Engineering Questions Throw a Spanner in the Works for Parents

New research suggests parents helping their kids with homework struggle most with maths, technology, and engineering questions. A shocking 83% of the 1000 parents surveyed said they had been unable to answer questions around these topics with 63% saying they had even hazarded a wild guess rather than admit they didn’t know.

59% admitted that they believed their children knew more about engineering and technology than they did.

The Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET) has used the survey to highlight how ill-equipped parents are for supporting their children’s technology ambitions and interests. In an effort to combat this trend, they ran an open Twitter Q & A about engineering conundrums in collaboration with Mumsnet.

These activities are all part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week and the IET ‘Engineer a Better World’ campaign aimed at championing the engineering and technology sector as a viable career for all demographics.

See if you can answer some of the common questions posed by confused parents and children! (Answers below).

1.       Why do trees lose their leaves when it’s cold?

2.       Why don’t birds get electrocuted on electric wires?

3.       Why is Mars red?

4.       Why does the fridge make a noise?

5.       Why do power stations have so much smoke coming out of them?

6.       How are waves made?

7.       What causes lightning?

8.       How long does it take a rocket to get to the moon?













And now the answers!

1.       Leaves need water and light to make food. But in winter there’s not enough water or light, so to save the water for surviving the cold period, they lose the leaves!

2.       Because the birds’ feet are both on the same wire, the electricity doesn’t flow between them. However, the ground is at a very low voltage, so if you touch a wire with your feet on the ground you will get a very dangerous jolt!

3.       Mars is red as there is lots of iron oxide there – otherwise known as rust!

4.       Fridges have a pump which pushes all the warm air inside into the surroundings – the noise is this pump working.

5.       This is actually not smoke but steam. The generators that create the electricity get very hot and are cooled down with water. The water boils and the steam escapes out of the towers.

6.       The water on the surface of the earth is so fluid that when the moon pulls at it, it bulges out!

7.       Hailstones being driven up and down by strong winds in a storms crash into each other and build up an electric charge. Eventually that leads to a spark – a big spark – between the cloud and the ground.

8.       Currently about 3 days but better rockets are still being developed.

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