WAGING PEACE – Creating a Peace Machine for the MOD Museum

This 3D printed necklace is designed and printed by the Year 9 Design and Technology students at Wilderness School. It was selected as an exhibit at the MOD Waging Peace Event in Adelaide.


The Waging Peace Event at MOD in Adelaide asked the question, about how to’ proactively and aggressively pursue peace’. This question provided the impetus for Wilderness students to design possible solutions.

What might a machine for peace look like?

This challenging, real-world question was put to school students across the state, by MOD, at the University of South Australia. Our students were invited to contribute 2D or 3D designs and machines to be considered for the future-focused museum’s current exhibition Waging Peace.

MOD aims to bring together science, technology, art and innovation, and to provoke new ideas and inspire youth.

Year 6 & 7 Extended Curriculum Program (ECP)

The Year 6 ECP and Year 7 ECP classes began exploring this topic by viewing Gill Hicks TED talk, where she speaks about the lessons she learnt from surviving the 2005 London terrorist bombings. Reflecting on Gill’s message, a Year 7 student commented,

“It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re rich or poor, male or female, we are all human. We need to love one another and that is the most important thing for humanity. If we all love each other we will find peace.”

The students then identified problems associated with peace by discussing questions including:

  • Does everyone need to agree with each other for peace to exist?
  • Is economic prosperity necessary for peace?
  • Is equality necessary for peace?
  • How has technology throughout history, either enabled or inhibited peace?

They were challenged to brainstorm a list of basic statements that all parties would agree on in a conflict. To begin mapping ideas about peace, the groups identified barriers to peace in themselves, their close relationships, the school community, their neighbourhood, Australian society and the world.

The girls examined the Pillars of Peace put forward by the Institute for Economics and Peace, then individually ranked each of the eight pillars, in order of what they believe is most important to the creation or development of peace. They listened to one another’s choices, justified their selections and made changes to their thinking.

Year 9 Design Technology Class

The Peace Machine challenge gave the Year 9 Design Technology students an opportunity to use the design thinking process and to develop their computer-aided design (CAD) skills to produce a 3D prototype of a ‘peace machine’. Students had to understand the problems connected to war that needed to be solved using the Pillars of Peace document.

People were put at the heart of the design process as students explored possible solutions, narrowing down possibilities through the process of empathy, ideation and prototyping solutions.

The Year 9 students produced designs for a water- filter straw in response to the problem of water scarcity, toys and messages of hope for refugee children and a handheld solar-powered fan for people living in hot cramped conditions.

The 3D printed product selected by MOD and showcased in their gallery space at the Waging Peace opening included the students’ design brief about the politics and human rights- the issue of separated families and their solution, entitled the ‘u-necklace’, that helps reunite lost children with their families when the two sections of the necklace are connected.

Further ideas that were developed by Wilderness students, included a machine to listen to a stranger’s heart-beat, a mobile robotic library and a hydraulic machine to distribute resources more equitably.

Thirty-four Wilderness students and four teachers attended the launch of the Waging Peace exhibition on November 25. His Royal Highness, The Duke of York, opened the event and spoke about the power of technology to bring people together and connect us.

“An exhibit I thought was interesting was the different games which were being showcased around peace. They were showing that not all video games are bad, or addictive, and can help with issues when approached correctly.”

“The sleep area was thought provoking. I thought that the idea that sleep can help with peace was an interesting take on how peace can be fixed and maybe what peace is.” 

The exhibition explores ways to propagate peace by harnessing innovation and new technologies and machine designs from South Australian students are on display until April 2019.

“I think there are multiple purposes to the Waging Peace exhibition. One purpose is to show the ways that modern technology and understanding is being used to explore the idea of peace, and improve people’s lives in new and innovative ways. A second purpose is to get the message out that peace is possible, in many different forms.” 


This post continues on from my previous post about a conversation with Yong Zhao about creating products that contribute to society.

Hicks, G. (2016) I survived a terrorist attack. Here is what I learned.


Institute for Economics and Peace. (2013). Pillars of Peace.


MOD. https://mod.org.au/

This post was written for Wilderness Times magazine by Ann Rooney and Alison Short

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