• Thanks to an ingenious grant and support from several engineering companies, ech2o and a team of 25 engineers joined Frankie the flamingo and Clarence the crab as they brought their own brand of Think it, Build it, Test it engineering to school pupils aged 6-9.


  • In total 1,425 pupils across 46 workshops in 16 schools helped to solve ‘The mysterious case of the elephant that forgot’, and watched as Frankie and Clarence carried out a series of engineering projects, tested them and discovered how bad engineering can be improved. Then the class learnt more about friction and air pressure as they designed Frankie, Clarence and Ellie balloons and raced them off against each other.

  • The engineers were from a mixture of disciplines thus demonstrating to the pupils Clarence the crab’s ‘Important message from the Flamingo Investigation Department’ that “almost everything you can think of has been designed by some sort of engineer”. Of the 25 engineers that co-delivered the workshops, 17 were women engineers (68%), and 6 (24%) BAME engineers


  • STEM engineers were trained to stand like a flamingo, understand that there is no such thing as a wrong answer, but how to deal with one if it does turn up and whether clapping or counting down from five is the best way to get the attention of 30 excited school children who are waiting for the balloon races to begin.


  • Then, along with Cath Hassell of ech2o, they were let loose on the real thing, a one hour and fifteen minute workshop with 30 (occasionally 60!) 6-9 year olds that, for the pupils, combined being a detective with being an engineer – quite a challenging double role!

  • Schools were targeted that rated higher than average on the pupil premium index and where it was likely that many pupils weren’t aware of the role of engineers, didn’t know it could be fun or that they too could be engineers.


  • The engineers were a great hit and the workshops were a great success. 95% of all pupils had fun and were excited that they got their own copy of the book to take home. 92% of all pupils thought being an engineer sounded cool.


  • Feedback from teachers showed that over 95% of them thought that overall the workshop was Good or Very Good, that their pupils had enjoyed the workshop and learnt more about being an engineer.


  • Pupils learnt key scientific concepts involved in bridge, dam, road and parachute design and building, including push and pull, strong and weak, rough and smooth, friction, air pressure, gravity and that ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’.


  • Great to start with a story to capture the children’s attention. Thank you for the books! A lovely gesture. Year 3 teacher

  • Such a fun activity! The children all really enjoyed it and had a chance to explore engineering concepts together. Year 2 teacher


  • Great workshop with hands on and engaging activities. Children very excited to test out their inventions! Year 3 teacher

  • The Frankie books and workshop are awesome! I really enjoyed and benefitted from the training and it made workshop delivery with the children better. The children really look, listen and remember loads of Frankie’s adventures. It’s a fab way to introduce engineering, STEM etc. Participating engineer


  • It was great fun. The kid’s enthusiasm was awesome. Participating engineer


  • It was the best lesson ever! Year 3 pupil


  • Yes! Yes! Yes! Our balloon won! Loads of pupils from Years 2, 3 and 4 in very high pitched voices accompanied by lots of jumping up and down!!

We have secured funding to enable us to run these workshops again in 2023. If you would like your school to be involved please email us on: info@ech2o.co.uk

Frankie the flamingo does engineering: Think it! Build it! Test it!