Skip to content ↓

Chocolate factory challenges introduce primary schools to engineering

UTC Reading has hosted another two successful Children and the Chocolate Factory workshops this year.

Pupils from local primary schools worked in small teams on a challenge set by Thames Water, to design and build their own mini water network to supply a fictional chocolate factory opening in their town.

Following an introductory video, students were divided into teams and introduced to the challenge before taking part in some warm-up teambuilding tasks and getting started on their main task. Once their plans were in place, they were required to build the water network using piping and connectors before testing them with water.

The events were supported by Kier Construction and Peter Brett Associates (PBA), who supplied mentors to help the pupils with the challenges. At the end of each day, judges from Kier, PBA and Thames Water looked at the plans the pupils had made and announced the winners of the competition, who were presented with prizes.

UTC Reading is delighted to host these valuable workshops each year, with an overall aim of opening pupils’ eyes to the range of exciting careers available to them in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Liz Banks, Education Manager at Thames Water, said: “Once again we welcomed Year 5 students from across Reading to take part in our popular Children & The Chocolate Factory events.  Around 150 pupils showed fantastic teamwork and problem solving skills to build a real-life water network.  And despite a few spills all of the water pipework successfully carried water to the customers!  The volunteers from Thames Water, Kier and PBA all agreed that they were great experiences to get young people inspired about the world of work.”

Clare Deakin, Senior Business Development Manager at Kier, commented: “Kier is so pleased to be able to partner with Thames Water, PBA and UTC Reading on our Children and the Chocolate Factory events. Inspiring the next generation of engineering and construction professionals, as well as giving something back to our local community, is vitally important to us.”

Dan Phelps, STEM Project Manager at PBA, said: "PBA has assisted with the Children and the Chocolate Factory workshop many times at UTC Reading and without fail we are always more than impressed with the creativity, understanding, teamwork and enjoyment displayed by the students involved; not to mention the level of dedication and involvement of the other volunteers from Thames Water and Kier. I strongly believe that this mode of engagement creates a real enthusiasm for STEM careers and without this exposure, students may have otherwise remained unaware of the plethora of exciting roles in engineering available to them later in life."

Take a look at our case study: STEM – Children and the Chocolate Factory

  • Active Learning
  • Microsoft
  • Cisco
  • University of Reading
  • Network Rail
  • Peter Brett