Lawn Manor Academy pupils are receiving an added dimension to their education thanks to a 3D printing innovation programme with local engineer Ben Edmonds.
14 of the highest achieving pupils from across Years Seven and Eight have been chosen to take part in a week-long workshop this week, where they will learn the basics of 3D printing and working together as a team, will create a prototype to solve a problem based around transporting aid across a body of water.
They have spent this week (12th-16th July) with Ben Edmonds, who is a Senior Engineer for Dyson, and in his spare time runs a successful Inventors Club across Swindon and the area, teaching young people aged 7-17 skills in problem solving, idea generation, lateral thinking and resourcefulness through design engineering.
During the pandemic, Ben worked with local care provider, First City Nursing and Care, in order to overcome PPE shortage issues, focussing on masks in particular. Ben optimised an open source design file to speed up the manufacturing process, and using 3D printers supplied by First City Nursing and Care, created a rudimentary factory in his home, and printed over 800 hygienic, sterilisable headbands, with reusable acetate face shields, for all the First City staff, NHS staff on Covid wards at Great Western Hospital and local doctors. These 3D printers have now been donated by First City Nursing and Ben in order to provide ongoing learning opportunities to pupils of Lawn Manor Academy.
Marek Koza, Assistant Headteacher at Lawn Manor Academy, said, “The pandemic has limited the opportunities available to our pupils and so we were keen to introduce an activity that would challenge and stretch our pupils as much as possible and help them develop wider skills which would be of great use to them in the future.
“Thanks to the donation of the 3D printers, plus funding allocated for schools for catch up, we are now able to introduce a design and engineering focus to the school. This initial group of students will benefit by having the opportunity to apply their skills and reinforce what they’re learning in lessons to a whole week of problem solving. These pupils will become our expert leads in 3D printing for the school as they will have the knowledge and skills to use the technology.
“Following this week, we are hoping to develop a design and engineering section in the school and offer something extra to all of our pupils. From September we will have a room dedicated to 3D printing and technology to incorporate into the whole curriculum as well as running clubs for interested pupils. By harnessing and nurturing these interests, we hope that this programme will give them future skills for jobs – including technology and engineering jobs and specialisms that haven’t even been created yet.”
With 39% of pupils at Lawn Manor Academy classed as coming from a disadvantaged background, the school wanted to provide skills and opportunities that may not have been traditionally open to them otherwise.
Ben added, “This is a really exciting programme for Lawn Manor Academy. It’s great that the school has embraced it fully and has created this opportunity for their pupils out of the adversity of the last year.
“The focus is on accelerating learning through the school, rather than trying to repeat learning from the last year. It’s especially encouraging that this opportunity, which has been as a result of Covid, will go to support the pupils who may never would have had the opportunity to use this sort of technology and develop these skills.”
“I’m looking forward to working with them during this week to take them through the process of being presented with a problem on paper, coming up with their own solution for it, and then designing and printing a fully working prototype to solve it. The skills that they will develop in solving problems and looking at solutions in a different way will last a lifetime, enabling them to share their learning and teach other people, and even manufacture for themselves in their own homes.”
For more information on Ben Edmonds and his innovation sessions, visit www.innovationben.com. To read more about Lawn Manor Academy, visit www.lawnmanor.org.
Pictured above: Aysha and Ashlee with their bridge and vehicle