World Engineering Day: unlocking potential through mathematics

Róisín McGovern
Digital Training Lead
04 Mar 2024

Happy World Engineering Day! Today Lightful is celebrating the incredible innovations and solutions that engineers achieve, making the world a better place. From addressing climate change through to the design of new healthcare tools, engineering is at the heart of societal change.

The architects of sustainable solutions

Engineering touches every facet of our lives. Now more than ever, as we face unprecedented global challenges, the role of engineering is critical. As drivers of innovation, engineers and organisations fostering inclusivity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), are paving the way forward. That's why we're delighted to be working with the Royal Academy of Engineering to support 50 of their members to take part in Lightful's BRIDGE programme.

The language of engineering: mathematics

Engineering and mathematics go hand in hand, solving complex problems and designing a sustainable future. Maths provides the tools and frameworks that encourage innovation, from the simplest of gadgets to the most complex structures. Today we want to shine a spotlight on BRIDGE participant PenPlay, who are inspiring the next generation of engineers in South Africa, by ensuring that every child enjoys maths and has a bright future.

BRIDGE participant spotlight: PenPlay

PenPlay offers a holistic approach to education using the power of play and storytelling to discover the world of mathematics. The Whartels maths programme they offer is based on research from Dr Petro Erasmus, that focuses on the neuropsychology of teaching and learning.

Not only is PenPlay redefining mathematics in local communities, the team is also bridging the gender gap so often found within engineering study and professions. We spoke to Anushka and Jacqueline to find out more about their work!

“Through our maths program, I believe that we are opening up opportunities to girls and women in our communities to experience the gateway into pursuing any STEM careers. Girls who can master the concepts of maths from an early age will build a trusted relationship with maths and, throughout their academic career achieve maths results that will enable them to apply to a tertiary institution for a STEM degree”.

Anushka continues, “The American Association or University for Women suggests that throughout schooling, girls and women are methodically discouraged from pursuing careers in science and maths, which limits their access to these subjects and their preparation for them. This indicates that boys are motivated and guided to pursue these careers in science and maths - already creating an inequality between girls and boys in their early academic careers.”

PenPlay’s maths centres make it possible for girls to build a positive and healthy relationship with maths, and what’s more, develop their emotional intelligence. “As our program focuses not only on maths, but also on emotional intelligence - it plays an important psychological role to help girls especially, know how their brain works and how they can handle emotions such as fear, or handle unrealistic beliefs imposed on them”, says Jacqueline.

How have they found their digital learning experience with Lightful?

Anushka - “The BRIDGE learning has empowered our marketing team with strategies and unique ideas on how to approach awareness days with respect, inclusivity and leaving the people we have the privilege to meet and work with, with knowledge, empowering them, motivating them, and leaving them better off than we found them. We are excited to implement the course knowledge and skills into our organisation and marketing strategies.

Jacqueline - “We have learned so much. For me, it’s extraordinary to see the power of digital storytelling and connecting with your audience as a result of integrating it."

As the global community comes together on March 4th to celebrate established engineers, the team at Lightful is also celebrating organisations like PenPlay, who are empowering the next generation. Their efforts are shaping future engineers, scientists, leaders and change-makers, who will one day help solve some of our most pressing global issues.

What is our key takeaway for this year’s #WorldEngineeringDay after speaking with PenPlay? Mathematics is more than just numbers and equations; it’s the key to unlocking potential and building a better world through engineering.

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