When science lessons take flight: London July 2019

Published: 2 July 2019

On Thursday 4th July 2019, children from around the world are to gather in London for the final of a major international STEM competition, to showcase how they would use drones to conserve endangered species.

Organised by the British International Education Association (BIEA) and backed by the Born Free Foundation, the competition aims to fire the imagination, and test the creative and technical expertise of young science students with the theme of ‘Fighting Extinction’.

Finalists in three age groups (between 9 and 17 years) from 18 countries have been shortlisted for the grand final. Each school was given a budget of just £100 to build a drone for their entry.

Teams from UK schools including Kent College, Sheffield Park Academy, Coleraine Grammar School in Northern Ireland, Henrietta Barnett School in London and Cardiff Sixth Form College will battle it out in a day of tough competition, during which they will each fly their drone and explain how they would use the technology to tackle species extinction.

Judges headed by the Chief Scientist of the Born Free Foundation, Professor Claudio Silleron, and STEM Chairman of the BIEA David Hanson also include drone expert Stephen Prior from Southampton University and Education Innovations Manager for the British Science Association Jane Dowden.

Each team, which has 3-5 members, will also be expected to promote their drone and its uses during a nail-biting ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch.

The overall winners will walk away with a grand prize of £5000 and a competition drone, while age category winners will win a trophy, medals and a drone.

David Hanson, STEM Chairman of the BIEA, has said “Young people everywhere grow up with technology all around them, and for many it’s part of daily life. But our competition challenges them to step back and think how tech can be used for the benefit of mankind and the environment. It is more than just a STEM competition; it is about how children apply STEM.”

2019 is the first year the STEM competition has been thrown open to a global audience. Each year it runs with a different theme and entries are already open for the 2020 competition at www.biea.org.uk.

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