Review of London Transport Museum ‘Summer of Engineering’
London museums are catching up to the importance of engineering and STEM being the focus of their exhibitions. When I picked up a leaflet at my local library, I was surprised to see London Transport Museum were having a engineering themed summer holiday program between 21 July and 3 September 2018. So off I went on a Saturday during the last few days of the Building and materials themed week with my girls, who are aged 6 and 3 to have a look at their ‘stemtastic’ workshops! We first tried the building consultant firm Jacob’s sponsored workshop in the Learning room of the museum. Young engineer volunteers from Jacob’s were running the session, which was great for the children to meet actual engineers to interact with.
My 6 year old was engaged in building a bridge using newspaper and lollipop sticks, while staying patient as she cut the cellotape with scissors.
There was also another child with her father who seemed to be doing most of the building of the bridge instead of his child, maybe it was his desire and ambition that he wished his child to pursue a career as an engineer. My daughter was persistent with the building of her bridge and it actually managed to stand for a few seconds until it wobbled and fell. I advised practice makes perfect and that engineers in the past had to try all sorts of material, before they developed sturdy strong bridges that we see today.
My other younger daughter who is 3 colored in a sheet of the most iconic London Bridge, both girls were happy to receive their ‘Year of The Engineer’ stickers when they finished. After we had lunch at the central lobby, they watched a Poster Girls live interactive show, about how engineers built the Waterloo gateway to and from the south. The final workshop we attended involved testing materials against different elements. Both my daughters were given high visibility vests which they already were familiar with when they went on school trips, so they cant be spotted if they wander off. This time they are wearing high visibility vests to appear like real engineers, so that they can be spotted around heavy machinery. My youngest daughter had a foil and lollipop stick which she went to all the different tables that had different elements such as electric current, light water etc. My youngest daughter’s favorite tray was the soil, as she enjoyed covering up the objects with it. My 6 year old made use of her reading skills and read the signs on each table, that had questions such as: ‘Does it float in water? or is it flexible? no doubt further increasing her scientific vocabulary.
Both my girls enjoyed the hands on experiments, which just goes to show we don’t always have to provide babyish and cartoony workshops.
Practical STEM inspired activities can be just as engaging for children. We continued to explore the museum and went inside the vintage old train carriages which
My children remembering all the train lines and instructions such as Way Out, which surprisingly are almost the same from a century ago. They were also surprised to see towards the exit, a futuristic model car that is shaped liked a turtles shell with gold wheels.
All in all it was a great STEM inspired visit at the London Transport Museum.