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Ultimate STEM Challenge is back! 

Can your students help build a more sustainable future? You've got until January 2018 to come up with your idea!

Posted by Hannah Vickers | June 14, 2017 | Teaching

Now in its fourth year, BP’s Ultimate STEM Challenge is back for 2017! In partnership with the Science Museum and STEM Learning, BP is inviting UK students aged 11 to 14 to use their STEM skills to help reduce our impact on the environment and create a more sustainable future.

With the world demand for natural resources ever increasing and global warming one of today’s biggest environmental threats, this year BP is challenging young people to use their problem-solving skills and creativity to help create a more sustainable future for people around the world.

This year’s theme – My Sustainable Future – will see young people develop solutions to three real-world challenges which will reduce natural resource use or bring down greenhouse gas emissions.

Teachers and students can choose from three new sustainability challenges:

1. Handy Hydro: Create an efficient design for generating electricity from moving water

2. Parched Plants: Grow indoor plants using a sustainable method that conserves water 

3. Brilliant Biogas: Build a system that generates biomethane from food waste

By exploring the practical uses of science, the challenges are designed to inspire young people to consider careers in STEM.

Students can complete this challenge in a STEM Club, during a collapsed timetable day, in classroom lessons or in their own time.

The deadline for entries is January 12th, 2018, with winners receiving an Ultimate STEM experience day, £500 to spend on science equipment or field trips, and Science Museum goody bags!

Finalists will compete against schools from around the country at the Science Museum for a chance to be crowned as 2018 Ultimate STEM Challenge winners.

We know that relatable, real-world challenges like this can inspire young people to aspire to careers in science. We’re excited to see what creative solutions students will come up with - Ian Duffy, Head of UK Communications & Community Development for BP

Ian Duffy, Head of UK Communications & Community Development for BP, said:

“BP plays a key role in nurturing the scientists and engineers of the future. With this year’s Ultimate STEM Challenge theme of My Sustainable Future, students will learn about the impact of carbon emissions and how our choices affect the environment. 

“Through our ground-breaking research on science capital, we know that relatable, real-world challenges like this can inspire young people to aspire to careers in science. We’re excited to see what creative solutions students will come up with!”

Gill Collinson, Head of Centre & Partnerships at STEM Learning said:

“We’re always delighted to work in partnership with Ultimate STEM Challenge and the Science Museum. In its fourth year, we’re especially excited to see the competition focus on sustainability as we ask students to help reduce environmental impact and to create a more sustainable future. 

“This year, all participating schools can request a STEM Ambassador to support their STEM Club or class during the competition. Our community of over 30,000 volunteer Ambassadors can help to open up a world of opportunities for students by providing invaluable insight into the pathways from STEM study to exciting careers. We strongly encourage all participating schools to take advantage of this free-of-charge opportunity.”

This year, with the theme of My Sustainable Future and a set of three new real-world challenges, we think this is another perfect opportunity for schools to explore and expand their students’ engagement with science - Tom O’Leary, Director of Learning at the Science Museum Group

Tom O’Leary, Director of Learning at the Science Museum Group said:

“Last year’s Ultimate STEM Challenge final was a great success, with the Science Museum playing host to some truly innovative and creative solutions for real-world problems. This year, with the theme of My Sustainable Future and a set of three new real-world challenges, we think this is another perfect opportunity for schools to explore and expand their students’ engagement with science. We look forward to welcoming schools from around the country for the final!”

After winning last year’s Ultimate STEM Challenge, Cathryn, Amelie and Hattie of Bredon Hill Academy spoke about their experience:

“My confidence has grown so much from practicing our presentations in front of our year group last week to presenting to a room full of people today.”

“I've loved hearing about all the exciting projects the other teams have been involved with today.”

For full details on the competition, access to STEM Ambassadors and to download the free Challenge resources, you can visit their website.

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