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Dyson kids learning resources

Dyson devises more design and technology activities for kids in lockdown

Following on from the success of its lockdown challenge cards earlier this year, the company has released a new set of learning resources this time focused on air pollution.

The James Dyson Foundation has unveiled a second set of learning resources for children still in lockdown, with the activities this time around focusing on air pollution.

Earlier this year as lockdown measures were implemented, Dyson released a series of 44 Challenge Cards, which aimed to provide children and their families with ample stimulation while school gates remained shut to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Dyson was not the only one looking to entertain the nation’s children, with design institutions like the V&A also offering challenges for kids, based on their extensive archive. And back in March, designers told Design Week how they were using their own creative skills to keep little ones occupied.

While some children have since returned to school, others have not. This, coupled with the incoming summer holidays, has prompted Dyson to once again offer a solution.

A workbook, video experiments and downloadable posters

These latest resources focus on the issue of air pollution and how design, technology and engineering can be used in response to the challenge.

The Student Pack, which Dyson says is adaptable for both home learning and teacher-led learning at school, is comprised of a workbook, video experiments and downloadable posters. A separate pack has also been devised for teachers and parents, which acts as a supporting guide.

Beginning with what the problem of air pollution is, the pack takes learners through the different causes, ranging from volcanoes and forest fires, to the likes of agriculture, transport and urbanisation. It then asks children to consider where they might be exposed to air pollution in their own lives.

Conversations beyond the classroom

From here the resource turns to Dyson’s own research in the field with a product analysis of the Dyson Pure Cool purifying fan.

“By hearing how Dyson engineers approached the problem and the products that resulted, students will understand how science and engineering can be applied to tackle pollution,” says Dyson senior category development engineer Jess Rowley. “They can then begin to address these issues in conversations beyond the classroom and hopefully consider engineering as a possible career.”

Rowley and other design engineers from Dyson host videos talking through the design of the product and experiments with its technology.

There are many possible solutions

The final section gives children the chance to find their own solution, with lessons sectioned into three stages: design, build and test.

Learners are asked to build a prototype using easy-to-find materials like cardboard, tape and glue which answers the brief: “Design a product that will solve the problem of air pollution in your school or home environment, or on your journey to school.”

They are able to draw on previous innovations in this field, with examples given as the Smog-Free Tower and bikes of China, and the James Dyson Award finalist Caeli project, which aims to improve the quality of life in Delhi and takes the form of a six-layer face mask.

This final task, Rowley says, is an opportunity for students to learn in “an applied way”: “Whether this is experimenting with the Challenge Cards using common household objects, or through more thorough product analysis to understand global issues, such as the new air pollution resource.

“Air pollution is a worldwide issue and, just like other global problems, there are many possible solutions,” she says.

By Molly Long – Design Week

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