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Dyson gives budding inventors at Lawn Manor Academy a helping hand

Budding inventors at Lawn Manor Academy in Swindon have been learning how to use engineering to combat air pollution, thanks to support from the James Dyson Foundation.

James Dyson believes that engineers have the potential to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems, like air pollution.

A mission of his Foundation is to inspire young people and encourage engineering education across classrooms around the country. The charity creates free engineering educational resources, with the help of Dyson engineers, to support teachers from primary through to secondary age groups.

Lawn Manor Academy is one of the first schools in the UK to partner with the James Dyson Foundation in hosting its new air pollution-themed workshop during lesson time, led by Dyson engineers.

Dyson engineer Ben Edmonds led the workshop, challenging students to build solutions to air pollution.

Ben began by explaining some of the problems that air pollution causes, and how engineers at Dyson are working to find various solutions to the different types of air contamination.

The pupils were then split into teams to sketch and mind-map their own solutions to air pollution. Once they completed this section of the workshop, they were then challenged to build prototypes of their ideas, using cardboard, tape and Dyson parts provided by the James Dyson Foundation.

Once they had completed their prototypes, the pupils presented their ideas to the rest of the group and were given feedback and ideas for improvement and development by Ben.

The prototypes produced included a street lamp that is powered by solar panels, takes in polluted air and filters it and uses LED lamps to reduce light pollution, and a public toilet that extracts stale air and purifies it.

Ben, principal engineer at Dyson, said he was extremely impressed with the breadth, depth and quality of the ideas produced in a short period of time.

“I was hugely impressed with the dedication, focus and passion of the students. These students will be living in the future we all create today, so we need to do everything to equip them to solve the challenges that we aren’t even aware of yet.

“The James Dyson Foundation air pollution workshop aims to plant inventive seeds in talented young minds, encouraging them to find solutions to problems that matter to them.”

Freya Koza, assistant head of maths at Lawn Manor Academy, which is part of the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Trust, said the workshop had been inspirational for the pupils.

“Understanding the theory behind engineering is of course essential, but having a practical masterclass from an engineer at one of the UK’s top innovative companies was amazing,” said Mrs Koza.

“Taking an idea from the page through to building a prototype was a fantastic experience for our pupils, and the enthusiasm and creativity in the room was really exciting.

“I think we have several budding inventors and engineers at the school who are likely to go far in their fields, thanks to the much-appreciated support by the James Dyson Foundation.”

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