A team of three year eight and nine students from Toot Hill School in Bingham has fought off tough competition from hundreds of schools across the UK to become winners for the East Midlands in Shell’s annual national schools’ science competition, The Bright Ideas Challenge.
The Bright Ideas Challenge seeks to inspire young people about the role they can play in shaping a brighter future.
It asks young people aged 11 to 14 to address the complex energy challenges of the future and imagine innovative solutions for making our future cities clean, efficient, vibrant places to live, work and play.
In their entries students are asked to demonstrate their understanding and application of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and ability to combine this with creative problem solving and team work.
The team from Toot Hill wanted to identify a common daily use of fossil fuels that they could find an innovative renewable energy solution for. Step forward the MADE (Micro Anaerobic Digester Energy) Cooker.
This innovative energy tank would sit in kitchen cabinets in future city homes. In the tanks, anaerobic bacteria would digest food and grass waste to excrete methane that could then be used to fuel domestic cookers.
The team’s ingenious energy solution was praised for the way it addressed a common domestic energy need whilst also reducing the need for frequent refuse lorry journeys in future cities.
The winning team’s bright idea won them £1,500 to boost the STEM learning experience at their school, plus a VIP trip to Make the Future Live, Shell’s four-day festival of innovation in London.
Marcus-Alexander Neil, Shell UK education manager, said: “It is a real privilege to see the passion and ingenuity this generation brings to the competition.
“The team from Toothill School impressed the judging panel with their fresh thinking. By looking at things from a different perspective they have come up with a creative idea that is also backed up by solid STEM thinking.
“Our hope is that participating in The Bright Ideas Challenge will encourage many of our talented winners to put those skills to good use as the much needed scientists and engineers of tomorrow.”
Pupil, Maisie Warner, said: “Imagining the kinds of challenges that will be faced by the cities we will live in when we’re adults has really helped bring our science lessons to life.
“It’s made us think about taking science further and using those skills to help create innovative solutions that will make life easier and better for everyone in the future.
‘We’re really excited to have won such a great prize for our school and are looking forward to seeing lots more interesting new energy ideas at Make the Future Live in London.”
Richard Walters, lead teacher for STEM at Toot Hill School, said: “Competitions like The Bright Ideas Challenge really help take the students’ enthusiasm for what they’re learning to a new level.
“For some it’s been a real light bulb moment – the moment they make the connection between the skills they’re learning in the classroom and their application in the wider world.
“The whole school is really proud of the team’s achievement and we are having a school vote to decide what the spend the prize money on.”