Pupils to learn about aluminum with Alu D&T Challenge

Alu D&T Challenge teaches kids about importance of sustainable design

Secondary schools throughout the UK are invited to take part in the Alu D&T Challenge, which aims to teach 11-14 year olds about aluminium and the importance of sustainable design. The challenge includes an opportunity for students to create their own products and enter their ideas in a national competition for a chance to win prizes for themselves and their school.  

The Alu D&T Challenge supports the D&T curriculum for 11-14 year olds and provides free lesson plans and a range of interactive stimulus materials to explain the material properties and sustainability potential of aluminium.  It includes three design briefs, which students can attempt as part of a team or on their own, to create a sustainable building, vehicle or package using aluminium. The resources are designed to be flexible and can be delivered in lessons or as a home work or extra-curricular activity, such as a STEM club.

Developed and funded by the UK aluminium industry and supported by leading manufacturers, the Alu D&T Challenge’s design briefs are based on real-life challenges faced by designers who need to meet consumer demands with products that don’t have a negative impact on the environment.  Designs will be judged on how well they address the ‘6Rs’ of sustainability*, as well as their creativity and the use of aluminium.  Organisers, the Aluminium Packaging Recycling  Organisation (Alupro),  hope to build on the success of the 2015 competition, which received over 450 entries and awarded prizes to 30 individuals and teams.

In each category prizes will be awarded to the best individual and team designs. Winners will be chosen by a panel of experts representing the aluminium industry and the building, packaging and automotive sectors.  They will receive a 3D printer for their school and a cash prize for the students.  Runners up will receive vouchers for themselves and the school and all shortlisted finalists will receive a 3D pen. 

The competition is open for entries throughout the autumn term and winners will be announced in March 2017.

Choose a Challenge

There are three different design challenges to choose from. The challenges are a great way to get students to start thinking creatively and put their design skills to work.

  • A vehicle for the future – focusing on aluminium in transport, designing a vehicle for an elderly or disabled driver.
  • A garden building – designing an inspiring space for a creative home worker
  • A new packaging solution – using aluminium to redesign the packaging for an existing product to make it more sustainable.

Running the Challenge in Schools

The 6Rs of sustainability are used by designers to reduce the environmental impact of products:

  • Reduce -is it possible to reduce the amount of materials used? This will help to protect valuable resources.
  • Rethink – is there a better way to solve this problem that is less damaging to the environment?
  • Refuse – this means not accepting things that are not the best option for the environment. For example, is the packaging really needed?
  • Recycle – could recycled materials be used, or is the product made from materials that are easy to recycle?
  • Reuse – could the product have another use? Could its parts be used in other products? Is this information clearly communicated on the product? This will extend its life.
  • Repair – is the product easy to repair? This will extend its life.

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