MP praised achievements of local schoolchildren at Discovery Museum’s New Inventors Showcase
25 March 2019
Year four pupils from Wingrove Primary School in Fenham, Newcastle presented their invention ideas in front of an audience, which included Member of Parliament for Newcastle Central, Chi Onwurah, and local councillor, Jamie Driscoll alongside science and engineering professionals, at Discovery Museum on Friday 1 March.
The New Inventors Showcase was the culmination of a weeklong school residency with the museum’s second Inventor in Residence, Matt Wright aka Magnetic Matt. Inspired by the region’s longstanding contribution to the generation and use of power, such as the invention of the National Grid, local schoolchildren worked with Matt to look at ideas around the generation of renewable and sustainable energy.
This project is part of New Inventors: Inventors in Residence, Discovery Museum’s broader residency programme working with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) practitioners to deliver an innovative school and events programme to spark imagination and inspire a new generation of inventors, designers and makers. New Inventors was made possible thanks to a grant from the Platten Family Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.
Carolyn Ball, Manager of Discovery Museum, said: “At Discovery Museum we aim to ignite the curiosity and creativity of young minds through our collections and hands-on learning programme. What struck me most at the Showcase was the young group’s enthusiasm and desire to learn and participate in the science challenges. This reinforces our belief that you can positively influence attitudes towards STEM at this impressionable age, and encourage aspirations to study or work in this field.”
Matt Wright, current Inventor in Residence said: “Today's society faces huge challenges, and learning about how the things around us work can help us to help find solutions. It was a joy to work with the intelligent pupils at Wingrove Primary, who I hope will continue to be curious about the world around them.”
Guests of honour were engineer and local philanthropist Tony Platten and Chi Onwurah, a former electrical engineer, who both captivated the pupils around the value of STEM learning and the impact these young children could make to their own lives, and the future of the planet.
Tony Platten said: “When I inspected the projects developed by the young class, the excitement that the pupils displayed in describing their work was inspiring! They could not get the words out of their mouths quick enough. I hope this work will encourage some of them to consider engineering, in all its forms, as a potential career in the future.”
In addition to the school residency, Inventor In Residence, Matt has used the museum’s collection, including world firsts from Joseph Swan (incandescent light bulb); Charles Parsons (steam turbine); William Armstrong (domestic hydro generator), to devise an electrifying series of family events exploring the power of wind and water. Visit discoverymuseum.org.uk for event details.
Funding is in place for Discovery Museum to recruit one more STEM practitioner this spring - to carry out a third school residency. This opportunity will be announced shortly via discoverymuseum.org.uk