The IET Coventry and Warwickshire Network has developed the following Challenges In A Box for school teachers to use to assist in educating pupils of various ages. We are keen to have feedback and new ideas for these challenges.
Each challenge has visual aids and, where relevant, pupil guides and teacher guides.
Challenges In A Box are copyright © Derrick Willer.
However you are free to copy for use in schools and for instructing children of school age and for use by children of school age. Please feedback to: Derrick Willer, dwilleruk@yahoo.com
However, I suggest that you give a small donation (e.g. £20, $30) to the Memusi Schools in remote Kenya so that they can install electricity and then get computers.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/electricity Thank you.
Project 
Description 

Burglar Alarm Secondary 
An introduction to electrical circuits using low cost materials. About 3060 minutes as individuals or small teams. I used this for a KS3 STEM Club (1214 year olds) giving them a set of the same materials and challenging them to make the burglar alarm without any guidance whatsoever. Not even the concept of a trip wire. 


Table Tennis Ball Launcher 
An IET Education challenge. We have 12 kits available for use in schools in Coventry and Warwickshire. (30 mins for basic launcher kit – up to 1½ hours for loader for the launcher made from recycled materials provided by the school) Email Derrick Willer dwiller@theiet.org for availability. 


Paper Catapult 
Pupils in small teams are asked to design, budget and then make a catapult out of recycled paper. Recycled materials are free but nuts, bolts, elastic bands, stickytape, etc. cost money. They catapult a ball at a set of skittles three times, scoring a maximum of 89 points. Additional scores depend upon the accuracy of their budget and the innovative nature of their design. Suitable for pupils aged 1015. (2½ hours) 

Why Lag Your House? 
A simple card based exercise for younger pupils to learn how insulating your home can improve heating and save on energy. Suitable for pupils aged 513. (60 mins) 


Bridges 
A paper based exercise suitable for 713 year old pupils. Pupils make a bridge out of paper into a U" shape and find out how much weight (pennies or model cars) it will take with different depths of the "U" versus the remaining area for the bridge. They graph the results. The project is then extended to bridge the gap between two chairs with paper, sticky tape, etc. costing them "money" – e.g. cheapest to hold a 100gm weight wins. (30 mins) 


Replacing The Family Car 
Pupils should investigate the wholelife carbon footprint of a car using the internet. They should draw graphs piecharts, etc. comparing buying a new car versus keeping the old one. Internet research, spreadsheets, etc. can be used and make this relevant to the challenge subject. Suitable for pupils aged 1216. (Homework, 4+ hours) 


House Of Gadgets 
For 9  13 year olds. An exercise to understand sustainability and conservation. Pupils imagine what will happen if rubbish is not collected. Then there is a short story about conservation. The pupils decide on a gadget to make and are given recycled materials to make a mockup of it. (2½3 hours) 


Hydrogen As A Fuel 
Hydrogen powered cars, etc. are already working at Birmingham and other universities. Pupils make hydrogen and oxygen and test them. They are then asked to work out the best place to make hydrogen using sunlight. They should work out the costs of transporting from source to point of use  including compressing/liquefying the gas. Internet research, graphs, spreadsheets, etc. can be used and make this relevant to the challenge subject. Suitable for pupils aged 1216. (Inschool experiment, 30 mins, Homework 4+ hours) 


Fan or Turbine Efficiency 
Pupils should make a fan and work out its efficiency at various blade angles and numbers. A Design Council Project finalist utilised a boat propelled by the fan pulling against a weight suspended over a pulley. But pupils can use any other method. Project report with graphs, etc is required. Graphs, spreadsheets, etc. can be used and make this relevant to the challenge subject. Suitable for pupils aged 1216. (12+ hours) 


Paper Towers And Bridges 
Versions for Primary and Secondary Schools. Approx. 30 – 60 minutes. Secondary school pupils in teams are judged on design, budgets, actual spend, and presentations. 


STEM Quiz 
24 questions to tease the pupils, teachers and STEM Ambassadors complete with "Wrong" with explanation and the correct answers 


Card Tricks 
What are the maths behind these three card tricks? Pupils can work alone or in small groups to discover how these card tricks work. Suitable for homework or for 4560 minutes sessions. Suitable for pupils aged 1216. (4560 mins) 

A Dozen Ten Minute Challenges 
Set of 13 (Baker’s Dozen) challenges each taking 510 minutes. 


Another Dozen Ten Minute Challenges 
Set of 13 (Baker’s Dozen) challenges each taking 510 minutes. 

Robot Challenge 
This project challenges teams to build a model robot from K’nex kits. Meccano or other construction kits. It is aimed at pupils ages 10 to 14 (years 5 to 9). The project could also be used to introduce primary school pupils to their secondary school with "mentors" for each team from the secondary school. It was first developed and run at Jaguar Cars Visitor’s facility at Castle Vale, Birmingham, with some 150 thirteen year old school pupils in teams of six. (1½ hours +) In the lunch period we were entertained by Prof. Carl Chinn MBE, the famous Birmingham local radio celebrity with some of the pupils and some teachers being interviewed on BBC West Midlands Radio. We are indebted to Jaguar Cars and BBC West Midlands Radio and Prof. Carl Chinn MBE for their valued assistance. 


