Sheffield Park Academy students’ plans to help animals facing extinction have seen them shortlisted in a prestigious international competition.
The academy has been competing against other schools from around the world as part of the British International Education Association’s (BIEA) 2019 STEM Youth Innovation Competition, run in association with Born Free Foundation.
The competition is BIEA’s flagship programme, designed to encourage students to pursue study and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Each year, a theme connecting world issues and technology is chosen, with this year’s theme ‘Fighting Extinction via Drone Technology.’
With 2019 marking the first time the event has gone international, January’s launch tasked 30,000 schools globally with developing a drone design to aid in the conservation of endangered species, with projects submitted in the first round focusing on an enormous variety of endangered animals, including snow leopards, black rhinos, pangolins, turtles and elephants.
As part of the competition, the teams were tasked with tackling five main components: report writing, innovation, presentation, Dragon’s Den style pitching and fixed tasks. Following an intensive and rigorous marking process, 45 teams representing 18 countries were then chosen to go through to the next round, where they must modify and build a drone within a fixed budget.
Sheffield Park Academy’s Devil Drones Team made the shortlist and will bid to get through to the final at the Royal Air Force Museum in London at the beginning of July. The team, comprising Louise Nuttall, Mahmmoud Douad, Muhammad Khan, Natalia Dziemba and Riley Butler, need to submit two videos demonstrating their drone in action and providing a visual outline of the project to date. They will be supported by BIEA STEM Ambassadors who will visit them at the academy.
Sheffield Park Academy Principal Debbie McShane said:
"As a school committed to providing an education with character, we are constantly looking for new opportunities to broaden our students’ horizons. The BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation competition is a perfect demonstration of that, pitching our students against other teams from around the globe to help fight extinction.
“We’re absolutely delighted that, in the first year that this competition has gone international, the academy has been chosen as one of the 45 teams to go through to the next round. A huge ‘well done’ to all involved and good luck!”