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Design an invention to keep the snakes away from Uncle Fred


Core National Curriculum links


Main engineering principles

  • Pupils take ownership of the design and make process


About a lesson


Creative problem solving, Visualising

EDP stages

Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve

Resources required

Rosie Revere: Engineer by Andrea Beaty
Red spotty headscarf - for drama purposes
Tinkering Journals (or sketch books or similar)
Junk materials
iPad - for recording (we used multiple iPads for groups to document their work in progress.)

Summary of activity

This lesson is linked to work done based on the book Rosie Revere: Engineer by Andrea Beaty. In the book Rosie designs and makes an invention to keep snakes away from her Uncle Fred, but it fails. In this session pupils are 'helping' Rosie by designing and making their own solutions to the problem.

To open the activity

Teacher to be in role as the character Rosie from the book, wearing the red headscarf. Rosie is upset as her invention has failed. Pupils interact with the Teacher in Role and find out why she is upset and how they can help.

The main activity

Pupils are going to design and make their own ideas/invention for keeping the snakes away from Uncle Fred to help Rosie. 
Tinkering session – pupils to draw a quick design in their tinkering journals (or similar) and then build using the junk materials available. 
Pupils to be encouraged to test and evaluate their inventions throughout the session.
Pupils can record their design and make process using iPads. Use photos to build a PicCollage poster to show how they went from design to finished invention. Pupils can annotate their photographs with comments and explanations. 

Challenge and support

For this session we used mixed ability groups which leant itself to pupils challenging and supporting each other. 
Challenge: You could challenge pupils to include some kind of mechanism into their invention (pulleys, circuits etc.)

To finish the activity

Allow time for pupils to share and explain their inventions to the rest of the class - they can explain their design process and any adaptations they made during the process. 

Learn from me (what worked well for us)

We planned this session as a full morning, but can be split into two sessions to suit. If iPads are not available, pupils can record in other ways. Be prepared for some wierd and wacky inventions!

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