Looking for a challenge day for able KS4 students? Why not run a STEM challenge day like we did for our local authority.

Students took part in a series of challenges, both mental and practical, over the course of a day. All the tasks were designed to really stretch them and to help them make links between the different areas of STEM.

The day took the theme of a detective style escape challenge.

This was our first year of running the challenge - we hope to make it even better for next year. I'd love to hear what you think about the resources (contact me @MrsHsNumeracy) , especially if you can think of a way to make them even better. We were very fortunate who have a @STEMNET ambassador support our event who not only helped us with the judging, but also gave a very inspiring speech to all the students at the event about careers in STEM.

Outline of the Challenge Day and Resources

>Download the introductory PowerPoint here


The timings were roughly as follows:

9:30 to 11:00 and 11:15 to 12:00 

3 tasks were given to the students at staggered intervals over the morning. Students could choose to focus on one task or split their team over the different tasks as additional ones were given out.

Task 1) Radioactive decay

This task involves students substituting into unfamiliar formulae (Physics), referencing the Periodic table (Chemistry) and applying their knowledge of Mathematics to solve a radioactive decay problem.

>Download the task here

>Download the answers here

Task 2) Projections

This task required students to design a getaway vehicle - their design needed accurate side, plan and front elevations. (DT and Mathematics)

>Download the task here

Task 3) Finding the safe house

The final task of the morning required students to follow a series of clues round London involving them using their knowledge of LOCI and bearings (Mathematics) and coding and ciphers (Programming).

>Download the task here

>Download the answers here


12:30 to 13:30 The Great Egg-scape 

This part was loads of fun - and was very kindly designed by a colleague of mine, Kate Pearson, who is the STEM lead at Fairfield High School for girls. Basically students had a set of equipment with which they needed to design a mechanism to transport an egg (hard boiled) over at least a 3 metre distance.

>Download the Great Egg-Scape challenge here