FAQ's for Teachers

Frequently Asked Questions


What would you like to find out more about?

  1. How to Apply
  2. What's involved
  3. The Prizes
  4. Judging
  5. School Visits
  6. How to submit your entry

Where do I sign up?

Applications are now closed.

Register your interest for STEPS Young Engineers Award in 2020 HERE. We will contact you with information on the award and upcoming training sessions for volunteers.

Are there deadlines?

There is no deadline to enter. However you must register online before the deadline for submitting entries: midnight 6th December.

If you would like to request a STEPS Volunteer Engineer visit you must have applied registered online by midnight 1st October.

I'm having trouble with the online registration process

No problem! You can use our step-by-step guide (with screen shots) for the application. If you are still having problems - please get in touch and we will gladly assist.

Phone: 016651340 or email: steps@engineersireland.ie

What time committment is invloved?

This is up to you! However, we recommend aboout 45mins per step - there are 5 steps in total (inlcuding the showcase/visit).

You may choose to carry out the project between Septmeber and 6th December, or you may choose to do it over a defined period of time such as a week or a month. 

There are many opportunities to get deeply immersed in engineering, such as additional activities and to tune into the Live Webinars broadcast from Engineers Ireland. 

The minimum requirement is to complete and submit a Project Book per team, which consists of 3 worksheets and to build your prototype. This could be completed in a few hours. 

Are there teacher Lesson Plans?

Yes! There are lesson plans and lots of resources for teachers. See the Resources Page for more information. 

Are there completed examples of projects?

Yes! There are Completed Examples and lots of resources for teachers. See the Resources Page for more information.

How is the STEPS YEA linked to the Primary School Curriculum?

The STEPS Young Engineers Award is alligned with the Primary Science Curriculum for 3rd and 4th class. Each of the five Teachers Lesson Plans  highlight the areas covered and there are many integrations and links with other areas of the curriculum.

How does the STEPS Young Engineers Award contribute towards the DPSM Award?

The STEPS Young Engineers Award offers an excellent and meaningful opportunity for a class to complete tasks required for the Engnieering, Maths and Showcase steps in the DPSM Award criteria.

Engineering - you will be carrying out a structured engineering project - with worksheets to help mirror a real enineering project. Students will learn about the engineering examples all around them and how they interact with engineering every day.

Maths - There are many opportunities in the design and build sections for children to put real figures to their work and to use (even simple) maths to realise their projects.

Showcase - STEPS encourages students to show case their projects. This could be by way of a STEPS Volunteer Engineer visit or invite a local engineer or guest to the class.

What materials will I need?

The projects will be judged solely on the Project Book submitted. For this you only need pens and imagination. However, we strongly recommend that teams attempt to build a prototype. 

You could choose to build your model from school materials and recyclable household materials, or from workshop or hardware material etc. It is entirely up to you. Don't forget to discuss your material choices in your Project Book!

Do you have a recommended timeline?

Yes! See the timeline on the Teachers Page.

Help! I don't know enough about engineering

Don't worry! we have lots of helpful guidance in the Teachers Resources.

This project is about helping your students to think like an engineer - to critically analyse their decisions to come up with a considered design. Although we encourage you to be as technical as you like with your class - there is no requirement. We are looking for innovative, but practical, ideas. Remember -  it's your students who do the work - not you!

How can I include maths?

We strongly encourage entrants to include some maths in their projects.

This can be done in the design simply by labelling dimensions on the drawing or by using dimensions to work out the desired area or volume of a prototype. Maths could also be used to estimate for example the amount of water a tank could hold or how much weight a boat will need to take (number of people x avg. weight).

There are examples of how to integrate simple maths in the Completed Examples on the Resources Page.  

What are the prizes?

The prizes for the winners are kindly provided by Bently Advanced Systems.

Each STEPS Young Engineer of the Year (on the winning team) will be presented with a Photonrobot. These are incredible pieces of technology that grow with the child and introduces them to the world of new technologies through experiences and experiments. Each robot is worth over 

The winning school will also be presented with a custom-designed STEPS Young Engineers Award Trophy.

There are lots of other fantastic prizes and awards for Highly Commended projects. See the Prizes section on the Teachers Page for more details. 

When will the prizes be presented?

The prizes will be presented after the winners have been announced during Engineers Week 2020 (29th February - 6th March). 

Stay tuned to find out more details.

How do I register for a STEPS Volunteer Engineer visit?

You can request a STEPS Volunteer Engineer school visit on the online registration form. You must sign up online by October 1st to be considered for a STEPS visit. Find out more on STEPs Volunteer Visits here

When do the visits take place?

The visits take place during the last week of November. Find out more on STEPs Volunteer Visits here

Do I need to do anything for the visit?

The teacher must stay in the class at all times for Child Protection purposes. The class is also expected to have prepared short presentations of the projects - or a showcase - for the Volunteer. More information on the role of the teacher and the role of the volunteer will be available prior to the visit. Find out more on STEPs Volunteer Visits here

What if I don't get offered a STEPS school visit?

Don't worry! Ther is no requirement to have a STEPS Volunteer visit your class to take part in the competition. There are lots of ideas in the Alternative Options section of the School Visits page here

Who judges the STEPS Young Engineers Award?

A panel of STEPS Volunteer Engineers judge the competition.This includes top engineers from  a variety of engineering disciplines working with leading  Irish and international engineering firms, such as Intel, Jacobs, Roughan and O'Donovan, Dromone, Winthrop and IBM.

What are the judges looking for?
The judges are looking for projects that display innovative, practical designs that would benefit the community.

Last year the standard was excellent - we had project ideas which ranged from devices to help the disabled to life-saving apparatus, solar phone chargers, animal shelters, environmental solutions and lots lots more.

This year there will be bonus points for including some (even simple) maths or technology.  

Is there a Marking Scheme?

Yes! See the Teachers Resources Page to download the Marking Scheme. 

When are the results announced?

The results are announced during Engineers Week 2020: 29th Feb - 6th March.

Will the results be published?

The winning, highly commended and short-listed projects will be published on the STEPS Website. An article on the short-listed projects will be published in the Engineers Journal during Engineers Week

How can I submit the entries?

Submitting is easy! 

All you need to submit is the completed Project Books for each team.

There are three methods:
  1. Post - post entries to STEPS Engineers Ireland, 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, D04 R3N2
  2. Email - email scans or photos or entries to steps@engineersireland.ie
  3. Online - Upload scans or photos of the Project Books to your STEPS Account. (Don't forget to click on submit to make sure we receive them)
If you have any queries please contact steps@engineersireland.ie

What if I don't have a scanner?

No Problem! You can upload photos from your phone or laptop, or simply post hardcopies of your entries to STEPS. See addresses above.