The house the kids built

Year 5 and 6 students at the Oatley Public School in Sydney were asked to build a sustainable house for Rex and Jemima, who are concerned about climate change. They wanted their home to be fun, comfortable, creative and sustainable.

Rex and Jemima may be fictional characters, but the challenge was real: how can a group of 9 and 10 year olds design a comfortable home that reduces waste, generates its own energy, produces its own food, and treads lightly on the environment?

Origin's Helena Lo showed them how.

Through our Give Time volunteering program and the CSIRO, Helena formed a partnership with classroom teachers, to deliver an interactive lesson on sustainability and technology innovation.

Helena, who has a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Education, likes seeing kids get excited about new innovations and then coming up with their own ideas.

"We looked at the fate of Earth if we continue on our current path: a very hot planet, loss of beautiful forests and landfill after landfill of smelly garbage. Basically, not what we want our future Earth to be"Helena Lo

Helena showed the students examples of innovations from around the world that can help us look after the planet better. Students were then asked to be 'pop-up innovators', to design a new sustainable home for Rex and Jemima.

The children couldn't wait to share their creative ideas, which included moveable solar panels, a moss bath mat to recycle water captured after a shower, and a backyard flying fox and trampoline to convert kinetic energy into power for the home's appliances.

'STEM Professionals in Schools' is a national volunteer program that facilitates partnerships between schools and industry. The Origin Foundation provides support through Origin volunteers who are now contributing their real-world experience to science, technology, engineering and maths programs of excellence.

Start your balloon and and solar powered engines!