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Shining example helps students to reach tech final.

ATEAM of Year 8 students from Durham are heading to London this week after their bright idea helped them see off tough competition to win the North East section of a national challenge.

The students from Durham High School for Girls secured the regional prize in Shell's national schools' competition, The Bright Ideas Challenge, winning PS1,500 to boost the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) teaching at their school.

The winning team, consisting of Isabella Entwistle, Grace Hildreth and Ava Local, designed a solar-powered streetlight which wouldn't be reliant on the National Grid, and would generate enough energy to power itself at night.

They are now heading to London for a VIP STEM experience at Imperial College London on Friday, where they will build a prototype of their idea and compete against 12 others teams in the hope of being crowned national champions by Shell's STEM Education Ambassador Rachel Riley, and take home an additional PS3,500 for their school and individual prizes for each of the team members.

The Bright Ideas Challenge asks young people aged 11-14 to use their STEM knowledge and problem-solving skills to imagine innovative solutions for making future cities clean, efficient, vibrant places to live, work and play.

By 2070, it's estimated there will be at least 10 billion people on the planet, with demand for energy set to double. This means the world needs to find new ways to produce more energy.

Some of the other winning ideas from across the country included an energycapturing car coating inspired by the naturally occurring chemical reactions within the Oriental hornet bee, and windows which capture solar power.

Marcus-Alexander Neil, Shell UK education manager, said: "It is a real thrill to see the ingenuity the students have brought to their competition entries.

"As the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers, they are able look at things from a fresh perspective.

"Our hope is that participating in The Bright Ideas Challenge inspires many of these talented students to apply their classroom learning to real-world problems, and become the scientists and engineers the world needs to meet our future energy demand."

Grace Hildreth said: "My team is so excited to have the best entry in the North East.

"We can't wait to go to London and try to win the national prize. For our entry, we tried to imagine the cities we will live in when we're older which helped us use our science lessons to figure out real problems.

"It really got us thinking about how we might be able to help make life easier and better in the future."

Simone Niblock, headmistress at Durham High School for Girls, added: "Using STEM knowledge to solve a realworld problem opened our students' eyes to how their lessons can be applied in a real-world context. Competitions like The Bright Ideas Challenge really help our students think big about what's possible.

"Our school is so proud of the team for getting this far and we're so excited they're in the running to be named National Champion in London."


<B Isabella Entwistle, Grace Hildreth and Ava Local from Durham High School for Girls

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 18, 2019
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