The dancing had a big impact on my mental wellbeing and helped me recover from my downward spiral. To this day it contributes towards my progress. I became not just an engineer, but the dancing engineer; I became not just a speaker, but the dancing speaker, and I wasn’t just a children’s entertainer; I was the dancing entertainer. In everything I have done in life it has made me stand out. While art may not be a tool for building the future, it can enrich our lives in other ways. Encourage your pupils to keep hold of their hobbies and try new activities throughout their education; even if they don’t want to make a career out of it.
As I had experience in different fields, I wanted to use it for something special. A few years ago, I left my full-time engineering job to promote social change through public speaking and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) workshops. My main goal was to advocate sustainability, renewable energy, and building a new socio-economic system known as Resource-Based Economy.
I was inspired to follow this social direction after a tour to Australia’s best sustainable development known as the Eco-village Currumbin. It’s a real answer to fixing issues such as pollution, climate change, poverty, homelessness, and resource management issues on this planet. I was personally disappointed with the lack of education in this direction after working in schools. So, I wanted to work with children to excite them into STEM subjects, which will be pivotal for this social change. That’s when I sat down and drew in all my backgrounds to develop fun and engaging STEAM workshops; mainly for primary school children.
It’s difficult to make things cost effective with school budgets so tight, but I came up with a small low-cost propeller driven car that children can build to understand the effect of mass and friction on motion. It’s able to travel a small distance using elastic energy and it’s enough for the kids to get excited. I also developed a small windmill that can be driven by a desk fan, but generates enough power to light an LED. The concept of something spinning around and generating a light totally fascinates 5-7-year-old kids.
STEM needs to be practical and rewarding, and there is no better reward for an engineer or a scientist than to see your work in action. Other projects we build in classrooms include light and alarm circuits, renewable energy models, solar powered lights, a mini robot car, and projectiles, all of which gets them to do hands-on work.
I then added the icing on the cake by incorporating entertainment and dancing to the workshops. On occasions we show children Bboy (Break-Dancing) windmills, popping dance robot, arm waves, and other body movement. We get them to try their own versions too. These all link well with the experiments and gives another dimension to understanding concepts such as forces and momentum. We end our workshops with a two-person dance performance which usually leave the children buzzing.
Personally, my journey of public speaking and running the STEAM workshops have been a great experience, one that I hope will help to move this world forward and inspire children to one day build a Resource-Based Economy.
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