TeenTech – “City of Tomorrow” – A Case Study

TeenTech are a charity who promote STEM skills amongst young people using imaginative programmes that focus on social need. 

In the Autumn of 2020, Ascot Racecourse sponsored TeenTech’s virtual “City of Tomorrow” initiative via its community fund administered by Berkshire Community Foundation. Three disadvantaged schools in Slough were invited to participate. 

The Brief – “Smarter, Kinder, Safer” 
Individually or in small teams, students were tasked to design and construct architectural models of buildings to sit on the footprint of an A4 card. Together they develop ideas for the connected city and consider how to use technology and the internet on things to improve how we will live, work and play in the future. Materials used to build project models should be recycled or cost no more than £10 if bought specially. 

Participating Schools & Projects Submitted: 

Slough & Eton CofE Business & Enterprise College 
Years 7&8 - 14 groups -approx. 360 pupils 
Number of projects submitted: 17 
Castleview Primary School 
Year 6 - 2 groups, approx. 60 pupils 
Number of projects submitted: 21 
Godolphin Junior Academy 
Years 5 &6 - 4 groups, approx. 240 pupils 
Number of projects submitted: 23 

Showcase Event 
The City of Tomorrow Slough Virtual Showcase took place on Wednesday, 16th December 2020 and included 49 projects across all three schools. The quality was amazing and the pupils’ enthusiasm and creativity shone through! TeenTech were thrilled to have so many projects and short video clips submitted. Hosts for this occasion were Maggie Philbin, Dallas Campbel, alongside industry expert guests George Vaughan (Ascot Racecourse) Jo Hartnell and Michael Chung (both from Atkins Global). 

Additional business ambassadors joined from BT, Atkins, SNC Lavalin across the previous weeks – being introduced at the first session to encourage questions to be sent in from pupils, and then again at the feedback session where they gave personalised feedback about each project and answered questions. 

Teamwork 
The project offered a great opportunity for the children to work in teams; something students enjoyed according to feedback received. It also allowed for a range of important skills to be shared and developed, including leadership, communication, creativity, planning, organisation and conflict resolution. 

Impact 
In total 660 pupils benefited from this programme. 

Both Slough & Eton and Godolphin Schools felt that pupils’ creativity and communication skills had been developed as a result of taking part. Godolphin also felt that their application of knowledge (Science, Tech and Design) had developed well. 

In terms of seeing pupils participating/engaging with the activities more than usual, and demonstrating greater articulation and confidence, the teacher from Godolphin said: 

“Overall the children had an amazing experience. They picked their groups and really thought hard about the task. It was great to see some of my less confident children come to light! I have two children in my class, who usually miss out on the group activities, as they are resource based, so at the start I was not sure they would be able to participate and engage. But they surprised me! Not only did they share ideas within the group, they were so animated when discussing their project with the class. So much knowledge of the local area and people came out during the conversations. It was definitely a memorable experience for them all.” 

Castleview Primary were keen to develop Career Related Learning (CRL) in their school and discussions have taken place as to ways to build on this City of Tomorrow project across the school - community and activities could be great ways to raise the profile of CRL and links with the world of work. 

It was amazing how the pupils in this school were encouraged to apply electronics in a practical way within their projects! 

Feedback from Pupils: 
What did you enjoy /learn from the project? 
  • Have enjoyed coming up with own designs, could be creative. We improved team skills. We learned how to build different things / skills you need.
  • I have enjoyed thinking about creative solutions to fix the problems we face in the 21st century, dreaming up quirky technology that could exist in the future and assembling my project from recycled items. I have learned that there are sustainable ways to create energy and also that we can recycle our own waste and reuse contaminated water filtering it multiple times.
  • …I have learnt that in the future that things are going to be much worse if we didn't do anything about our environment . However, now's our chance to make it way better with our building!
  • We have learnt that teamwork makes the dream work and we have been kinder to our only home (earth) because there is no planet B... 

If you would like to find out more about this programme, visit: TeenTech City of Tomorrow