STEM Challenges

Fourbirdsaboating as STEM Ambassadors

Fourbirdsaboating’s Founding Director Sarah is a STEM Ambassador for Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and has the role of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to young people in local schools. Crew member Kate was a maths teacher prior to joining the Royal Navy.

Thanks to a grant from the Earth and Space Foundation and the Betty Adamson Award, one of the educational themes will be celestial navigation, and how our place within the solar system affects things like day length, and changing seasons.

Thanks to a grant from the Earth and Space Foundation and the Betty Adamson Award, one of the educational themes will be celestial navigation, and how our place within the solar system affects things like day length, and changing seasons.

STEM Challenges

For each week that the Fourbirdsaboating team are away on their ocean expedition, they will set a STEM based challenge for the online students.  For example, during the 2014 Pacific Ocean row, the team will be away for approximately 32 weeks, so for 2014 there will be 32 weekly challenges. Each challenge is based on a real life scenario and the aim is to get young people to come up with a viable solution using their own imagination and creativity. For example, a challenge may be:

The team are rowing across an area of the Pacific Ocean, famously known as ‘The White Shark Cafe‘ because of the large numbers of great white sharks found here. As part of their weekly chores, the team must scrape the barnacles from underneath the bottom of the boat, but are a little nervous about donning their snorkels and entering the water knowing that there are sharks in the area. Create a gadget or method for cleaning the barnacles from underneath the boat, without the rowers having to get into the water.

Promoting STEM subjects. Real life challenges for young people to solve. Rowers taking a swim after a hard day's rowing.

Promoting STEM subjects. Real life challenges for young people to solve. Rowers taking a swim after a hard day’s rowing.

The students then have one week to come up with a solution, which they will upload in any format they wish, to the Frog online platform.

Promoting STEM education through ocean rowing. The design of an ocean rowing boat.

Promoting STEM education through ocean rowing. The design of an ocean rowing boat.

STEM Challenge Prizes and Winners

During the week, platform users will be able to view all of the STEM challenge entries, and will vote on their favourite entries. The entries with the most likes will go before a panel of 15 STEM experts (5 scientists, 5 engineers, and 5 geographers) and the panel’s favourite will get a 30 minute sat phone call with the rowers live from the expedition.

The 32 winners during the Pacific Ocean row in 2014, will go into a final competition post ocean row, with the general public voting on the overall favourite.  The winner will receive:

STEM Podcast

The 30 minute satellite phone call with the rowers will be recorded and made into a podcast especially for the platform users.  A great way to engage with the team live from the ocean, to practice English, and to learn more about STEM subjects. The podcast will be recorded and edited by Roger Overall aka The Digital Storyteller.

Meet Fourbirdsaboating at the Big Bang Science Fair in Birmingham

Come along and meet the team and see the boat at the next Big Bang Science Fair in Birmingham in March 2014.

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