Last week we saw a fantastic response to our first ever “Family STEM Challenge” in aid of British Science Week, which was open to both Junior and Senior family teams.

There were 20 teams in total, battling it out in challenges around the subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths. Teams were welcomed by some of our older students who challenged them to pierce potatoes with straws, make balloon hovercrafts, lift jars of rice with just a pencil and other mini experiments. The main event was the i360 tower challenge. Incredibly, eight of the towers managed the maximum tilt of 90° without failure and we had to enlist the help of our i360 expert, Ruth Chapman, to judge them on technical design instead. Inspired by Tim Peake, our second activity was ‘could you be an astronaut?’ I think we can safely say “yes” as we had a number of budding astronauts in the room with incredible manual dexterity and accuracy on display. Teams had to take it in turns to construct a Lego astronaut whilst wearing the required protective equipment – in our case some thick gardening gloves, with the winning team designing a perfectly constructed astronaut and a small astro-dog as companion.

Finally our teams learnt to ‘count like a computer’. They used hand signals to transmit binary codes to their receiver. It was great to see so much enthusiasm from the teams for the STEM challenges and to have a little bit of fun competition and we are already thinking about new challenges for next year!