Four of the twelve national finalist teams at the 2018 BP Ultimate STEM Challenge were from Colyton Grammar School!

Ultimate Stem 2018 1Colyton’s Ultimate STEM Challenge Finalists 2018

What is the most effective way to make water work as an energy source? Can technology help plants to water themselves? Is apple peel the latest fuel? And could a humble piece of string be the future for watering plants where water is scarce?

These are the questions posed by four projects from the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Club at Colyton Grammar School, and which were chosen as national finalists in the BP Ultimate STEM Challenge.

Colyton Grammar School had more finalists than any other school in this year’s competition. It is also the third year in a row that Colyton Grammar School students have made it to the national final at the Science Museum in London.

The four successful projects were all carried out by Year 8 students. Colyton Grammar School’s STEM Club meets once a week and has 20 members from year 8.

Two projects explored effective ways of keeping plants hydrated where water supplies are scarce – a pressing problem in many parts of the world. The first, run by students Maya, Mahima and Amy, developed a growing environment using easily-accessible and sustainable materials in which plants’ ability to create moisture was harnessed as a means to also provide them with water. The second, run by students Robert and Joshua, found that a humble piece of string connecting a plant’s growing medium and a source of water was an effective way to provide an optimum growing environment while conserving water by utilising capillary action via the string.

Ultimate Stem 2018 2Robert and Joshua answer questions about their project posed by the Head of Education at the Science Museum

Both projects are for the Parched Plants section of the challenge, which invited entries to find ways for agriculture to use less water while ensuring everyone can remain fed.

Ultimate Stem 2018 3Mahima, Maya and Amy being interviewed about their project

A project run by students George, Samuel, Philip and Tom created a sustainable method to harness the power of water as a source of energy. Working towards the Handy Hydro section of the challenge, the students’ project addressed how to create power from water using a micro hydro solution. They created a mini water wheel designed to exploit the power potential of water, and investigated the most efficient angle and force of water flow to produce electricity efficiently and sustainably.

Ultimate Stem 2018 4Philip, Sam, Tom and George discuss their project with the CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Hayden, Lewis, Daniel and Charlie worked on a “Brilliant Biogas” project. They took apple peel and investigated the optimum temperature at which food waste could be converted into biogas. They created their own equipment for their project and addressed one of the key areas of concern for commercial producers of biogas.

 Ultimate Stem 2018 5Lewis, Hayden, Daniel and Charlie present their project

The students were accompanied by Mr Lynch, who runs STEM Club, to the Science Museum in London for the final in March. The students had the incredible opportunity to meet global leaders in STEM industries including Dr Hayaatun Sillem, the CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Stephen Metcalfe MP and Government Envoy for the Year of Engineering and Peter Mather, BP Group regional president, Europe and head of country, UK.

Phil Lynch is a physics teacher and STEM co-ordinator at Colyton Grammar School. He said: “We are incredibly proud of our students’ achievement. The BP Ultimate STEM Challenge is a great focus for our STEM Club, which we have developed to encourage interest in STEM beyond the day-to-day teaching opportunities within the school.”

Tim Harris, head teacher at Colyton Grammar School, added: “To have four entries in the final of the BP Ultimate STEM Challenge stands as a real testament to the imagination and skill of our students, and the inspirational commitment of our colleagues involved in STEM Club.”

At the final one team (Hayden, Charlie, Daniel and Lewis) were given a special commendation for their communication and teamwork and Maya, Amy and Mahima received a highly commended award for their excellence of method, teamwork, communication and enthusiasm for STEM – well done!

 Ultimate Stem 2018 6Maya, Amy and Mahima receive their Highly Commended award


BP Ultimate STEM Challenge and the year of Engineering 2018: Click here


Colyton Grammar School at the 2018 BP Ultimate STEM Challenge: Click here


Contact Us
Tel: 01297 552327
Colyton Grammar School
Whitwell Lane
EX24 6HN
© Colyton Grammar School -