Small Is ... Challenge

Looking for a great challenge for ages 8-14?

Our Small Is...Challenge is based around Practical Action's founder E.F.Schumacher’s philosophy that small changes can lead to a big impact on people’s lives.

The challenge for students is to look at technologies from the last 100 years and invent a product that could help us all lead a more sustainable future.

Within the further information section, you find examples of students inspirational ideas and how to take the challenge further into regional and national events.


Our materials below provide all the support you'll need to run the challenge. 

For a free full colour copy of the 2 metre technology timeline - email 


Technology Timeline

PowerPoint presentation

An introductory PowerPoint for teachers to present Practical Action's Small Is...Challenge to pupils.

Student worksheets

Six copiable worksheets to support students involved with the challenge. They include research, design and homework activities sheets.


Small Is...Challenge certificates you can present to your students when they complete the challenge

To help students explore the concept of technology justice further we have range of short group activities

Technology Justice

Pupils consider their own needs and wants for technology then learn about Technology Justice - the global right to sustainable technologies

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Examples of students design ideas

So what next?

If your students have enjoyed the challenge, then why not reuse their challenge work to enter into  regional and international events.

Big Bang regional fairs

The regional Big Bang Fairs are fantastic days out with your students doing science and engineering activities.

Crest Awards

This activity is accredited by the British Science Association as suitable to count towards a CREST Star Investigators SuperStar award. For more information about the scheme please visit their website
To enter your key stage 3 students for a Bronze Crest award, your students will need to spend approximately ten hours developing their design ideas into a working model. 

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