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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Jelley

Inventions Inventions Inventions

What a fabulous day with Dulverton school which kicked off with ‘The Inventors Fair’ out on the school fields.

‘Roll up, Roll up, the inventors fair is here’.

‘Come see the miraculous, the incredible, the fan-tab-u-lous’ announced the Orator from his tiny wooden podium. He then leans forward and whispers to you ‘I know that fantabulous is not a word, but this is an inventors fair and if you can’t invent a few words here and there, then what’s the point, ay!’ His moustache twitches in excitement which seems to accentuate the shiny baldness of his head.

Dulverton Middle school's yrs 5 and 6 listen in, unsure of what to make of the spectacle, but the story reveals all, and the pupils in their small groups huddle round eager to find out what happens next. Each group has a single iPad to share, with directions and story all installed, it sends them across the field to trigger chapters and discover the inventions and inventors hidden there. But all is inside the story, which is rigged to reveal only when the pupils are themselves in the correct location.

The bottom gate was where ‘The Toffee Apple Machine’ was located, an incredible invention which made Toffee Apples from live bugs!, the Forest School, a wood at the bottom of the field had an invention called ‘The Super Splice Device’ tagged to it. This ingenious device combined a zebra and a daffodil to make a daffodil with striped flutes!

In other locations around the field there was ‘The Boot-O-Matic’ and a ‘Human Snow Globe’ to name but a few, each story revealed only in its specifed spot, where the groups had to venture in able to read. One inventor was even selling ‘ible-dibbles’ better known as memory pills, but they were really rabbit droppings, which the pupils thought was a brilliant invention! And all this is in a story hidden around the school field, to read, the pupils literally run to reveal the text then share the reading of the story.

Then it’s back into the class room, first to clean up (bit muddy today - sorry!) and then its time to start inventing our own contraptions, a fire frog (the home pet for lighting your fires), the cow-taculous machine (a sophisticated milking robot!), but my favourite was The Tie Tying Robot who ends up strangling one of the visitors! The pupils then wrote these into the Storywalk Engine, displacing much of the original Storywalk tale, at which point we went back outside to do the walk a second time, but this time the inventions at the fair were designed by Dulverton Middle school pupils. The bottom gate revelaed ‘The Auto Celeb’ and the tennis courts held the ‘Portable Gaming’. It was a totally full day of creative reading, writing and imagination tickling activities.

A second day of creative reading and writing is planned mid March, and who knows what will happen then.

Mr Jelley travels all over the UK to do Storywalks© but loves to work more locally in his home county of Somerset, get in touch and invite him in to your school

Here is a little extract from The Rain-Party Machine

The slide was crazy it swirled around like rope.

The rainbow slide looked like you could cut it in half but actually it was as hard as steel and at the bottom there was a pot of gold surrounded by brambles.

Then the most incredible thing happened the machine started suddenly, bubbles were shooting, balloons were flying, food was steaming and children were laughing. But then the most amazing thing happened, as four children jumped onto the rainbow slide and shot down it almost flying, until at last they reached the bottom and landed in the pot of gold!

This is an extract from The Tie Tying Robot

As you aproach the colourful tent, school children are running to the stall, all of them with ties undone. With a pang of guilt, you realise that your tie is undone.

Then the most incredible thing happened all of the schoolchildren's ties are done up! A lady moves aside and you see the tie tying robot. You think you should have a go because your tie is undone. You walk up to it and stand in front of it.

All of a sudden, some one pushes you out of the way. Then the robot starts to tie the tie, but after it is done, you realise that it is too tight. You watch as he turns from white to red to blue, his eyes bulge, his body going rigid. After 30 seconds, he slumps in his chair. Dead. You quickly leave the tent.


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