button_XLwalesThe Ove Arup Foundation supported the Invention & Discovery Roadshow — an initiative to enthuse children and adults in primary schools and community groups in Wales about science, mathematics, design and technology.

The Roadshow, brainchild of Swansea-based educational charity XLWales, offered participants a choice of two types of challenge.

‘Invention’ challenges set the task of designing and building an invention to achieve a specific purpose, such as a car to transport two bears or a helicopter made using K’NEX.

‘Discovery’ challenges called on the children to make a discovery, often following an investigation, for example into those properties of materials or objects that render them useful, or exploring the nature of light, sound or electricity.

The challenges were well resourced, operating at three levels of difficulty within each age range, and are linked to National Curriculum Key Stages. The Roadshow also works in an out-of-school setting, visiting children’s clubs and family events developing skills in innovation, problem-solving, investigation, communication and team-working.

Roadshows have been visiting primary schools and community groups throughout South Wales since 1996. In 2003 nearly 40,000 children and 2,500 adults benefited from Roadshow visits, which many schools and groups now book on a regular basis.

In 2004, the Foundation’s Trustees agreed to extend support for the Roadshow by providing a total of £9,000 over a further three-year period to 2006. XLWales is dedicated to bringing about an enterprise and innovation culture in Wales; you can find out more about the organisation, its Roadshows and other activities by visiting www.xlwales.org.uk.