Innovate Bucks 2018: Years 7 and 8 STEM Challenge
Boost skills, inspire students – and raise money for your school!
Science, research, engineering and technology jobs are expected to grow at double the rate of other occupations, creating 142,000 jobs between now and 2023.
To encourage innovation, problem solving and invention skills, Buckinghamshire Skills Hub and STEM NOW have joined forces to bring you an exciting STEM challenge for Years 7 and 8 – which also includes a great opportunity to raise money for your school!
In teams of 5-10, students from Year 7 and/or 8 need to work together to design a game or activity which can be played at the school summer fair to raise money. The game should:
- Be based on a science-related theme, such as space or the environment, with students encouraged to think creatively around this;
- Involve a basic electronics system (included in the Micro:bit Starter Kit Cost purchased with the small signup fee – see below).
Students can use any materials, but might include, for instance, off-cuts from the DT Lab.
The challenge is designed to run over the spring term, culminating with the games being used at each school’s summer fair. (If your school doesn’t have a summer fair, why not have a stall at one run by a local primary school?) The team which generates the most revenue wins, with prizes for the winning team of each school and also a Buckinghamshire county winner. There may also be additional prizes for creativity, innovation, design and execution.
To get you going, we’ve outlined three possible ideas below based on different themes, although we do expect students to come up with their own!
- Based on a popular ‘dance mat’ style, Neon Match integrated coding, design and physical interaction to make this winning entry.
- Steady hand games stand the test of time! Add different dimensions to the game by adding a time limit, lives and other areas of jeopardy!
- Remember maths! The simple example below used prime numbers to test mental arithmetic by using random number generation to make prime numbers.
Support from STEM Ambassadors
Extension for more able students
More able students can be encouraged to further develop the project to include a short business plan detailing costs and revenue required to break even for their game should it be manufactured and sold.
Sign up cost per school: £15
Micro:bit Starter Kit cost per team: £20
Order your Starter Kit online here
Ideally, for students to get the most out of the competition, all teams will have their own electronic kits. However, if your school does not have the budget to buy electronic kits for multiple teams, there is an alternative suggested delivery model – see ‘Model 1’ below.
Timeline of Challenge
- Spring Term: Round 1 – STEM ambassadors go in to schools and set the project, based on a science-related theme, such as space or the environment, and students have 12 weeks to design a STEM game or activity to perform at school fairs which will raise money for your school. Deadline 23/03/18.
- Summer Term: Round 2 – Teams build the game or activity so it is ready to perform at school fairs (either their own, or a local primary school’s). Deadline: 13/07/18
Once all schools have run their summer events and results are in, they will be asked to nominate their winning team for their school. The top six performing schools will be invited to a Bucks-based final to present their activity and results to a panel of judges, where the overall winning team will be awarded an exciting industry-linked prize.
Different models for delivering the challenge
This STEM Challenge has been designed to be a flexible activity which can be run in accordance with your school’s timetable and financial constraints. There are two possible ways of operating it:
Model 1: Two rounds / one kit per school
First round – Year groups split into teams to innovate, design, create their game or activity. They must present their ideas to a panel in a convincing, credible and persuasive way with an estimate of how much revenue their idea would generate for the school. One team per year group is chosen to produce their concept and the school pays for the electronic kits required.
Second round – Prototypes are built in time for the school summer fair, where the team tries to raise as much revenue as possible from their activity.
Model 2: Part of a Spring Term STEM project delivered in class / one kit per team
First round – Year groups split into teams to innovate, design, create their game or activity. They must present their ideas to a panel in a convincing, credible and persuasive way with an estimate of how much revenue their idea would generate for the school.
Kits are then purchased for all teams to then build their concept as part of a project for the term, to be completed in time for the school summer fair. All teams compete at the fair to see who can raise the most money with their activity.
Once all schools have run their summer events and results are in, they will be asked to nominate their winning team for their school (one per year group per school). The six best performing teams will be invited to bring their inventions and a presentation which details their ideation and production process, teamwork and how much money was raised to present to a panel of judges.
Each member of the winning team (up to a maximum of 10 young people) will receive a family day pass to the inspiring Winchester Science Centre. (A family includes 2 adults and up to 3 children.)
 Report published by the Social Market Foundation and EDF https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/report-reveals-huge-growth-for-uk-stem-careers/
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