Solar and wind power among STEM challenges

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

The popular Solar Challenge has been updated to include more of an emphasis on the Global Development Goals.

Run by charity Practical Action, the Solar Challenge is a STEM activity that aims to get pupils thinking about electricity.

Set in rural southern Zimbabwe where few villages have access to mains electricity, pupils investigate how to make different circuits including solar cells. They then look at the requirements for electricity by different people in a community and make decisions on how a fixed number of solar cells should be allocated based on needs.

The initiative is suitable for key stages 2 and 3 and ideal for STEM clubs or enrichment days.

Practical Action offers free STEM, science, design and technology resources that are adapted to UK curricula and which aim to engage children in real-world issues including climate change, renewable energy, food security and disaster preparedness. Other challenges and projects offered by the charity include:

  • The plastics challenge: For pupils aged eight to 14 who develop solutions to the problems caused by plastic waste globally.
  • The wind power challenge: A renewable energy STEM challenge where pupils aged seven to 19 learn about life without electricity before designing and making a simple wind turbine.
  • The squashed tomato challenge: A STEM challenge where pupils, aged seven to 16 design and build a model to move tomatoes down a mountain.


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