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Whalley Range High School win The Bright Ideas Challenge

Academy school from Manchester triumph in national stem competition to win £5000

Posted by Ed Brown | July 14, 2018 | School life

An all-girl team of four Year 9 students from academy school, Whalley Range High School in Manchester has fought off tough competition from hundreds of schools across England, Scotland and Wales to become the national champions of The Bright Ideas Challenge, Shell’s annual science competition for students aged 11-14 years.

The team won £5000 to spend on state of the art science equipment for their school and were made VIP guests at Make the Future Live – Shell’s four day festival of innovation at The Olympic Park in London. 

The team’s winning future energy idea was showcased at the festival alongside ideas from four other finalists. The public was invited to nominate their favourite ‘bright idea’ with the team from Whalley Range securing hundreds of votes to win.

With energy demands set to double by 2050, The Bright Ideas Challenge invites students to use their STEM skills, combined with creativity and teamwork, to come up with innovative energy solutions for making our future cities vibrant, healthy and clean places to live.

The winning team proposed creating ‘Electroes’ for future city dwellers to wear.  These innovative shoes would use in-built piezoelectric discs to convert constant kinetic (movement) energy into electrical energy to power personal devices.

The five finalists’ ideas (chosen by a panel of industry experts) included everything from pipes that would capture the heat energy from hot waste water and convert it into useful voltage to portable bio-refineries that would convert organic food waste into a renewable electrical energy source.

The winning team of four girls: Khad Kubra, Fatima Zahra, Saffiya Ahmad and Fatima Naser were presented with their prize by Rachel Riley, Bright Ideas Challenge Ambassador and Bobby Seagull, University Challenge champion, Maths teacher and STEM ambassador.

Saffiya Ahmad, the team captain from Whalley Range School said: “Seeing our idea take centre stage at such a massive international festival that’s all about innovation, and knowing that it’s been voted as the public’s favourite ‘bright idea’, is a totally unforgettable moment for the whole team.

“It’s been so fun using what we’ve learnt with our science teacher to solve real world problems and help make a difference to all our lives in the future.”

Speaking about The Bright Ideas Challenge, Stephen Metcalf MP, The Government’s envoy for the Year of Engineering, commented: “It was a huge privilege to sit on Shell’s Bright Ideas Challenge judging panel and see the amazing creativity and talent of children from across the country.

“It’s so important that we help young people understand the connection between what they are learning in class and the impact those skills can have in shaping a better, brighter future. I hope that competitions like this inspire more children to become the scientists, engineers, innovators and problem solvers of the future.”

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