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Big idea kickstarts Grace’s future career

Olivia Jenkins, November 26, 2020 7:00PM Kids News

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Young inventor Grace Howard has won a big prize for her "kick me pedestrian button". Picture: Rob Leeson media_cameraYoung inventor Grace Howard has won a big prize for her "kick me pedestrian button". Picture: Rob Leeson


Reading level: green

A young inventor can now bring her idea to life after it caught the attention of some of Australia’s brightest minds and scored her a big cash prize to help make it happen.

Grace Howard, a grade three student at Malvern Primary School in Victoria, designed her ‘kick me pedestrian button’ to sit at the bottom of traffic light poles so pedestrians can limit the spread of germs by kicking the button instead of using their hands.

“This way people can kick the button easier and not touch it,” she said.

Grace’s health-focused invention saw her take out the top $10,000 prize of Origin’s Little Big Idea competition that will help make her idea a reality in her local community.

The eight-year-old said she couldn’t wait to put some of her winnings into making the button while saving some for her future.

“I’m really excited to get started and I feel very lucky to save some,” Grace said.

Dr Jordan Nguyen, who was a member of the panel of experts that hand-picked Grace’s button as the Victorian winner, said her invention was a practical solution to the spread of germs during the pandemic.

“Grace’s idea shows a high level of practical thinking in response to a problem that really emerged* during COVID-19, impacting Australians and global populations,” Dr Nguyen said.

“It’s fantastic to see Grace showcasing her thoughtfulness* and imagination through Origin’s Little Big Idea,” he said.

Grace’s mum, Jasmine Howard, said the win has put her on her dream career path.

“We were so excited because she wants to be a scientist when she grows up,” Ms Howard said.

Grace is one of three national winners chosen from more than 2000 entries.


  • emerged: became known
  • thoughtfulness: quality of thinking carefully and about others


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  1. What did Grace think of?
  2. What is the problem she was solving?
  3. How old is Grace?
  4. Which competition did her idea win?
  5. What was the prize?


1. Be an Inventor
Can you think of an invention that would be just as great as Grace’s idea?

Write a description or create a design for your own Little Big Idea.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity 
Curriculum Links: English, Design and Technologies

2. Extension
If you were given $10,000 to do something that would make a big difference in your local community, what would it be? Imagine that this is the topic for a competition. First prize is $10,000 that will be used to carry out your idea. Write a letter that will describe your idea, why it will make a big difference,  help your community and why your idea should win.

Time: allow at least 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Civics and Citizenship

Marketing Agent Wanted
Grace is going to need to market her bright idea to local council and traffic management centre. Create an advertisement in any format (TV/radio or print/digital media) to market Grace’s idea. Remember the ideal outcome of an advertisement, is to persuade the audience to like/buy your product or idea. You will need to focus on emotive and persuasive language in your pitch.

Read your pitch aloud to a partner to see what they think and to check how it sounds.

Don’t forget your neat handwriting and your VCOP skills.

Extra Reading in technology