A prosthetic eye that can see, a ‘help button’ that can trigger a call to the police and an electric Concorde.

These are just some of the 3D solutions to everyday problems that have been designed by Year 7 students at Futures Institute Banbury.

Their project coincides with the start of British Science Week which ends on March 14th. It will conclude with one invention chosen to be 3D printed in the school’s Creator Space which is filled with the latest technology from lasers and cutters to Virtual Reality headsets.

The students have worked in groups allowing them to not only apply their knowledge but also learn how to collaborate and work as a team.

The pupils were also recently given an insight into how 3D printing is used by Formula One. Former Futures student Jenniphier Williams gave a virtual presentation about the 3D printing she saw being carried out to create cars when she was there for work experience.

Year 7 Futures student Seion Champkins

Commenting on the experience, Seion Champkins, 12, team leader of the group overseeing the bicycle Mirror X project told the Banbury Guardian: ‘’We all love Science, Engineering and Maths at Futures and this project has allowed us to combine all these different elements and apply them to a real world problem. We’ve all loved working as a group and we’ve all got on so well.’’

Some 18 years after Concorde’s last flight, Baylee Offley, 12, and his team came up with the idea of bringing back the supersonic airplane – by creating an electric version.

Explaining why he is passionate about his idea, Baylee said: ‘’I’m really into the Concorde and supersonic flight. I’ve also enjoyed working with my team on this idea – we’ve all worked really well together.’’

The list of projects includes a solar powered car, a Helping Button that triggers a call to the police, Mirror X, a bike mirror that can dim, light up and has sensors and indicators, a prosthetic eye that can help blind people see, and the electric Concorde. 

Futures is part of the Aspirations Academies Trust and the projects follows the Trust’s unique No Limits Year 7 curriculum. This involves students applying what they have learnt in the classroom to real-world projects that cross subject disciplines, known as Applied Transdisciplinary Learning (ATL). Teamwork, idea collaboration and creating projects that address real world situations are key aspects of ATL.

Year 7 Futures student, Baylee Offley

Dr Cat Pickup, Director of Project-based Learning at Futures Institute, said: ‘’Futures is a very inclusive environment where all our students can excel in STEM subjects.

‘’Our Year 7 ATL lessons currently involve designing 3D solutions to world problems. This is one of the projects that appeals to students who care about important world issues. The innovative lessons engage students by starting with their interests, allows them to work to their strengths and challenges them to grow their presentation skills.

“I’m so proud of how the students have worked together on line, managing to show teamwork despite the challenges of being in their own homes. The Electric concorde team stunned me with their group effort to present Baylee’s ingenious ideas to the whole class in the live on live event. I can’t wait to be back in school and to learn from them how to animate exploding engineering drawings.”