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STEM

The most common understanding of the term STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM can be a confusing title because it seeks to group a range of subjects which are distinct, yet have fundamental commonalities in their underlying principles.

Science

Science

Scientists study natural phenomena and create formulae to explain, or predict, the behaviour of light, sound, chemicals, energy, organic and inorganic materials, and the universe.

Technology

Technology

Technologists use Engineering, Science and Mathematics to make an existing task, process or item, safer, more efficient or more cost effective.

Engineering

Engineering

Engineers use a combination of Mathematics, Technology and Science, to design and build things and systems, in a safe and reliable way, at the lowest reasonable cost.

Mathematics

Mathematics

Mathematicians study the relationships between numbers to create formulae. Formulae can be used to create “models” of behaviour of the physical world and are utilised in Science, Technology and Engineering.

Computers

To assist in their fields, STEM professionals often use computers to solve complex tasks. Computers are becoming more common in every day life and their use is becoming crucial to all kinds of careers. The four basic computational skills that students should develop are:

Sequential Commands

Sequential Commands

The concept of using a number of simple commands to create more complex operations. This includes the concepts of which instructions to use, and the order, or sequencing of the instructions is required, to achieve a desired outcome.

Test Conditions

Test Conditions

The concept and use of the “test” instruction to modify the results, or perform a different operation, based on the values of the input data. Students need to understand which test to use, how many tests are needed and when to perform a test.

Repeating or “Loop” Operations

Repeating or “Loop” Operations

The concept and use of a loop to repeat a number of operations to achieve something. e.g. A 10 cm square can be drawn by repeating the following command, 4 times, “draw a line 10 cm long, then turn 90 degrees to the right.”

Subroutines

Subroutines

A subroutine consists of a set of instructions that calculates the values, implements features or services, that are used repeatedly in a program or application. e.g. printing, getting a command or data, calculating the square root of a number, etc. Students need to understand how to send a value or values to a subroutine and how a subroutine can send or “return” a value or values to the main program or application.

The Engineering Design Process

When Engineers need to solve a problem, they use a process known as the Engineering Design Process. This process can lead to new technology which solves a new problem, or solves an already solved problem in a new way. The Engineering Design Process is simiilar to the Scientific Method used by Scientists.

Ideation

Ideation

The first step of the Engineering Design Process is Ideation. In this phase the team considers what problem they are looking to address, and what Mathematics, Science and/or Engineering principles might be able to help them solve the problem. During this phase it is important to think through the following: 

  • What is the problem? 
  • Who has the problem? 
  • Why is it important to solve? 


Finding solutions

Finding solutions

Once you have decided on the problem your team is going to solve, it is time to start thinking about solutions. It is best to brainstorm solutions and generate as many ideas as possible. It doesn’t matter how weird or wacky the suggestions are. Once this is done, each of these ideas should be discussed and measured against the original problem. Does it meet the requirements of the user? Are there parts of the idea which might work with another idea? The goal should be to collect one or more great ideas which are worth exploring further. These ideas will be refined and improved throughout the project.

Prototyping

Prototyping

A prototype is a test of the solution. It may not be the final version of the technology, but it should demonstrate the key elements of the solution and allow the design team to see how the solution might work.

Refinement

Refinement

The design process involves multiple iterations and redesigns of your solution. You will likely test your solution, find new problems, make changes, and test new solutions before settling on a final design.

Presentation

Presentation

To complete your project you will need to prepare to show it to others, so that they may understand the problem you are trying to solve, your process and your solution. Professional Engineers always do the same, thoroughly documenting their solutions. This presentation should not just be about the final solution that you came up with, but the whole design process. It should include ideas you tried, other things you might have liked to do with more time and ways you think your solution could been better.

The 5 Criteria of Judging

There are 5 criteria which the judges will use to score the projects presented on Game Day. Students should make sure that they address all 5 criteria in their final presentation.

1. Explain the problem they are trying solve

1. Explain the problem they are trying solve

Student should be able to explain why they chose the problem, who the solution is likely to benefit and talk about other similar solutions which they researched during the ideation phase of their project.

2. Describe the benefits of their solution

2. Describe the benefits of their solution

Students should address the specific benefits of their solution, how it will solve the problem, and why it would be preferable to other similar solutions, if applicable.

3. Explain the formulae or equations used

3. Explain the formulae or equations used

Students should be able to show the principles of any Mathematics used to formulate their solution, to a level appropriate for their age group. It is suggested that younger students may want to use a worked example as a memory aid.

4. Explain the scientific principles used

4. Explain the scientific principles used

Students should be able to briefly describe the theory behind any scientific principles they have used to formulate their solution. Use of sources is encouraged. Older students should be able to talk about any flaws or limitations in applying the principles to their problem.

5. Describe any improvements to their solution

5. Describe any improvements to their solution

Students should have thought about any improvements that they would like to make given extra time or resources. They should be able to talk about why these improvements would be beneficial.

Categories

Teams will be divided into 4 categories based on year group:

  • 3/4
  • 5/6
  • 7/8 
  • 9/10

i.e. A team of year 5 and 6 students is eligible, but a team of year 8 and 9 students is not.

Suggested Themes

Teams may chose a project that addresses any one of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. If a team needs some help in making a choice, we have highlighted four themes below, to get the brainstorming underway!

Conservation

Conservation

Projects aimed at preserving a natural resource, such as water, habitat or wildlife.

Smart Cities

Smart Cities

A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic Internet of things (IoT) sensors to collect data and then use these data to manage assets and resources efficiently.

Exploration and New Frontiers

Exploration and New Frontiers

Humanity has always yearned for the stars, and with the technology of today, this is becoming a reality.

Utilities and Essential Services

Utilities and Essential Services

Utilities provide things such as water, gas, electricity and telecommunications. Essential Services include Hospitals, Roads, Police and Rubbish removal.

Judging on the day

Judging on Game Day will be carried out by a group of judges. Each group will contain three judges, with at least one teacher and one STEM professional.

Each team will be visited by two separate groups of judges and will have to present to both. Presentation are expected to last for 10-15 minutes, and judges may have follow up questions for the team.

The results will be aggregated and analysed using the Game Changer Awards App, to ensure a fair result.


Become a Judge

How to register

Registration for the 2019 Game Changer Awards are now closed. 

If you are interested in entering the 2020 Game Change Awards, the 4 categories will be:

  • 3/4
  • 5/6
  • 7/8 
  • 9/10

i.e. A team of year 5 and 6 students is eligible, but a team of year 8 and 9 students is not.

Click on the sign up button below to register your team(s) for 2020!


Sign Up