jobs. This is a follow up to a session we helped with in May

o  Talk to students about materials using the Materials Discovery Box

  • Women in Engineering. Colleen Mann & Mark Tomlinson will be at a Women in Engineering event in conjunction with the local branches ofother engineering Institutes and will be using the SMEA banner to encourage women to take up sciences
    •  Engineering Extravaganza South Yorkshire. In the autumn we will be supporting Diane Aston who will be promoting Materials Science along with the other Professional Institutes. 
    •  Get Up To Speed (GUTS): In the spring we had a stand at GUTS which was held at Magna to promote and raise the profile of materials to children who were contemplating a career in science

Colleen and Mark at Get Up to Speed with children looking at samples from the Materials Discovery Box

Help Needed


To facilitate these initiatives takes time and effort. Could you be part of our team attempting to enthuse and inspire children into a career in science and engineering? In short we need people, materials and we would like more schools

People: We are looking for members who are willing to:

  • Participate in meetings and at conference/seminars where intiatives are planned
  • Take the lead at one of the schools we are working with
  • Promote materials science in schools, at fairs etc

If you would like to help contact one of the two Peters; details at end of article

Materials: But that’s not all. We are on the lookout for some good metal samples to augment our Materials Discovery Box eg smallish components or interesting examples of materials, Surprisingly, we are a bit short of metal components like gears, con rod, aerospace bits, fasteners, powder parts, additive manufacturing bits. Who to contact: one of the two Peters

Schools: Finally, if you know a school who would be interested in working with us or who we may be to help then you should know who to contact by now; one of our dynamic duo of Peters


Peter Morris email:

Peter Morgan email: