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Year 5 pupils at St Saviour’s Juniors School in Larkhall, Bath, have been making and racing brush monsters as part of their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities.  

“I was inspired by the STEM projects I saw during a visit to the Cheltenham Science Festival and was keen to introduce them into her school,” explained Louise Holloway, a teacher at St Saviours who supported the activities.  “The idea of brush monsters comes from Caroline Alliston’s book Technology for Fun which covers 30 design and make projects.

“The workshops were run by engineers Mark Woolfrey and Catherine Gregory who are STEM ambassadors.  As engineers, Mark and Catherine are keen to introduce pupils of all ages to the varied roles available and to make science and engineering fun.”  

The day began with the children being presented with electrical components and then working in pairs to make and test simple electrical circuit.  The components were then attached to the brush, which vibrates, causing it to move.  The monsters were then decorated by each team.  

After some further testing and fine tuning, the monsters were raced and tested in a tug-o-war. Freddie, one of the pupils taking part, said, “It was such a good day because we were learning whilst having fun. The best bit was changing our designs to try make the brush monster go faster.”

Louise added, “From a teaching point of view, the experience gave the children the chance to meet engineers and hear about their careers, learn about simple electric circuits, work collaboratively, discuss move friction works and how the monsters they created can be modified to increase speed.”

If you know a school interested in holding a similar workshop please contact Louise on email hidden; JavaScript is required

Go to for more information on designer made projects for budding engineers.