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Schools in East Anglia urged to enter competition to develop ‘bright ideas’ for the future

PUBLISHED: 09:39 23 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:39 23 October 2017

The Bright Ideas Challenge is offering prize money to support STEM teaching in schools.

The Bright Ideas Challenge is offering prize money to support STEM teaching in schools.

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Schools across East Anglia are being urged to enter a national science competition with prize money available to support science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) teaching.

Shell is inviting students aged 11-14 to use their STEM skills and creativity to develop innovative solutions which could power future cities.

The Bright Ideas Challenge, which is now in its third year, offers a £5,000 prize for the winning solution and in the last two years more than £90,000 has been awarded to schools to support STEM teaching.

Last year, a team from Culford School, near Bury St Edmunds, were crowned winners for the East of England region.

The team’s ‘bright idea’ involved multi-functional wind turbines on rooftops to create electrical energy, and saw them collect £1,500 for their school as well as individual prizes.

Darren Rees, teacher at Culford School, said: “The experience of taking part in the competition was brilliant for us.

“Students really thrived when they were asked to solve some of the big challenges we’re facing as a society. They put their STEM skills to work and the videos and materials helped us to hold creative brainstorming sessions and learn about future cities.

“The prize money has been a real boost to the school, we spent it on STEM materials which will allow us to build a robot, drones to allow pupils to get a deeper understanding of how they work, and software for simple coding.”

Other ingenious ideas generated by the challenge over the past two years have ranged from concave mirrors used throughout skyscraper farms to harvest sunlight to bacteria generators that convert food waste into electrical energy for homes.

The Bright Ideas Challenge is now open for entries and will close at 5pm on April 27 next year.

Teachers can find a host of free curriculum linked resources, inspiration from previous entrants and hints and tips on creating winning entries by clicking here.

In addition to money to support STEM teaching, all winning team members from across the UK are given a funded VIP trip to London for Make the Future Live – Shell’s four-day festival of ideas and innovation, which will be held in London next summer.

In a first this year, schools that enter before January 19 next year will be entered into an ‘early bird’ prize draw.

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