Mark Champkins: Science Museum Inventor in Residence

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Mark Champkins: Science Museum Inventor in Residence

Let’s Learn

word count pencil

Mark Champkins is the inventor in residence at the Science Museum in London who creates products that can be bought in the museum shop and which are inspired by the museum’s collection. His aim is to create objects that publicise the museum which also engage people in science, engineering and design. One of Mark’s designs is the word count pencil which he used to write with and measured when he had written a thousand words which he then scaled up to create a measure on the pencil. He hopes this will prompt uses to think about how they might get more or less words out of the pencil than he did along with an interest in the process of writing itself. 


  • Visit Mark Champkins website to find out more about the products he has designed. Which are your favourites and why?
  • Find out more about Mark Champkins by reading this interview with him.
  • One of the quotes in the interview is from James Dyson who said ‘the age of invention isn’t dead, it just needs time’. Read more about what Dyson meant about this here.
  • In the interview Mark Champkins gives his opinion on what Dyson said. What is your opinion about Dyson’s comments?
  • Mark Champkins is also asked about how he thinks modern technologies have impacted on invention. Summarise the modern technologies you think will have the most impact on invention in the future.
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  • Visit the Science Museum in person (or visit the website). Use your visit to inspire the design of a product that might be sold in the museum shop. 
  • Download this #ThinkDo card on the word count pencil as well as another pencil that has maths times tables printed onto it (click on the image to see it in more detail). Teachers: Why not use this as a lesson starter? 

    Students: After you have done the activities on the card print it out as a revision card
    and use it to make revision notes on.

Other links

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Visit the online Science Museum shop and evaluate the types of products the museum sells. What inspiration from the museum might have been used when the product was designed?

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