Pupils prove their power at the BP Ultimate STEM Challenge national finals

Posted In Academic, Science

Pupils from Bethany School attended the 2018 BP Ultimate STEM Challenge held at the Science Museum in London on Monday 12th 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. Max said: “I learned a huge amount taking part in the Challenge and it was a good chance for our idea to potentially help the world and inspire others.”

The national competition, launched in partnership with STEM Learning in June 2017, challenges UK pupils 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 pupils to think about how they could help to reduce natural resource use or bring down greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr 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.”

After central London traffic forced the pupils and Mr Philbin to abort the chosen minibus and opt for the Tube instead, the boys remained calm and focused on the task in hand. Up against a selected 12 other schools from across the UK, Max and William took to the stage with their water wheel prototype.

They had to give a presentation, followed by some questioning by judges, all of which took place in front of camera crews. All groups then moved to their stands to answer questions from the judges and the future of energy was openly discussed with BP representatives.

Biology teacher Mr Rob Philbin, who accompanied the boys to the competition, commented on how impressed he was with William and Max. He said: “They showed genuine confidence and their presentation followed correct scientific techniques and they articulated the purpose of their design clearly. Both Max and Will spoke elegantly and knew everything you would want to know about Hydroelectric power! Although they weren’t given the winning prize they left happy knowing they had been a part of an event for which very few individuals had been selected.”