The NFU has announced the regional winners of its national STEM(Science, Tech, Engineering & Maths) competition, Farmvention. Nine primary schools have already netted great prizes that include a fully- funded visit to a working farm, a chef’s cookery demo in school and £600 to spend on robotics products.
The competition, launched in September, asked primary pupils, individually or in groups, to solve one of three farming-related issues using Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths:
Design a tractor of the future
Design an environment for a flock of 100 laying hens
Design a new snack product from four British ingredients
Pupils representing the winning schools, picked from more than 1,000 entries, will now showcase their designs at an exhibition at the House of Commons during British Science Week (March 8/17). The overall winning school will be transformed into a farm for a day.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “This is the NFU’s first national competition for primary schools and there has been an incredible amount of enthusiasm from both teachers and pupils.
“With more than a thousand entries, the competition clearly demonstrates that food and farming has a place education; not only to engage young children in STEM subjects, but to develop their understanding about rural life and where their food comes from.
“I can’t wait to see the creative designs that our young inventors have produced at the exhibition in March.”
NFU Education Manager Josh Payne commended the winning entry in the South from Wonersh and Shamley Green Primary School, near Guildford in Surrey. He said: “Judges were impressed that pupil Toby recorded all the feedback from tastings of his great British beef jerky snack and he even wrote a persuasive letter highlighting why British beef is more sustainable than imported beef!”
Presenting the prize was Guildford MP Rt Hon Anne Milton, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills. The Minister also oversaw a STEM learning session delivered by the NFU during her visit in January. It included a presentation by Surrey NFU member and farmer Richard Keen, of Dorking, along with cookery and a farm robot challenge. Farmer Richard Keen (pictured with duck) told pupils all about life on his livestock farm near Dorking.