Design Technology / School Trips / Textiles

Year 8 visit the Victoria & Albert Museum

A group of 30 students from Year 8 were recently chosen to go on a DT trip to the Victoria and Albert museum in London. The trip was about designing, planning and making our own inventions using common household items.

When we arrived, we looked around the museum, and we saw old jewellery and paintings. There we learnt a few facts about the Victorian way of life and what they wore. We saw small sculptures which also dated to around the Victorian era, which were interesting as we could explore their interests and compare modern art to theirs.

We were then taken into a workshop and told how the day would continue. We sat in groups and were each assigned a task. In these groups, we were told to create kitchen equipment and tools to cook a certain meal. However, these inventions had to be entirely our own ideas, and they had to be made from scrap materials.

Before starting the design process, we were taken outside into an exhibit which displayed kitchen inventions which were once used as typical tools, to give us some inspiration as to what we were supposed to be doing and what we could possibly try to make. It was very fascinating to see what Victorians and Tudors used to use in their kitchen, and what clever inventions people had used before technology existed.

The inventions we had to make ourselves had to be able to execute various parts of the production of some Victorian dishes like Victoria Sandwich and tea, and Mock Turtle Soup and bread. The items we were allowed to use included things like plastic spoons, wooden sticks, plastic cups, string, tape, straws and combs. Often, our inventions would have to complete two tasks at once, for example to pour a ‘glug’ of wine and measure a ‘pinch’ of salt or chop up some meat and peel a boiled egg at the same time. Therefore, we worked in pairs in our tables of six as this way we could create separate inventions to use at each key stage of the food production.

At break time, since it was a bright, hot day so we sat outside in the courtyard to eat our packed lunch. Many of us took off our shoes and socks to play in the fountain after eating, which was very refreshing in the heat.

After returning to the workshop, we finished our inventions and then worked together to discuss our final presentation with the rest of the class. We decided that we should have one spokesperson per pair and the other member would demonstrate the invention whilst it was explained. We came up with silly names for our inventions, as we had seen in the examples of old kitchen inventions.

We watched other people’s presentations and many of the inventions were complex, professional and very intelligent. Some were funny which made people laugh and some didn’t work at all and fell apart during the presentation! The atmosphere was very happy and everyone was having a good time.

When presentations had finished we went to the shop before getting the train back home.

I think that overall, people had a good time and it was a very enjoyable experience. I really enjoyed myself and I think it was good as we got the opportunity to do things that we would not be able to do at school.

By H and Ruby, year 8.