Challenge projects are developed in close collaboration with partners in industry, healthcare and academia, in association with Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology staff. They provide a unique opportunity to develop:
- a practical understanding of science
- practical science skills
- curriculum teaching
- transferable skills such as teamwork, leadership and literacy
- enhanced careers awareness
The projects provide students with the practical skills needed to underpin the learning achieved through academic study, putting students in a very strong position when it comes to applying for sixth form, university, apprenticeships or work. The CAST Challenge Project programme is widely regarded as a national exemplar of excellence in project based learning both by educationalists and business leaders.
Working with young scientists of the Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology
NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (Cambridge BRC) and Cambridge Clinical Informatics (CCI) assisted Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology’s (CAST) Challenge Projects. Challenge Projects are collaborations between working scientists and the students and staff of CAST, and allow students to complete projects that promote work-based scientific skills.
Karen Hlaba from Cambridge Clinical Informatics and Georgina Norris from the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre Patient and Public Involvement Team taught the students how to present their work using scientific posters. The students conducted clinical trial experiments for their Challenge Project, and there was strong competition by all those who took part.
The students research questions included: whether there was a link between height and blood pressure, the effect of upper arm circumference on force exerted on a force plate, the effect of caffeine in energy drinks on heart rate and blood pressure, and the relationship between blood pressure and body mass index.