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How to introduce STEM competitions into design and technology

Published: Sep 18, 2018 3 min read

Gemma Taylor

Technology CPD Lead

National STEM Learning Centre

STEM competitions and challenges

STEM competitions provide a huge opportunity for teachers and technicians to engage and enthuse students. They are fun, help students to cement new friendships, develop their CV experience and their ability to problem solve real-life challenges.

The benefits are not just limited to students - as a teacher, you can trial new content with smaller groups, with no pressure to bring home the added value results. For a technician, it’s an opportunity to get more involved in the classroom, supporting busy teaching staff to inspire young people to develop their love for design and technology.

At STEM Learning, we are the experts in engaging students in STEM. We’ve put together some ideas and support to get you started.

CPD to help you bring STEM competitions to life

Are you looking for a robotics challenge? Take a look at our robotics CPD with VEX IQ. This is a perfect opportunity to combine coding with robot building, working towards competing in a collaborative robotics challenge! This CPD provides you with a free starter kit and will help you gain confidence in coding your first robot to move.

How about flying a drone in school? We have partnered with the Airgineers competition and Autodesk to create a new CPD activity that includes a free micro-drone kit and the training needed to design, print and fly your new drone. Find out more about our Airgineers drone CPD

If Formula 1 is the inspiration that your students need, take a look at our CPD run in partnership with F1 in Schools. Learn how to design the F1 car in Fusion 360, test using a virtual wind tunnel and manufacture the car using a CNC router.

Maybe electronics is something you would like to see more of in your classroom? Our two-day training on the micro:bit and Kitronik add-ons will give you a bag full of kit to try in the classroom and the expertise to get going with your first micro:bit club straight away!

For anyone looking to understand more about how STEM can support design and technology, we have a two-day course on Enhancing your STEM curriculum through design and technology that will provide you with practical projects, resources and take away ideas for a more structured approach to STEM in design and technology.

Free downloadable resources

The STEM Clubs programme has developed a new handbook and set of resources with lots of links to design and technology. The handbook is a step-by-step guide to help you set up a STEM Club or develop your existing one.

The resources are separated into topic areas, with new topics due for launch in the coming weeks. To get you started, here are three resources that we recommend taking a look at!

  • Cisco Little Big Futures: A collection of resources that explore the connected world of the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Making Movies: A selection of one-hour STEM activities that use movies as a context for practical challenges and activities.
  • BP Ultimate STEM Challenge: A student-led competition that asks teams to reimagine a solution to a real-life problem.

For more STEM Club resources, take a look at the STEM Clubs page.