Pupils win place in BP Ultimate STEM Challenge national finals

Posted In Academic, Science

Pupils from Bethany School have been announced as one of twelve finalist teams for the BP Ultimate STEM Challenge, with the final set to be held at the Science Museum in London on Monday 12 March.

Schools from around the country took part in the competition for a chance to win an Ultimate STEM experience and £500 for their school. Max Brown (Year 9) and William Stoneham (Year 8) developed their best ideas for the Handy Hydro challenge, where they had to create an efficient design for generating electricity from moving water.

The national competition, launched in partnership with STEM Learning in June 2017, challenges UK students aged 11-14 to put their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills to the test by tackling real-world energy problems.

This year’s competition theme – My Sustainable Future – challenged young people to develop solutions to one of three real-world challenges: Handy Hydro, Parched Plants or Brilliant Biogas. All the challenges were designed to encourage students to think about how they could help to reduce natural resource use or bring down greenhouse gas emissions.

Mike Thomas, Head of Science, said: “The BP Ultimate STEM Challenge is an extremely high-profile and a notoriously tough challenge so to have qualified for the finals is a magnificent achievement. Congratulations to Max and Will who have worked exceptionally hard; their persistence in the face of stiff competition has been recognised by many staff and pupils.”

Year 9 pupil Max Brown, said: “I have always enjoyed building and making things, and I have always wanted to find solutions to problems, particularly relating to energy and the environment. After we created the ML Pelton Turbine, we decided to enter competitions so that we could have a chance for our idea to help the world and inspire others. I have learned a huge amount from taking part in the Challenge and feel really excited to have reached the finals. I can’t wait to see how our project does and also what the other contestants have made!”

The twelve finalist teams will present their work to an expert judging panel at the Science Museum. Following their presentations, all finalists will have the chance to participate in a day of fun science activities.

This year’s final coincides with the Year of Engineering, a year-long campaign, launched in January 2018 to tackle the engineering skills gap and widen the pool of young people who join the profession. BP is supporting the campaign throughout the year with a variety of events and experiences and will also be producing a range of engineering-themed resources for the BP Education Service website.

Samantha Bulkeley, UK Schools Education Manager at BP, said: “I would like to congratulate all of the teams that have reached the Ultimate STEM Challenge final. During the judging process, we were impressed to see how students from all over the UK used problem-solving and teamwork skills to develop their own unique responses to this year’s real-world challenges. The finalist entries all stood out for their creativity and innovation in helping to create a more sustainable future. We look forward to celebrating the hard work of all the students and seeing their projects come to life at the finals in March.”

Headmaster, Francie Healy, said: “we are incredibly proud of the ways in which Max and William have engaged with this project and of their achievements so far. It is a testament to their hard work and enthusiasm, as well as the staff – particularly Mike Thomas, Head of Science, and Sherrick Hamilton, Head of Computer Science – who have supported them on this journey. We will all be cheering them on at the finals!”.