Bolton School Senior Girls

Girls Reach Ultimate STEM Challenge Final

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Uma Patel and Amelia Cordwell in Year 7 did extremely well to reach the final of the BP Ultimate STEM Challenge 2018, which took place on Monday 12th March at the Science Museum in London. They were one of twelve teams to be selected from across the UK.

The Ultimate STEM Challenge is an annual nationwide competition for teams of two to four UK students aged 11 to 14, delivered by BP in partnership with STEM Learning and in association with the Science Museum. The theme of this year’s competition was My Sustainable Future, and the real-world challenges set for entrants were designed to inspire young people to consider careers in STEM and boost their employability skills by encouraging them to explore the practical uses of science. Uma and Amelia investigated ‘Parched Plants’: growing plants indoors using a sustainable method that conserves water.

At the final, Uma and Amelia presented their work before a panel of four judges: the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Chief Executive of STEM Learning, a Lead Engineer at BP and the Head of Learning at the Science Museum.

In addition to their PowerPoint presentation, Uma and Amelia also had a stand featuring photos and information about their project, where they stood up to further scrutiny from the judges. They were asked questions such as, “How do you see your research being applied in a real world practical situations?” “What skills have you learnt and developed during your investigation?” “In what way could your ideas be used sustainably?” and “What next steps would you choose to investigate to develop your ideas further?”

The panel of judges focused their assessment on whether the projects had a clear scientific method, good analysis and representation of data and an evaluation, as well as pupils’ presentation and communication skills and their passion for STEM. The creativity of the different projects was also taken into account. They had a difficult job, as the quality of the entries was higher than ever before. It was clear to see the level of effort and passion that all the entrants had dedicated to their investigations across each of the three challenge options.

Though Uma and Amelia did not win, they presented extremely well on the day of the final. For their hard work, they were given goodie bags with a variety of Science Museum gifts and gadgets. All finalists were also awarded free entry to the Wonderlab gallery to explore the hands-on activities. It was a very enjoyable day and a just reward for Uma and Amelia’s efforts and hard work.

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