The Ultimate STEM Challenge

The Ultimate STEM Challenge is a national competition brought to you by BP, the Science Museum and STEM Learning. This collection brings together previous challenges from the competition as a source of inspiration for STEM challenges and research projects.

Links and Resources

Reimagine a solution to a real-life problem

Ask your students to put their science, technology, engineering and maths skills to the test and reimagine a solution to a real-life problem.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Increasing efficiency: streamlined ships

Students investigate friction and streamlining by testing which shapes move through water the most efficiently.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Handy Hydro: Ultimate STEM Challenge

The challenge is to design a simple system to generate electricity from moving water. Students are to plan and carry out an investigation to measure how much electrical energy your system can produce and find the best design for extracting energy from moving water.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Parched Plants: Ultimate STEM Challenge

The challenge is to design a system to grow salad or herb plants indoors. Students plan and carry out an investigation to measure how crop production varies with water use and find the best design that uses the least water to produce a healthy crop.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Brilliant Biogas: Ultimate STEM Challenge

This challenge is to design a system to generate and capture biomethane from food waste. Students are then to conduct an investigation to measure how to produce the most biomethane and find the best design for extracting biomethane from food waste.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Rescue rockets

BP operates oil rigs and ships around the world, often in remote places. While emergencies are rare, distress rockets or flares offer a visual signal that can be seen from many miles away. However, rocket propellants are not always good for the environment. The challenge for students is to investigate the most efficient design for a water-powered rocket.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Future flight

BP uses aerial surveys to identify potential new oil reserves, or to inspect remote equipment. Remote controlled aircraft, or drones, can offer a lower cost, safer alternative to light aircraft. The challenge for students is to investigate the best wing design for a remote controlled survey aircraft. How you tackle this challenge is completely up to you and your students. 

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Auto arms

BP uses remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) to inspect and maintain seabed equipment. These use hydraulic or motorised robot arms to grip and manipulate tools and controls. The challenge for students is to find the best design for a simple robot arm and gripper. How you tackle this challenge is completely up to you and your students.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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