Smart Machines & Factories
Climate change challenge
Published:  03 April, 2020

What three things would you personally change to affect climate change? Susan Scurlock, CEO and Founder of Primary Engineer explains.

For most adults, the question of how to reduce your impact on climate change is a simple one; cycle instead of using the car, hold virtual meetings, fly less, make more educated food choices. For children, answering that question is a different proposition. Some may understand the impact of their parents using the car less, but do they know how they, themselves, can make a positive contribution towards their own carbon footprint. As we have seen over the last few years, the voice of school children is getting louder, demanding and protesting for change. How can we turn that energy into informed and committed action? On the 18th March, at DataFest in Glasgow, Primary Engineer will launch the STATWARS: Climate Change Challenge to schools across the UK.

Our vision is to empower and educate pupils to tackle climate change, through the use of a data driven project. We believe the data we collect can inform meaningful research and decision making, with its careful application revolutionising our understanding of how to manage the climate change challenge ahead of us! As well as government, industry and the adult population, we need young people to be a part of that journey. As ever, Primary Engineer has produced teaching resources and datasets to enable and support classroom teaching. Our call out to you reading this, is to join us in providing insights into your work that will better inform and contextualise both the data and the challenge.

The STATWARS: Climate Change Challenge asks pupils to use big and small datasets to identify 3 changes they can personally commit to in their daily lives that will lower their individual carbon footprint. Pupils work in small teams and will use their data skills to communicate their commitment to these changes, in the form of a poster manifesto! They will create infographics to communicate their decision-making process and a 60sec video to persuade others, like them, to make the same commitments to change. The outcomes will be shared alongside COP26 in November.

Ultimately the aim is to see young people develop the necessary metaskills to present their findings in a factual way, ensuring the veracity of the data and developing their negotiation skills based on evidence. If you would like to find out how to be involved in any way visit the website After the grading is complete, the hard part begins with 20 judging panels considering the shortlisted entries from their region. Two per year group are selected, not based on gender just two good ideas. It’s fair to say this project is one of the very few ‘level playing field’ competitions where pupils from all schools can take part whatever their abilities or disabilities this project focuses on the solution to problems they have identified.

Exhibitions this year will each display in the region of 3-400 of the shortlisted entries potentially present 22 awards per region and invite the engineering community to re-energise with the enthusiasm, care, fun and understanding of young people across the UK using engineering to solve their and others problems.

If you would like to join the grading days, or attend the exhibitions please register via the website