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Education innovation through material innovation in primary education : the grow-it-yourself workshop

Book Contribution - Book Chapter Conference Contribution

In recent years more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) topics have been incorporated in mainstream public education. Although the benefits of STEM instruction are broadly recognised in secondary school curricula, STEM topics in primary education are rather limited, leaving a gap in manipulative skills building and in preparation processes for the next school level. This paper reflects on the outcomes of a design workshop attended by 12 primary school students (9 to 12 years old) in Belgium. Mycelium, a fungi-based natural material now used in innovative sustainable applications, served as a means to introduce early learners engineering basics through self-made learning tools. Students grew their own 3-D structures to build a 'Grow-It-Yourself biodegradable playground using mycelium as a primary source. The paper stems from an in-progress research that investigates the opportunities of how mycelium as a material innovation can be used as a medium to create innovation in primary education through a learning-by-design approach. Reflections on the workshop's instructional guidelines are included along with an extension of the call for support for primary school teachers delivering STEM topics in their classes.
Book: DS 95 : Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2019), University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. 12th -13th September 2019
Number of pages: 1
ISBN:9781912254057
Publication year:2019