The James Dyson Foundation is supported by Dyson, Ltd., a British technology company known for manufacturing household products. The foundation’s mission is to inspire the next generation of design engineers:
The James Dyson Foundation provides the materials and mentorship that budding inventors need, so that they can get hands-on with problems, think differently, and find solutions.
The challenge cards cover:
- Changing states.
- Creating volcanoes.
- Measuring the speed of light.
- Making a barometer to predict the weather.
- Writing secret messages with invisible ink.
- Creating a geodesic dome.
- Building a spaghetti bridge.
- Constructing a boat that doesn’t sink.
- Racing a balloon-powered car.
- Building a compass.
- And 34 additional challenges!
The activities are aimed at ages 7 and up. The materials (and occasionally help) needed are laid out at the beginning of the challenge along with the purpose, method, and concluding “how it works” section. You will also find an occasional Design Icon section highlighting a known designer or concept.
Suggestions for Use
There are a total of 44 challenges. If you complete one each day, you will have enough for the remainder of the summer.
If you are brave (and likely to have most of the materials on hand), you can have your student choose a number between 1 and 44 and complete the challenge he chooses to add a bit of excitement.
But these challenges also make a great addition to your science program for elementary students! In that case by working through one challenge each week you will have enough material for two years (one science and one engineering) with room for holidays, vacations, etc.
Add in a science notebook to beef things up. Print and cut out the illustrations at the end of each challenge. Complement with biographies or further investigation of the Design Icons and other material where appropriate.
Science exploration and recording, along with reading biographies, is a great way to prepare younger students for higher-level science (the science that finally makes sense when the math catches up). These STEM Challenge cards are a great resource in this regard.