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Design an invention for an Epic Fail Invention Fair


Core National Curriculum links

Science, DT

Other National Curriculum links

Write a non chron report about the invention, design a poster to advertise the invention fair

Main engineering principles

  • Pupils take ownership of the design and make process


A series of lessons


Adapting, Creative problem solving, Visualising, Improving

EDP stages

Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve

Resources required

Rosie Revere: Engineer - by Andrea Beaty
Invitation to invention fair
A3 paper
Writing/drawing equipment
Junk materials - ask pupils previous to the lessons to collect and bring in junk. 
Sticking resources - glue, masking tape, sellotape etc
Decorating resources - paint, materials
possible prizes for winners
large space to hold the fair (tables/chairs etc.)

Summary of activity

As part of work done on Rosie Revere: Engineer by Andrea Beaty, pupils design, make, adapt, and evaluate an invention to showcase at an Epic Fail Invention Fair.

To open the activity

Lesson 1: Hook the pupils into the sequence of lessons by showing them the invitation to a local invention fair called the Epic Fail Invention Fair. The character in the book, Rosie, has been invited and wants us to help her come up with ideas for the fair. 
The invention must have a helpful purpose and an audience. 
Pupils to work in small groups/pairs to plan and design their invention - on A3 paper with space to draw different angles or the invention doing it's different jobs. 
The plan will need to include criteria such as: detailed sketches of the invention, labels to show the different parts and materials needed, short description of the purpose of the invention etc. 
Pupils can draw on any previous knowledge of mechanisms to help enhance their invention such as electrical circuits, buzzers, lights, pulleys etc. 
These inventions will be made from any junk materials the pupils will have collected, so access to these materials will allow them to see what limitations they may have. 
Give time for pupils to share their plans with the rest of the class at the end of the session. Pupils can give friendly feedback which can be acted upon in following sessions.

The main activity

Lesson 2: In the following session/s the pupils will be given time to make and develop their invention. Pupils should be encouraged to test and adapt their invention as they go. Reinforce that failing is a good thing and that we can learn from the failures. Pupils can document their design and make process by taking pictures on iPads which can be used to create a presentation to share at the Invention Fair. 
This could take multiple sessions depending on the designs the pupils have chosen and the amount of adaptations they may need to make. 

Lesson 3: Evaluate Inventions - pupils to be given the opportunity to share their inventions and evaluate (we chose to do this as an evaluation sheet, but this could be done verbally as a presentation or could be included in the electronic presentation to be shared at the Fair.)

Challenge and support

Differentiated by outcome

To finish the activity

Final Lesson: THE INVENTION FAIR! - set up a hall or large space with a table for each invention. Invite parents, staff, pupils to attend the fair. Pupils must display their designs, final invention, presentations and be ready to answer questions about their inventions. You could ask a member of staff/head teacher to judge the fair and award prizes for various criteria - best initial idea, best failure, best electronic presentation etc.

Learn from me (what worked well for us)

We were lucky enough to have a link to a local upcycling company who came in to showcase some of the products they made from bicycle parts. They also came to our invention fair and judged the entries and made some trophies and medals for the winners!

© The University of Manchester