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Building a Better World

22 Mar 2023
By Sandra Hedblad, Head of Learning

A free primary school workshop that explored sustainable building materials. The sessions were linked to the Built Environment Trust’s Homegrown: Building a Post-Carbon Future exhibition. 

The session looked at how bio-based, recycled and natural materials can help reduce waste in the UK, where currently 62% comes from the construction industry.

In the session, the pupils rotated between three hands-on activities.

First, they learned about the four natural ingredients in cob: mud, straw, sand and water.

As part of the activity, the pupils made their own cob brick. 

Then, they took on our ‘Match the Materials’ challenge, where they analysed whether a material was made from something recycled, living or found in the ground. 

The materials ranged from tiles made from coffee grounds and recycled ceramics, such as toilets and sinks, building insulation made from mycelium, bricks made up of 90% recycled bricks and cement, playground surfacing made from old car tyres, and several other surprising and innovative solutions. 

Lastly, the pupils used their creativity to imagine a recycled material they would like to build a house from such as recycled fridges, plastic bottles, old chewing gum and much, much more. 

The session received positive comments from both teachers and pupils. Extracts from the teacher feedback forms included:

“Very engaging and a great mix of activities.”

“Children thoroughly enjoyed all the activities. They learnt SO much. And so did I!”

“Kids creative talents are being recognised and complimented.”  

“Really well organised, well resourced, welcoming and inclusive.”

“Creative and hands-on + people passionate and friendly.”

Thank you to all the schools who came and who invited us to visit them. This was a Built Environment Trust project developed and delivered with MATT+FIONA.

We hope to run more sessions in the future, to be added to our waiting list and to find out when more dates become available, sign up for our newsletter or email Sandra Hedblad, Head of Learning



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