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Dream catchers

03 September 2018

Children are natural engineers, full of ideas, inventions and inspirational approaches to common place problems.

Without the constraints of ‘technical reality’, access to materials or expertise, they dare to dream and one innovative national programme is capturing those dreams, inspiring all who come into contact with it. 

The Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders Award has this year alone harnessed the creativity of over 37,000 primary and secondary school children inside the classroom. This unique annual competition for primary and secondary pupils brings schools and engineers together asking pupils ‘If you were an engineer what would you do?’ The pupils, as young as three, then identify problems to solve, drawing and annotating their solutions and writing to engineers explaining why their invention should be built. The competition sees pupils’ ingenious designs displayed in public exhibitions around the country and some pupil inventions being selected to be made and become a reality!

The programme is supported by engineering firms, professional engineering institutions and universities across the country. Engineers are interviewed by pupils, help in the grading process of the entries and university teams build prototypes, blogging and sharing the process. 

Two great examples of this powerful fusion of expertise are winning design prototypes from 2017 which were recently unveiled at The Awards ceremony at Kingston University. The two inventions, which were built by the prototype team at Kingston, were the Electricity Trampoline, which converts bouncing into electricity to charge mobile phones, and the Truggy – a travel buggy which is a cross between a pushchair and a suitcase – these were invented by a twelve-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl, demonstrating the innovative problem finding and solving the minds of children can invent. 

Read the full article in the September issue of DPA

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