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STEMNet – Learning from the GamesSTEMNet

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Cisco's Inspired thinking

As a part of Cisco's commitment to building a brilliant future for the UK after London 2012 – we formed a partnership with STEMNet – an education scheme funded by the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills and the Department for Education.

This program aims to encourage young people across the UK to engage in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and take their first steps towards a career in technology.


The STEM Challenges

STEMNet developed the STEM Challenges as part of its aim to provide a contextual and cross-curricular approach to studying STEM subjects at Key Stage Three. The 10 challenges do this by focussing on different aspects of preparation for the London 2012 Games. They involve a mixture of hands-on testing, experimental work and research.

Cisco worked with STEMNet on two of these challenges: The Cisco Website Challenge with gold-winning Paralympic GB handcyclist Rachel Morris, and the Maths and Science Challenge 2012.


The Cisco Website Challenge: Rachel MorrisCisco Website Challenge
Stem students

STEMNet and Cisco invited 11-14 year olds to design a new online presence for Rachel. The judges had to whittle down 80 entries from schools across the UK to just eight finalists, who were asked to present their ideas in person on July 6th 2011 at Ravensbourne College, London. This was a fitting location because the college's students already use Cisco technology and benefit from the company's support.

Each team was given the opportunity to present their ideas to Rachel and was quizzed by a panel of judges. As part of the day, there were group discussions about the behind-the-scenes Cisco technologies that make television and the internet work. Plus, there was lots of advice and encouragement for the finalists to consider a career in the digital economy.

One finalist summed up the experience: “I've had such an exciting day and learned loads, but it was incredibly nerve-wracking presenting a website about Rachel to Rachel herself.”

The judges awarded first place to Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College. As a reward for their hard work, the students won £1,000 worth of equipment for their school's STEM Club plus a trip to the World Skills 2011 Conference, courtesy of Cisco.


STEM Challenge 10 Winners AnnouncedSTEM Challenge 10 Winners
Stem student winners

All Hallows High School, Lancashire, were the final STEM challenge winners. In challenge 10, Cisco, STEMnet and The Pearson Foundation asked students to plan a large, sustainable event in their area.

Nearly 200 state-maintained schools took part with eight teams contesting the final at Cisco House, overlooking the Olympic Park in Stratford.

The finalists

  • All Hallows Catholic High School, Lancashire
  • Angley School, Kent and Medway
  • Kendrick School, Surrey and rest of Berkshire
  • Perins School, Hampshire and Isle of Wight
  • South Axholme School, Humberside
  • The Elton High School, Greater Manchester
  • The Gryphon School, Wiltshire, Swindon and Dorset
  • Woodham Community Technology College, County Durham and Tees Valley

The final

The teams pitched their events to a Dragon's-Den-style panel of experts, who judged them based on the core values of the Olympic and Paralympic games: excellence, friendship, respect, courage, determination, inspiration and equality.

The winners

The final was closely contested with pitches for everything from blind football to an aquatics centre. In the end, All Hallows Catholic School won £2,500 for its STEM club and eight tickets for the Olympic Hockey. The team proposed a venue for swimming - an entry that stood out for its excellent data analysis.

On the podium

Woodham Community Technology College finished second and won £1,000 for its STEM club and eight tickets for the Olympic canoeing. And South Axholme Academy won £500 for its STEM club and eight tickets for the Olympic rowing. The Elton High School was also highly commended by the judges for excellent use of research, sources and surveys.

STEM Challenge 10 forms part of Cisco's ‘Out of the blocks’ project which gives schools the chance to explore the events and venues of London 2012 whilst practising maths and science skills. More information about the ‘Out of the blocks Maths and Science Series 2012’ project can be found at www.mathsandscience2012.co.uk.

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