The TeenTech City of Tomorrow programme has kickstarted the 2019/2020 academic year by expanding our in-school delivered workshops to primary schools.
At the end of September, we spent five days working with thirteen primary schools, across five events in the Leicestershire region. Each school was able to bring an entire year group to take part in a workshop where they were able to imagine how we might live in the future.
Throughout each day, the pupils were tasked with considering the challenges we face in the world today. Working in teams, they then imagined how they might tackle one or more of these problems using design, technology and engineering.
Each pupil brought along a bag of recyclable materials and, in their teams, they then (had) created models of the buildings that they had imagined and designed.
At the end of each day, the pupils presented their buildings and their ideas to industry experts.
The pupils came up with some fantastic, thoughtful ideas as to how we might have kinder, safer and smarter cities of the future.
The students really responded to the challenges and had some wonderful things to tell us about the experience.
“I learnt that we can solve a lot of global and local problems by making things!”
“It is good when you use your imagination and think outside the box.”
“I enjoyed working as a team and seeing the final design and the satisfaction of knowing it was our idea!”
One of the most memorable buildings was a prison for the future. It featured glass walls so inmates could engage with the outside world to help them reintegrate back into society. Our guest judge on that day was a prison officer who was blown away with the work the pupils put in, and their insightful approach to problem-solving.
We had a number of buildings that tackled the issue of homelessness in different and thoughtful ways. One team remarked that they didn’t understand why the homeless were treated differently from everyone else as we are all people and born equal. Their team worked on a hotel for the future where the income from the rich and wealthy would subsidise equally nice rooms for the homeless to stay.
Another team built an inner-city wildlife sanctuary for endangered animals. This multi-storey building hoped to educate people about the harm they are causing our wildlife, whilst giving endangered species a skyscraper to live in, with each floor presenting a different habitat.
Parents were invited to come along and watch the presentations. They were all impressed with how their children had taken to the task.
When asked if they felt the project had helped their child understand the importance of roles in design, technology, and engineering, 95% of the parents strongly agreed or agreed. When asked if the day had helped their child improve transferable skills (such as creativity, determination, and confidence), 90% of the parents strongly agreed or agreed.
The teachers who were present were extremely impressed with how their pupils took to the tasks, and the skills the teams used throughout the day.
“It has given our pupils an opportunity to plan, working as part of a team, sharing ideas, solving problems, and trying out ideas. It was an engaging activity with interesting outcomes.”
“Some of the children who chat or can misbehave at school were very switched on to the task. I thought they got a lot out of it.”
“The TeenTech City Tomorrow workshop is extremely valuable. Many aspects of the curriculum were covered; most importantly listening, celebrating and being creative. It was an experience that the children will remember when they are older.”
The top two teams from each school will showcase their buildings and their ideas at our TeenTech Festival event in Leicester on October 24th at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.