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Celebrating invention

With the annual Design and Technology Week looming, now is the time for teachers to get in touch with their inventiveness to come up with ways of bringing the subject into the spotlight.

Fancy staging your own Scrapheap Challenge in the school car park, or even an inter-class Robot Wars? No problem - just do it in the name of DT Week. Although the main purpose of the week is to celebrate pupils'

achievements in the subject, it also serves as a useful vehicle for pupils to work together across year groups or partner schools to develop their own DT challenges.

Many engineering and design-based companies are keen to support schools in this initiative and will often invite interested groups on to their premises to see them in action.

Co-ordinated by the Design and Technology Association (DATA), national DT week sprung from a conversation in 1999 between the then chief executive of DATA, Andy Breckon, and then president of the National Association of Advisers and Inspectors in Design and Technology (NAAIDT), Bob Welch, about initiating a national festival to celebrate pupils' work.

Initially planned as a single day, it has quickly grown to be a week each year when schools can showcase their work and organise special events.

Teachers at primary and secondary level can take their inspiration from past DT Week activities which have seen a group of students in Leicestershire working with systems engineer Roland Beverley to design and build a hovercraft; primary pupils from more than 30 schools in Staffordshire spent three days working together to build their own robotic devices from timber, card, glue, motors and gearboxes; and a group of seven to 10-year-olds in Boston, Lincolnshire, explored the meaning of "movement" by developing their own aeroplanes and rockets.

This year's DT Week runs from June 20-24. Teachers should look out for a flyer being sent to all schools and at the DATAwebsite.

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