The final event took place during British Science Week 2017 (10th-19th March), a nationwide celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
For the third consecutive year, BP, STEM Learning and the Science Museum hosted the Ultimate STEM Challenge final as part of a nationwide schools competition inviting students aged 11-14 to put their STEM skills to the test by tackling real-world problems.
This year the finalist student teams participated in a science fair to showcase and recognise their projects, and to provide them with opportunities to share their work with other students, teachers, STEM Ambassadors and a range of stakeholders from the world of STEM education. During the fair, the finalist teams were tasked with presenting their ideas to a panel of expert judges.
For 2017, the students were invited to use their creativity to identify and design an efficient solution to one of three real-world challenges: Rescue Rockets, Future Flight or Auto Arms. The students worked in groups of two to four at a STEM club, in class or as an independent project, before submitting their project via PowerPoint or YouTube. STEM Ambassadors were available to guide and inspire students as they took on the challenge.
Bredon Hill’s winning solution focused on developing an efficient design for the Future Flight challenge, where they had to come up with an efficient design that generates the most lift for a remote-controlled survey aircraft. The team won an Ultimate STEM experience day, £500 to spend on science equipment or field trips as well as Science Museum goodies.
Two student teams were also commended for their creativity and ability to bring their projects to life with two new awards. Bohunt School won a ‘Thinking Creatively’ award, while Queen Elizabeth’s School were awarded ‘Best Stand’.
“I'm so proud I cannot express how excited I feel, they've worked so hard for this,” said their teacher, Sally Huntly. “The skills the girls have developed at the final event today alone is fantastic. Their ability to present their ideas to other people and their confidence has bloomed throughout the day, and winning has been the final icing on the cake.
“The girls can now go back to school and inspire other students to get involved in projects like the Ultimate STEM Challenge and show why celebrations like British Science Week are so important to advancing young people's interest in STEM subjects.”
BP’s Ultimate STEM Challenge was developed as a result of ground-breaking research conducted by King’s College London, the research partner in BP’s Enterprising Science programme. The research demonstrated that only around 15 percent of school children aspire to be a scientist, despite the fact that 70 percent agree that they ‘learn interesting things in Science’ and that ‘scientists make a difference in the world’.
Furthermore, research from EngineeringUK has shown that every level of the UK education system lacks the capacity or the required rate of growth needed to meet the forecast demand for skilled engineers and technicians by 2022.
Visit bpes.bp.com/stem-challenge/ultimate-stem-challenge for more information.