Sincere thanks to Phil Edwards of Weald Technology for coming in to work with year 4 students at Langley Park Primary Academy.

In preparation for competing in a new inter- Trust competition, #LeighIdeas18, Phil talked students through the many stages of “inventing”.

Beginning with his own career story, Phil explained his background as a real life inventor. He explained the process and definitions of imagination (the ideas and images in your mind) and creativity (turning ideas into things that work/reality)

During the workshop, students were set a number of challenges:

Challenge 1- Imagination

How many different uses can you find for a belt?

Students thought of over 40 other uses including as a door alarm, a tow rope and a boot cleaner.

Challenge 2- Imagination

How many different ways could we hold up our trousers?

From using drones or bats attached to trousers with string, eating more so that trousers fit properly or the suggestion of superglue, students really applied themselves to this challenge!

Examples from Nature

Phil went on to illustrate how utilising designs from nature can be really effective- this is known as biomimicry.

Examples were:

The peregrine falcon/blackbird aircraft

Kingfisher beak/super fast trains

Humpback whale/wind turbine

Beetle/water capture

Termite mound/super efficient energy saving  hotel

Challenge 3- Imagination


Think of all the different materials that we could use to make a chair?


Students certainly enjoyed listing the kind of materials that they could make a chair from including gold, feathers and even un-meltable chocolate!

Challenge 4- Creativity

Select one or more materials and get creative designing a chair?

Students were asked to consider “What’s really important for YOUR design?”

  • Recyclable?
  • Age of user?
  • Size?
  • Weight?
  • Comfort?
  • Cost?
  • Style?

It was stressed that students shouldn’t initially say no to any idea as often combining together two ideas that don’t work creates another idea which does.

Overall, students created over 100 ideas during the session and were keen to thank Phil for his visit.

Students were surveyed after the workshop and their responses on what they had learned were as follows:

Feedback on the workshop was very positive with the following tabulated results:

Teacher and Facilitator Comment

Class teacher, Mrs Mansfield commented- The children were buzzing!”

Phil commented – “It was a pleasure to work with such imaginative and creative young people. A wonderful school”

Thank you to Phil for visiting our academy and working with year 4.