Introduction To Computer Programming 
Utilising the Basic programming language, pupils learn now to write and test a program initially to add, then to subtract, multiply and divide two numbers. Suitable for pupils aged 1216. (1 hour +) 


Code and Decode 
This project is aimed at learning more about programming by developing a computer program to code and decode a message. Pupils will be able secretly to send a coded text document attached to an email to a friend who, when given the correct key, will be able to decode the message in the text document. Alternatively they can save secret data in coded format. Suitable for pupils aged 1216. (1½ hours +) 


Lets Crumble 
Learn how to programme the Crumble computer. Then make a nightlight or automated moneybox using the Crumble kit and recycled materials. There are further challenges for traffic lights, car and maze, robot. Developed by DATA with grant aid from IET, IMencE and RAE 


Prime Numbers 
This project is aimed at learning about programming by developing a computer program to test if a number is prime and then to extend this to list all prime numbers up to a given number. Suitable for pupils aged 1216. (1 hour + ) 
2,3,5,7,11,13,17,19 ….997 

Pythagorean Triangles 
We all know that a 3,4,5 triangle is a right angled triangle, a Pythagorean Triangle. In this project pupils write a computer program to discover other wholenumber Pythagorean Triangles up to a given length of the shortest side. Suitable for pupils aged 1216. 


Fun With Phiziks and Che Mystery 
Ten activities including Fizzy Chemistry, Make a Thermometer, Magnifying Glass, Bending Water, Speed even though you are sitting still, Oxygenetics, Mento® Fountain, Why is Statue of Liberty Blue, Acceleration, Plastic Milk 


BBC Micro:bit Traffic Lights 
Using the new BBC Microbit and Python code to manage a single traffic light, then a Cross Roads set, finally to make the traffic lights using recycled materials. The problem to solve (with an answer) is that there are four states for the Cross Road Traffic Lights and only three outputs from the BBC Microbit. The example uses a relay to turn off green lights when the yellow ones are on. 


Funny Maths 
Exploring some unusual arithmetic, geometry, etc. used by ourselves and maybe, aliens. Using Thales Theorem, Hippocrates of Chios, Mesolab Compass, multiplying using your hands and unusual multiplication by some other races. 


The Safety Deposit Vault 
This project is based on a real spreadsheet for a company in Birmingham. The spreadsheet is complex and must be mail merged with invoices and overdue letters in a wordprocessor. Suitable for pupils aged 1418. There is a model answer. An extension is to utilise a database such as MS Access  this is very relevant to the challenge subject. (1 hour + ) 


Microsoft Access Tutorial My Holiday Home 
This tutorial provides detailed instructions on creating a Microsoft Access database using an example that manages the lettings of a holiday villa in France or Spain. It will provide students with an indepth understanding of MS Acess and an ability to design and construct their own databases to benefit themselves and their employers. Each stage is detailed in minute detail to guide the student through to a completed database. The tutorial starts with creating the database, adding Tables for customer Names and Bookings. Then Queries to enable us to combine tables and sort into sequence. Students can proceed at their own pace but the typical minimum time for the entire tutorial is of the order of six to eight hours, however some can be completed as "homework". The tutorial requires downloading Microsoft Access 2013 or later versions. 


Tricky Mathematics 
20 Maths questions to confuse the pupils, teachers and STEM Ambassadors 


More Funny Maths 
Triangles, marbles, weighing, always 1089, letters represent numbers, odd x even = ? and more 


Gravity Egg Drop 
Using raw eggs the teams have to make a cradle to hold the egg and protect the egg when it is dropped from height. For younger ones you may want to use boiled eggs. Teams should consider safety, strength, crumple zone, what happens if the cradle turns upsidedown, etc. 


Levers and Pulleys 
Levers with up to ten to one mechanical advantage, and visa versa. One to four pulleys with up to fourtoone mechanical advantage. 


Density 
Several samples to weigh and measure their volume using a graduated testtube or jug. Plus you can add your own samples – maybe pebble, concrete, plastic, potato, carrot, cheese 

Even More Funny Maths 
Apples and bags, twins? Ladder and tide, Hare and tortoise, Polar Bear. Alien money, and more 


Car Crash 
An exercise to discover that cars have crumple zones to keep passengers safe from crashes. The pupils are asked to construct a car from available materials and work out how to protect the passengers and also have crumple zones front and back. 


More Tricky Maths 
More Maths questions to confuse the pupils, teachers and STEM Ambassadors 


Make a Thermometer 
Make a thermometer out of a drinks bottle, a straw, alcohol and water. 


Animals in Danger 
Ten examples of endangered animals. What are they? Where do they live? What do the eat? And What is the danger? 


Make a Barometer 
Make a barometer using a jam jar and a record on graph paper 


Measure Wind Speed 
Make an anemometer and measure wind speed. Compare to weather forecasts to obtain a conversion factor between revolutions per minute and published wind speed. 


The Water Cycle 
An experiment to show the water cycle – evaporation and condensation. 


Compressed Air Car 
Make a model car from recycled materials and use compressed air to race it cross the playground 

Compressed Air Plane 
Make a model plane from recycled materials and use compressed air to fly it across the playground 

Tricky Logic 
Ten questions where the logic may not be obvious. 

More Tricky Logic 
Ten more questions where the logic may not be obvious. 

Solve an XXX Division Sum 
You have a division sum where crosses represent numbers and just a few actual numbers are shown. Can you solve the sum? 
