Ethical & sustainable clothes detector game & lessons

This award winning ethical and sustainable clothes detector invention and game is teaching children and adults alike about the link between fast fashion and climate change.  Through our environmental education programme this year the invention has visited 40 primary schools in West Sussex, where we delivered free assemblies and lessons. We have also used the detector as part of clothes and climate change sessions in children’s groups and public events and delivered talks to adult groups around the subject.

Who invented such a game? Seven pupils from the William Penn Primary School in Coolham are responsible for this great green invention, which won a national award  at the Better Energy School Awards at London Zoo.One hundred and fifty-nine schools entered the Awards, run by the Young People’s Trust for the Environment and 21,350 children were involved in the school projects. The judges selected a winner for the North, Scotland, Southern/Central and Wales/West. The William Penn School won the Southern/Central region, they received a shield and £1000 for their school.

The William Penn Green I.T. team consisting of six 10 year old pupils and one 11 year old, who attended an after school club run by Carrie Cort from Sussex Green Living and Phil Bellas a parent and governor at the William Penn and former I.T. teacher.  The team were challenged to use a credit card sized computer and £100 budget to make an invention which could save the planet.

Carrie’s 10 year old son Adam, one of the team members and WSCT winner of their Friend of the Environment Award explained “We discussed lots of ideas, eventually deciding to create an invention and game to show people the environmental problems with the fashion industry”. He continued “We researched the subject using IT, geography, science, English and citizenship skills, including Scratch, barcodes, clothes miles, shipping, crude oil, climate change, clothes materials, water use and electricity”.

Their invention, uses unwanted wine boxes to create a traffic light system, a barcode scanner, Raspberry Pi, LED lights and a Scratch programme, plus two donated display panels and a collection of T shirts. People read information about the five different T shirts then attach a red, amber and green star to the T shirts, to indicate which is the most environmentally friendly, OK and the least environmentally friendly.

Two of the team members created an infographic illustrating the shocking 31,000 nautical mile journey of a cotton t shirt. The team delivered a professional and confident presentation on stage in front of famous actors and children’s authors, MPs and about 200 children from three other schools, winners of each regional competition.

The William Penn award was given by Andy Stanton children’s author, best known for Mr Gum. Jeremy Quin MP for Horsham also attended to learn about their work and commend the children for their amazing achievement. Another of the Green I.T. members Charlie Bamsey said “My favourite part of the day was meeting all the celebrities including Naomi from CBBC and Jeremy Quin our MP. We were allowed to go around London Zoo, I really enjoyed seeing the animals”.

Carrie closed by saying “I am extremely proud of the Green I.T. team members, some of them have been attending my William Penn Green Club since they were 6. Their ‘Go for Green detector’ is conveying a powerful message in schools and events throughout West Sussex. Without their blue sky thinking this fun upcycled game would not have been invented. They are an inspiration to us all”.

This totally unique award-winning invention which reveals the shocking facts and highlights how the fast fashion industry is the 2nd most polluting industry, second only to fossil fuel.

It is available as an interactive educational stand visiting STEM Fairs and public events, clearly highlighting the link between the fast fashion industry and climate change.

To learn more about the FREE school textile eco warrior assemblies and lessons visit The sustainable and ethical clothes detector will be at the Kinder Living Show, County Hall North, Horsham on Saturday 2nd March and Sunday 3rd March 2019 as part of the Horsham Repair Cafe, another Sussex Green Living community outreach initiative.  It will also be at the Sussex Green Living Share, Care and Repair Fair, Horsham Carfax/market as part of the Horsham District Year of Culture, on Saturday 6th July 2019, more information to follow soon.

We have just been awarding a Rampion Offshore Wind grant to deliver environmental assemblies and lessons in 30 primary schools in Worthing and Lancing. We are also continuing to offer free assemblies and lessons in other parts of West Sussex. Please contact us if you would like our brochure and booking form or want to discuss details and dates.

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“Inspiring sustainable living in Sussex”