Mintlaw students top science challenge

Mintlaw Academy students Ruth Taylor, Alyssa Neumann, Amy-Jay Rudgeley and Daniel Burnet with their teacher.
Mintlaw Academy students Ruth Taylor, Alyssa Neumann, Amy-Jay Rudgeley and Daniel Burnet with their teacher.

A team of four Second Year students from Mintlaw Academy have fought off tough competition from hundreds of entries across Great Britain to become one of 13 winners in Shell’s national schools science competition, The Bright Ideas Challenge.

The competition, now in its second year, is part of Shell’s on-going commitment to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The Bright Ideas Challenge asks students aged 11-14 to use their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills to come up with creative solutions for powering future cities.

The winning team’s ‘bright idea’ of incentivising residents of future cities to walk rather than rely on vehicles has won them £1,500 to ‘super-size’ the STEM learning experience at their school as well as a tablet computer for each team member.

The judges were impressed by the team’s creative thinking, by their sound scientific research and by how practical and simple their idea was. The Young Minds team came up with a two-pronged ‘bright idea’. They would look to significantly reduce energy consumption in future cities by incentivising residents to use more environmentally-friendly forms of transport, running on human power!

Each city resident would be given a fitness tracker that logged their steps when they’re on the move. Steps would convert into tokens giving them a discount off their energy bill. This clever initiative would create a win-win scenario – more affordable personal energy bills and less energy consumed across the city. The ‘bright idea’ would have the added benefit of creating a healthier, fitter population.

As well as winning £1500 for their school, the winning team members will also be VIP guests at Make the Future Live, Shell’s four-day festival of ideas and innovation taking place at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from May 25-28, 2017.

The winning team from Aberdeenshire will also meet Rachel Riley, TV personality, maths expert and The Bright Ideas Challenge Ambassador.

Talking about their win Ruth Taylor, Alyssa Neumann, Amy-Jay Rudgeley and Daniel Burnet said: "The Bright Ideas Challenge really got us thinking about the future we’ll be living in. It’s inspiring to see how the things we’ve learnt about in Science can change the world.

"The whole school is excited about the money we’ve won and the difference it will make to our Science lessons. We can’t wait to celebrate with other teams from across the country and to meet Rachel Riley at Make the Future Live."

Ali Hinde, technology teacher at Mintlaw Academy, added: "The Bright Ideas Challenge has really helped engage our students with the STEM curriculum. Shell is a partner of ours and has been for seven years. We run the Girls in Energy programme, they support us through Career Ready and other community projects and this is another part of the jigsaw.

"Winning this competition means a lot. I would encourage every school to try to take part in The Bright Ideas Challenge in the future. It’s one of those opportunities that inspires the next generation. It gives students a platform to build on their knowledge and the opportunity to enjoy a once in a life time experience if they win."