Using Sport to Educate and Enthuse Young People About Engineering and the Physical Sciences

  • David M James
  • Stephen J Haake
Conference paper

Abstract

Over the past decade, the United Kingdom has experienced a decline in the proportion of young people continuing with their education in the physical sciences through to university level. In general, young people believe these subjects to be ‘boring’ and irrelevant to their everyday lives. The image of the physical sciences is a serious concern to the UK Government since in order to maintain the UK’s position as a technological leader in the world economy, a continual flow of high calibre graduates is essential. Numerous initiatives have been undertaken to encourage young people to study the physical sciences with varying degrees of success. This paper discusses one successful initiative coordinated and delivered by the Sports Engineering Research Group from the University of Sheffield. A series of interactive lectures and workshops were devised to explore how modern science and technology plays an ever increasing role in sport. In just two years, more than 13,000 young people took part in the initiative during 120 events across the UK. The impact of the initiative was monitored and evaluated throughout its duration by collating questionnaire data. Responses from the questionnaires, as well as other forms of feedback, showed the use of sport to be highly effective in terms of engaging young people’s interest. The project demonstrated that the physical sciences need not be taught in a manner that disengages young people; by using examples and demonstrations from the world of sport, its perception can be one of interest and fascination.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Cooke, A.J. and Bryce Taylor, A.M. (2002) Sportscience and engineering in education: a multimedia methodology to attract young engineers. In: S. Ujihashi and S.J. Haake (Eds.), The Engineering of Sport 4. Blackwell Science, Oxford, pp 40–45.Google Scholar
  2. Cooke, A.J. and Taylor, A.B. (2004) Using an interactive, computer-based resource on the science of tennis for creative science education in the UK. In: M. Hubbard, R.D. Mehta, J.M. Pallis (Eds.), The Engineering of Sport 5, volume 2. ISEA, Sheffield, pp 582–588.Google Scholar
  3. Higher Education Statistics Agency website www.HESA.co.uk.Google Scholar
  4. HM Treasury, Department for Education and Skills and Department for Trade and Industry (2004) Science and innovation investment framework 2004–2014. Her Majesty’s Stationary Office.Google Scholar
  5. Smithers, A. and Robinson, R. (2005) Physics in schools and colleges; teacher deployment and student outcomes. Centre for Education and Employment Research, University of Buckingham.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M James
    • 1
  • Stephen J Haake
    • 1
  1. 1.Sports EngineeringSheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK

Personalised recommendations