Gadgets to inspire - a start to British Science Week at Little Thetford Church of England Primary School

This charming school, tucked into the fens between Cambridge and Ely, welcomed our John Willis to start their Science Week with an exploration of the gadgets he uses to overcome the barriers he faces in everyday life.

John demonstrated how he eats – messily when he first learned the art of flicking ice cream into his mouth! ; how he dresses, with his low-tech but invaluable hook (see image above); how he drives; and how he walks, with his robot-like feet.  The four classes each had a different presentation and were able to ask questions according to their age, from “How do you brush your teeth?” through to “How to you go to the toilet?!”

John then showed off some of the equipment he used for his Road2Rio challenge in 2016: his artificial left arm and paddle for kayaking, his fencing foil, his badminton racket held by an artificial right hand, and a tennis racket.

They all liked learning how John swims.  This was ably demonstrated by one of the teachers – see photo to the right – and captivated the pupils!  With short arms (imitated by hands being on shoulders) and knees being kicked together (knees, not feet, as John has no feet) John lies on his back and pushes the water away.  Slow but effective.

The children were enthralled and excited.  It certainly sparked their imagination as they considered that there really is nothing we cannot do if we use our knowledge and practice and persevere.

The head teacher, Mr Wallace, made John most welcome and committed to a PowerHouseGames in the summer, if the funding could be found – we will make it happen!