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EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment: Resilience in a Changing World (FIBE2)


Build a beautiful Da Vinci bridge to cross a peaceful river, take it apart and reuse the parts to construct a house set in a delightful clearing surrounded by nature while learning about how to Reuse Materials to Save the Planet. That was the FIBE2 CDT game at Cambridge Festival 2023, a much awaited annual 2 weeks full of games, lectures, podcasts and events to inspire the young and the old based on the themes of Discovery, Environment, Health and Society. Designed for children from 6 years upwards, the kids got the FIBE2 game mission down to a T.  Once having mastered the trick to hook the pieces together, a bridge, a house, a skate-boarding ramp, a dinosaur,.... the sky’s the limit to the many creative designs they can build from the set.

“It took precision to delicately hook up the pieces to form the Da Vinci bridge and we were blown away how quickly and easily many of the kids mastered it. “                                                                                        - Cohort 4

A steady stream of eager families came with their little ones to try out the game on 25th March at an empty shop in Grand Arcade. The game was masterminded by the 10 students in Cohort 4 and involved many hours of planning, designing, and laser-cutting the Da Vinci bridge sets on wooden boards at Engineering’s Dyson Workshop. Spread around 8 tables in the Grand Arcade venue, Cohort 4 patiently demonstrated to the families how to cleverly hook the wooden sticks together to form the Da Vinci bridge and how to reuse the same materials to build a house while explaining about what it means to live in a world with limited materials.

There are limits to the number of trees we can cut down without harming ecosystems, the amount of land available for growing trees, and many other resources that go into making buildings. When you have limited materials, you don’t want to just throw away materials that have already been used for something. Often, you can reuse them to build something new! Design for disassembly means designing something so that it can easily be taken apart and reused, rearranged, or recycled.  

While handing out flyers for the game to the many shoppers in Grand Arcade, we inadvertently met up with many families who had just visited our shop and were absolutely delighted with the many enthusiastic feedback about how much they enjoyed the game. FIBE2 gave away 125 laser-cut Da Vinci bridge sets throughout the day.  

For the kids and their families, by playing the game, they learned about how to save the planet by reusing or recycling materials in construction. And they took away a beautifully laser-cut wooden game to play with at home. As for Cohort 4, who thoroughly enjoyed the outreach experience, they hope they’ve inspired many little ones to be Engineers of the future!


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