Exciting STEM Solutions competition sees students build bridges – and forge friendships

Exciting STEM Solutions competition sees students build bridges – and forge friendships

25 May 2023

Mr Paul Rickard, Head of Science

On Tuesday 23 May, we hosted our highly anticipated annual STEM Solutions competition, organised by Woldingham’s STEM Society. Designed by students, for students, the competition’s aim is to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) through a range of activities, including challenging question rounds, longer problem-solving tasks, and an exciting engineering challenge.

The event brought together teams from four local schools: Caterham, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, and of course Woldingham. It was a day filled with excitement, excellent collaboration, and remarkable displays of talent and ingenuity.

The engineering challenge required teams to construct a bridge, using only straws, to span a 30cm gap. The true test of their construction lay in the integrity of the bridge, which was evaluated by placing weights on it. This task not only tested their engineering skills but also their ability to work under time pressure, think creatively, and collaborate effectively as a team.

The competition also involved critical thinking and future-orientated discussions. Each team was given an opportunity to present thoughts on how artificial intelligence (AI) will shape our lives in the future - encouraging students to explore the potential impact of AI and to consider its ethical, social, and economic implications. The five-minute presentations showcased the teams' research and visionary thinking.

We were privileged to welcome Mr Jeremy Pattman, an engineering manager at Meta, as guest judge. Jeremy brought invaluable industry expertise and shared insights with the participating students. He delivered a captivating keynote speech on the integration of AI with augmented reality, shedding light on the exciting possibilities that lie ahead for these emerging technologies.

All the teams exhibited exceptional skill, knowledge, and teamwork throughout the competition. It was inspiring to witness students’ enthusiasm, dedication, and willingness to push the boundaries of their capabilities. The competition showcased not only their scientific and technical proficiency but also their ability to effectively communicate their ideas.

Ultimately, Tonbridge emerged victorious, claiming the much-coveted STEM Solutions trophy. However, the true success of the event lay in the collaborative spirit and shared passion for STEM that united all participants. The competition fostered a sense of camaraderie, allowing students to forge new friendships, learn from one another, and appreciate the value of teamwork.

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