Primary schools across Birmingham came together to celebrate the finale of the ZEISS Challenge your Imagination programme at Millennium Point. Eleven schools pitched innovative product ideas that aid visual impairments, to a panel of judges, followed by two workshop sessions and an awards ceremony.
Funded by ZEISS and delivered by Learn by Design, the year-long Challenge your Imagination programme gave pupils from twenty local schools the opportunity to experience and understand optics, robotics and visual impairments through interactive STEM workshops.
In small teams, pupils were then challenged to design a product that used optics or robotics to help people see better in diffirent situations. In the form of posters, models, and a pitch they showcased their ideas to a panel of judges at the Challenge your Imagination Celebration Event.
The overall winner of the competition was The Olive School with their robot and glasses combo. The robot was designed to send a visual feed of its surroundings to the glasses, allowing the partially sighted user to see through the robots’ eyes to a greater distance. Judges described their presentation and pitch as a “a very strong presentation of a clear and thought-out design”.
The runner up winners included St Gabriels RC School (second place), Leigh Primary School (third place), Heathfield Primary School (peer vote) and Yew Tree Community School (teamwork).
Pupils also took part in the Electrifying Science Show, delivered by Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum, which saw young people taking part in various interactive activities. This included a demonstration of how various materials differ in conductivity, with a handful of pupils wearing cloaks made of wool, plastic, and tin foil to test the theory. This activity was followed by a show of electricity through the body. In a circle, young people held hands whilst holding a conductive bar. When connected the bar signalled a noise, showing that students were completing the circuit.
Later in the day, pupils took part in the See it – Solve it Teamwork challenge. This challenged pupils to answer questions about all they had learned throughout the year and use their problem-solving skills as a team.
Each pupil who took part in the ZEISS competition event went home with a complimentary goody bag as a keepsake for the day. This included a participation certificate, branded water bottles, notepad and pen, bubbles, and a robot toy.
The ZEISS programme has successfully engaged twenty schools in Birmingham and the West Midlands for the second year running, delivering interactive STEM sessions designed for upper Key Stage 2 students, aged 9-11 years. The programme has been incorporating key elements of ZEISS’ work, such as robotics, optics and innovation. The workshops have been designed and delivered by Learn by Design and have engaged hundreds of young people, whilst raising their awareness of STEM careers.