In 2015 Catherine worked with structural engineering colleagues to develop two activities for primary school children, aiming to increase awareness of engineering professions among young people at primary schools in London.
This activity involves building a tower out of spaghetti and jelly beans or marshmallows. Engineers gave a short presentation on basic structural shapes, then students were challenged to build the tallest tower in a limited time frame. They were encouraged to think about which shapes and layouts were strongest and most efficient, and prioritise which materials to use for different purposes. After the activity engineers discussed why certain things worked better than others.
For older students or with more time, material budgets and other constraints can be introduced. This activity is a fun way for all ages (from primary school to university!) to learn about structures.