The Bright Ideas Challenge, Shell’s national schools competition for students aged 11-14, is open for entries for the fourth year running. The competition invites young people to use their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills to come up with ‘bright ideas’ for powering future cities to be vibrant, healthy, clean places to live.
Here we find out why it really is a ‘must enter’ experience if you’re looking for new ways to spark your students’ interest in STEM subjects…
• It’s grounded in the real world
Young people respond positively to relevance and to seeing the impact the skills they’re learning in the classroom can have in the real world. The Bright Ideas Challenge helps them make that all-important link. It shows them that by working collaboratively in teams they can come up with innovative solutions to real challenges and make a difference to issues that matter to them.
The winning teams also get the chance to work alongside engineers and designers at a state-of- the-art makerspace, to take their bright ideas to the next level using the very latest prototyping technologies and engineering techniques.
• It develops work place skills and supports schools’ careers strategies
The competition emulates the workplace by encouraging young people to work in teams, assign members different roles and use skills such as communication, collaboration and problem solving.
The new Resource Navigation Guide also shows how the competition materials map to the Gatsby Benchmarks (England), The Careers and World of Work Framework (Wales), and Developing the Young Workforce Career Education Standard (Scotland). This makes it easy to see how participating can enhance your school’s careers strategy.
• It has broad appeal
The cross curricular nature of the challenge helps young people access the competition via different subjects (as diverse as Geography, Design and Technology, Maths, Computing and Science). This allows them to appreciate how different disciplines can work together to solve the complex scientific challenges of the future. Students are also invited to bring their bright ideas to life using everything from drawing and writing skills to video, coding and prototype creation.
As a result of encouraging students to apply their individual skills and interests to solving a problem they care about, the competition helps dispel the ever-present ‘not for me’ culture. This also helps address the frequently seen gender imbalance in STEM; in fact 60% of last year’s finalists were girls.
The Bright Ideas Challenge resources are all free, fully curriculum-linked and have been designed in collaboration with teachers so they’re simple and inspiring to deliver.
Step-by-step guidance on entering the challenge can be found at shell.co.uk/brightideaschallenge where you can download a Teacher Toolkit, Student Workbook and Classroom Presentation all focused around four thought-provoking videos.
• It’s flexible; you can choose where and how the challenge best fits
The competition has been designed so that it can be delivered within a variety of settings and time periods to suit your needs.
It can be finished in as little as 2.5 hours or extended across several weeks of project work and can be used to enrich lessons or as content for STEM clubs. The choice is entirely yours!
• It’s tried and trusted…
Teachers who take part in The Bright Ideas Challenge quickly become advocates with 98% saying they’d recommend the experience to colleagues. And students find the challenge rewarding too – 98% who took part last year said they enjoyed the experience.
• It could win your school big STEM prizes!
Visit www.shell.co.uk/brightideaschallenge today to start inspiring your students about the role they could play in shaping a better world through science, engineering and creativity.