Broxburn Academy Win STEM Challenge 9!
Broxburn Academy have been named the winners of STEM Challenge 9, being judged to have the most innovative project in successfully creating a spark to light a flame through the energy of human endeavour.
STEM Challenge 9 was based on the concept of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay and inspired students to think about the power and possibilities of the energy of physical human endeavour to create a spark to light a flame.
Over 150 school teams across the United Kingdom registered to take part in the challenge and were put through a rigorous regional judging process, with the top eight submissions invited to present their designs at the 2012 Big Bang Fair held in Birmingham.
Broxburn Academy’s design immediately caught the attention of the judges, including Britain’s 9 time gold medal winning Paralympic swimmer Chris Holmes, who is now the London 2012 Director of Paralympic Integration. The team of young scientists thought to capture the energy created from competing Paralympic athletes and use it to charge a Van De Graff generator. A representative would then place their hand on the charging generator and a safe small charge would transfer through them to create a spark to ignite a gas flame.
STEM Challenge 9 is proudly supported by the Paralympic Torch Relay Team who are igniting the nation’s passion for the Paralympics in the run up to the Games starting in August.
Each team of students, aged 11-14 years old, competed in a Dragon’s Den style pitch before a panel of expert judges. Finalists included:
- The Castle School, Bristol, Bath and Somerset
- Ansford School, Bristol, Bath and Somerset
- Broxburn Academy, East Scotland
- The Clere School, Hampshire
- The Canterbury High School, Kent and Medway
- The Harvey Grammar School, Kent and Medway
- Southlands High School, Lancashire
- Aboyne Academy, North East Scotland
The winning team from Broxburn Academy won £1,000 worth of equipment for their STEM Club and exclusive access to attend a Paralympic Torch Relay event. Second place was awarded to The Castle School who received £750, the third place team from The Clere School were awarded £500.
Kirsten Bodley, Chief Executive, STEMNET:
“The STEM Challenges allow students to develop and apply valuable STEM skills to real-life, working situations. STEMNET were delighted to partner with the London 2012 team to ignite the enthusiasm of students in the lead up to the event. All of our finalists were incredibly innovative and inspired by their entries and it was amazing to see students working so well together and supporting each other as a team.”
Chris Holmes, London 2012 Director of Paralympic Integration:
“We felt that the concept of using the energy of physical human endeavour to light the London 2012 Paralympic Flame would be a great way to engage the creative minds of students across the UK. It has been a great opportunity for students to get to grips with a science/technology task while also learning about the Paralympic Games.
“The level of thought and teamwork the teams have demonstrated is incredibly impressive and it is clear that the spirit of human endeavour is well and truly alive in our schools. I hope that this challenge has inspired them to get involved in the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay and help us to truly ignite the nation’s passion for the Paralympics.”
Rhys Phillips, Winner of Most Dedicated STEM Ambassador 2011 and Research Engineer (Electromagnetic Hazards)
“STEM Challenge 9 was a great test of the students ability to come up with innovative and realistic ideas to generate a spark whilst bearing in mind the key messages of the Paralmypics. All eight teams that presented at the final on Saturday had risen to the challenge and impressed the judging panel with their technical knowledge and enthusiastic presentations. Congratulations are due to all teams who took part, the teachers who supported them and also to the proud parents of those involved.”
STEM Challenge 10, supported by Cisco as a part of the ‘Out of the Blocks’ campaign, is the final challenge before the London 2012 games and is asking students to bring the spirit of the Olympics to their doorsteps by designing an Olympic themed sporting event in their local area.
Closing date for registrations: Tuesday 15th May. Schools wishing to enter this challenge can visit www.stemchallenges.net for further details.